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Florida Guardianship Lawyer — what you can learn from a recent case

In the News Dec 19, 2021
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Finding a good Florida guardianship lawyer should not be hard. There are, after all, dozens of so called “elder law” attorneys and “guardianship attorneys.” But if you are in a “fight” or a contested guardianship, don’t you need firepower? A guardianship trial attorney? A December 15, 2021 case lets you get up to speed very quickly on some of the most important legal principles. To see a number of FREE FLORIDA GUARDIANSHIP VIDEOS, simply click those words. What You Need to Read How can you learn the basic “legal stuff” about guardianships quickly? There are four things to read. The Florida Guardianship Code. Chapter 744 of the Florida Statutes is our Guardianship Code. That is an excellent place to start. It sets for the basic legal concepts, some procedural time frames and legal rights. Second, consider reading the Florida Probate Rules. Why? Because there are special rules for guardianships. See Part III to the Rules. I know that everyone has see the Netflix film, I Care a Lot, or have read about the Britney Spears guardianship. But in Florida, you might consider taking your cues from serious, experienced guardianship trial attorneys. Read Florida Appellate Opinions. These are written legal opinions from our District Courts of Appeal. There is a December 15, 2021 opinion from the 3rd District Court of Appeal. That court handles appeals for Miami-Dade County. Let’s see what we can learn from their opinion in the In Re: Guardianship of Ash. Florida Guardianship Lawyer — do I really […]

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Florida Trust Lawyer — to help you with administration, litigation, malfeasance, or …..?

Our Attorneys Dec 4, 2021
post about Florida Trust Lawyer —  to help you with administration, litigation, malfeasance, or …..?

Trust law in Florida is sort of specialized, right? I mean there are special rules and laws. We have previously written about hiring a Florida Trust Lawyer. Now, let’s go a bit deeper and give you another perspective. Whether you are a beneficiary, trustee, or you were cut-out of an inheritance, and need to file a TRUST CONTEST, the following should be helpful. How Do I Find the Best? Many times, wealth in passed along to a trust. You don’t get your inheritance OUTRIGHT. Your receive money or property in a Florida Trust. And you have to ask your trustee for money in many cases. That’s because many trusts give a trustee the DISCRETION to give — or not give— money to you. That’s a lot of power over a lot of money. Beneficiaries who claim that their trustee is not behaving properly may sue. Many times, those Florida trust lawsuits revolve around whether or not the trustee abused her discretion. For a free video on Trustee Abuse of Discretion, click that phrase. To read a book about being a Florida Trustee written by trust litigator John Pankauski, Esquire, click HERE. Find the Florida Trust Lawyer That’s Right For You Now, no one is telling you to run down to the county clerk’s office and file a trust lawsuit. But, it may make sense to have a Florida trust lawyer explain how your trustee is doing. How is the trust being managed? The truth is, many times beneficiaries mistakenly believe […]

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Undue Influence Lawyer Florida

FAQs Nov 18, 2021
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Need an undue influence lawyer Florida? Understanding this legal concept can assist in finding an experienced attorney for your will contest or trust contest. To see a free video on undue influence, you can click HERE. To read more about undue influence, click HERE. Now, let’s discuss this topic in light of a November 17, 2021 opinion from the Miami-Dade Appellate Court. What is Undue Influence? Undue influence is a form of fraud that can cause a will or trust to be void. If someone caused a will or trust to be signed by undue influence, it’s void. Undue influence is over-pursuasion, force, coercion. Pressure. When that pressure or force or influence is so great, the “undue-influencer’s” desire and intent replace the victim’s. To read more about this legal topic, click HERE. To read about the warning signs of undue influence, click this FREE Florida probate legal commentary. Recent Appellate Opinion Undue Influence Lawyer Florida On November 17, 2021, the 3rd District Court of Appeal issues its opinion in the case of In Re: Estate of Tien. You can read that opinion for free . That case dealt with related issues involving a challenge to the will, a voluntary dismissal and a caveat.

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Florida Trust Fraud

Probate Information Oct 22, 2021
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Disinherited from a trust? Bad trustee? If you are a financial victim and lost an inheritance, you don’t have a lot of time to act. Depending upon what your trustee, or her trust lawyer, may have sent to you, you may only have 6 months. To do what? To file a trust contest or object to the validity of the trust. Or to object to trust money decisions. We have previously discussed Florida Probate Fraud. Now, let’s talk about Florida Trust Fraud. (To see a free Florida Trust Video on a trust challenge, click HERE.) Kinds of Fraud — bad trustees Under Florida law, there are actually many types of fraud. Constructive fraud is when a person who is required to disclose information does not. Sounds like a bad trustee, right? You got it. The Florida Trust Code sets forth a LOT of trust beneficiary rights. And, there are also a lot of DUTIES owed by a trustee to her beneficiaries. So much more than just an annual accounting. A trustee has to give “qualified beneficiaries” notice of the trust with her contact information, the name of the trustee. And the trustee has to give you a copy of the trust. No hiding the ball ! (That’s fraud !) And, a trustee is REQUIRED to provide relevant data when you, a beneficiary, asks questions. So, if the trustee lies, that’s fraud. Intentionally withholds information? Fraud! And if the trustee steals, we KNOW that’s fraud, right? That’s what Florida Probate Litigators […]

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Trust Standing Florida — who can attack a trust?

In the News Oct 22, 2021
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Want to object to a trust? You need trust standing Florida to bring a trust contest. Also called a “trust challenge.” That means you have to have some connection to the trust, a prior trust, the trustee, or the dead person who created it. A recent Florida Appellate Court decision tells you more about whether you can attack a trust. It’s worth a read whether you want to have the trust voided, or if you are the trustee, and you have to defend the lawsuit. 1st Steps 1st — what is standing and why do I need it? What is trust standing Florida? Why does it matter? Think of standing as the legal connection one has to the trust. After all, everybody in the world can’t come in and object to a trust or launch a trust challenge. You need some connection. You have to have an interest that was affected by a trust before you can file a trust lawsuit attacking it. And it matters for two reasons. 1st, family members and prior beneficiaries may want to challenge a change to the trust if there was undue influence or fraud. And — 2nd — let’s face it, there are a lot of trusts in Florida! Holding billions and billions of dollars. And many times, a trust will be “restated” or “amended.” Or revoked ! And a new trust created. Not surprisingly, those trust documents often leaven out certain family members, or beneficiaries. Sometimes they leave more to another family […]

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What Is Undue Influence?

Probate Information Oct 20, 2021
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What is undue influence? In Florida, people often “unduly influence” others to change a will or trust. That’s not proper. And not allowed. it’s actually fraud. A will or trust or bank account that is caused by this is not valid. Dis-inherited beneficiaries and loved ones can win back their inheritance if they prove the presence of undue influence. This concept is something that many beneficiaries and heirs want to know more about when it comes to a last minute will signing or inheritance. This Florida probate legal commentary will discuss what it is and the warning signs. To see an introductory, Free Probate Video on this topic, click HERE. What is Undue Influence in a Nutshell? Undue influence is a species of fraud. It has been described as over-pursuasion, force, coercion or duress. When someone does this, they, in essence, destroy the free will or free “mind” of the victim. And replace it with their own financial desires and motives. It is often said that a will or a trust document created by this force or coercion is NOT the product of the person signing the will or trust. But by the perpetrator. The fraudster. The “undue-influencer.” What is the effect of a will or a trust that is caused by undue influence? It is void. You can read Section 732.5165 of the Florida Probate Code. What are some situations that MAY be undue influence? Possible Examples “Sign the will or I’ll leave you!“ “Change the trust or you’ll […]

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Undue Influence Florida

In the News Oct 20, 2021
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There are dozens if not hundreds of claims each year of undue influence Florida. Learning about this concept will assist you in understanding how you lost your inheritance in a trust or estate. If you have been sued for this, a recent, October 13, 2021 opinion will help you get your arms around what you have been accused of. Who Stole My Inheritance? A claim of undue influence Florida is serious business. After all, if you make that claim, you are calling out some probate fraud. Undue influence is when someone causes another to sign a document or do something that really isn’t there idea. It’s the idea of the “undue influencer.” If someone is “undue-influencing” another, the person who does that is trying to take financial advantage of another. The person who is doing it may be referred to as the financial predator. The recipient of the undue influence may be called the victim. Think of it in the context of will signing or changing a bank account beneficiary. “Put my name on the bank account or I’ll put you in a home and you’ll never see the grandkids.” Did someone use force, or coercion to have you sign that will? Even over-pursuasion counts. Does Your Case Have the Warning Signs? Here are some warning signs to look for to help determine if there was undue influence in a will signing, beneficiary change, bank account change or trust document: WHO came up with the idea to do this — […]

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Who Inherits in Florida?

Probate Information Oct 11, 2021
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This is your 1-stop-shop for learning who inherits in Florida. If you are wondering about an inheritance. Or are involved in a Florida probate. If there is a will challenge or fight over a joint account. Here are the 5 secrets to inheriting in Florida. The Rule of 2 There are 2 quick & simple rules for who inherits in Florida. This is your jumping off point for finding out if you get an inheritance. It all starts with whether or not there is a will. And not just any will, but a valid last will. Here’s your #1 secret. A valid last will governs all property that was owned by the decedent individually. A decedent is a Florida resident who is dead. If she owned property in her own, individual, name, it will pass under her last valid will. I’m not talking about assets owned in a revocable trust or in a joint account or a POD (“pay on death”). [ Those assets “go” according to the beneficiaries who are designated.] Since one can have multiple wills, only the last valid will rules. (Most wills revoke all prior wills.) And it has to be valid. No undue influence or duress or mistake or insane delusion. Want to read about wills in the Florida Probate Code? Click this FREE LINK which will take you to the Florida Probate Statutes section on wills. Now, the #2 secret? Intestacy. Dying Without a Will in Florida — heirs take it all ! Intestacy […]

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Mediated Settlement Agreement

Probate Information Oct 11, 2021
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A mediated settlement agreement is often used to “ink” a deal in a Florida probate or trust dispute. IF the parties settle. They are contracts. But how do you enforce your deal if the other side is not doing what they promised to do? We have previously written about mediation agreements. Now, let’s focus on how Florida law does not let people get out of signed deals. Why Mediation? If you are involved in a Florida estate or trust dispute, you are going to be ordered to attend a mediation before trial. It’s a serious settlement conference. So, take the mediation seriously. Be prepared and try to win. Who’s at the mediation? Typically you and your lawyers. The other side or sides, and their lawyers. And a mediator. Who is the mediator? The mediator is a neutral, objective third party who is there to try to broker peace. To discuss settlement. To foster compromise. Many retired judges mediate. Many experienced probate litigators are also asked to mediate disputes because of their vast experience and expertise. What is perhaps the #1 rule to a successful mediation? The parties have to want to settle. And any deal is typically reduced to a written contract. And everyone signs on the dotted line. Sometimes, there is a prevailing party attorneys fees provision. If you have to go back to court, the prevailing party can get reimbursed, from the other side, your attorneys fees and costs. Sometimes, mediated settlement agreements are subject to court approval. […]

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Mediation Settlement Agreement in Florida Probates — how to read them

In the News Oct 10, 2021
post about Mediation Settlement Agreement in Florida Probates — how to read them

Mediation settlement agreements in Florida probates are intended to END your estate dispute. So, why is there so much litigation, and many appeals, over these documents? This free legal commentary will discuss a recent, 2021 case involving an estate settlement. In writing ! What do you do when a court order says one thing, and your settlement agreement says another? [ For those of you who have not attended mediation yet, get ready ! Retired judges say repeatedly that it’s your best chance to get an inheritance. Or end a fight–with a lot less risk than trial. To see a FREE FLORIDA PROBATE VIDEO on how to win at mediation, CLICK HERE. ] How To Read a Settlement Agreement In Florida probate disputes, judges will order the parties to attend a mediation. A mediation is a settlement conference. There is a neutral, third party facilitator, called a “mediator.” She will attempt to foster discussion and see if the parties want to settle. If a settlement is reached, it will be reduced to a written and signed settlement agreement. What happens if there is a dispute over the document? AFTER you settled ? How do you read a mediation settlement agreement ? Here are some bullet points: Read the plain language of the agreement. That’s the starting point. Don’t read too much into it. If the language is clear and unambiguous, then it says what it says and means what it means. Just because you and the other side to your […]

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