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Can an Improperly Executed Trust Amendment Be Validated Under the Statute Permitting Reformation to Correct Mistakes of Law Affecting the Settlor’s Intent?

Uncategorized Aug 16, 2019
post about Can an Improperly Executed Trust Amendment Be Validated Under the Statute Permitting Reformation to Correct Mistakes of Law Affecting the Settlor’s Intent?

What happens if a trust is created but it was not properly signed by two witnesses? What if a Florida trust is not properly executed? Is a trust that is not properly executed in Florida still valid? Can an amendment’s improper execution be corrected under the statute permitting reformation of mistakes? If you are involved in trust litigation where a mistake was made in the execution of a Florida trust, you may want to read Kelly v. Lindenau, a May 17, 2017 Second DCA opinion. Here, the validity of a trust amendment was in question. The trust amendment in the Florida probate case conveyed settlor’s residential property to a beneficiary. The issue was that the trust amendment was not signed by a second witness. Therefore, according to Florida trust law, it was not properly executed. The successor tustee brought action against the beneficiary in the aendment seeking declaration as to the validity of the trust amendment. The benefificary filed a counterclaim seeking reformation of the trust amendment, and the trial court ultimately granted the beneficiary’s counterclaim. However, the Second DCA disagreed with the trial courts decision. The appellate court help that “amendment’s improper execution could not be corrected under statute permitting reformation of mistakes, and constructive trust was improper remedy for error in execution.” To read the entire case, click here.


What are the Rights of a Person Determined Incapacitated in Florida?

Uncategorized Aug 15, 2019
post about What are the  Rights of a Person Determined Incapacitated in Florida?

What is Florida Statute 744.3215? Did you know that if you are deemed incapacitated in Florida, certain rights may be taken away from you? Can all of my rights be taken away from me? What rights will I still have if I am a Ward? How can my guardianship lawyer help me to understand my rights? Florida Statute 744.3215 is the relevant statute. It lists the rights that a person retains when determined incapacitated and the rights that may be removed.


Guardianship Lawsuits and the Right to Marry

Uncategorized Aug 15, 2019
post about Guardianship Lawsuits and the Right to Marry

Does a Ward have a right to marry? If you are a Florida guardianship lawyer, or a family member involved with an aging or fragile adult who is subject to a guardianship, you will want to read the Fourth DCA’s March 2,2016 opinion in the Smith case.


Florida Business Lawsuits on a Contingency

Uncategorized Aug 9, 2019
post about Florida Business Lawsuits on a Contingency

When does a Florida business lawsuit on a contingency make sense? Florida shareholders and business owners, listen up! If you are the partner or a member of a Florida LLC, and are now involved in a business lawsuit in Florida, can you afford it? Here’s what Florida partners and former shareholders need to know. A contingency fee for your Florida business lawsuit may or may not make sense. Serious Business Lawsuit Lawyers Ask any business owner who has been forced out by their Florida partners, and he or she will tell you that you need to hire a tough litigator. What does this mean? You want to find a lawyer who is experienced. You should consider how long a law firm has been in business, and how many years of experience the Florida attorneys at the firm have. Ask the business lawyers you are interviewing how often they go to court. Let’s consider Florida probate law as an example. Many probate lawyers do not go to court. Instead, they write wills and trusts. However, probate litigators, like the attorneys at Pankauski Hauser, do NOT write estate plans. Instead, our attorneys fight hard in court for our clients. Trial experience is imperative if you are in need of someone to represent you in a Florida business dispute. Look for a Florida business attorney that is aggressive, yet professional. You want someone who will work hard and fight hard for yo, both inside and outside of the courtroom. You want a West […]


Personal Representative of Florida Estate Brings Wrongful Death Action

Uncategorized Aug 7, 2019
post about Personal Representative of Florida Estate Brings Wrongful Death Action

Are you the personal representative of an estate in Florida? Do you believe that a wrongful death action should be filed? Can you file a wrongful death action as the personal representative of an estate? How do you file a wrongful death action in Florida? When do you need a Florida estate lawyer and a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer? Carpenters Home Estates Inc. v. Sanders A July 12, 2019 Second DCA opinion, Carpenters Home Estates Inc. v. Sanders, is a great example of a case where the personal representative of a Florida estate brings a wrongful death claim. Here, the personal representative brought action against a nursing home owner and operator for both negligence and wrongful death. What does this case show us? The Personal Representative of a Florida Estate Plays Many Roles When you are appointed as the personal representative of an estate, you should be prepared to make many important decisions. In Florida, the personal representative of an estate needs to be represented by a lawyer. Hiring an experienced probate lawyer to represent you as personal representative can definitely make the process much smoother and less stressful. In addition to choosing an experienced lawyer, you want to make sure that you work compatibly with the West Palm Beach probate lawyer that you choose. You and your probate lawyer will work together to decide what makes sense for the beneficiaries of the Florida estate. In some cases, your probate lawyer may suggest that you also hire a personal injury […]


Florida Inheritances and Wrongful Death Actions

Uncategorized Aug 6, 2019
post about Florida Inheritances and Wrongful Death Actions

What do wrongful death cases have to do with West Palm Beach probate lawsuits? Are you involved in a Florida probate matter that involves a wrongful death action? What are the elements of damages in wrongful death cases in Florida? What should your estate lawyer know about wrongful death lawsuits in Florida?  Florida Probate Lawyers and Personal Injury Lawyers West Palm Beach estate lawyers know that, before they bring a wrongful death action, there must be an open estate with a serving personal representative. Therefore, an estate must be opened prior to serving the other side with a wrongful death lawsuit. Frequently, your Florida personal injury lawyer will hire an estate lawyer or instruct you to hire one. You are even more likely to need an estate lawyer if a complicated probate proceeding emerges. For example, if there are issues with appointing a personal representative, an experienced probate litigator should be consulted. Furthermore, a probate litigator may prove necessary if other family disputes arise in the estate while the wrongful death action is pending. Wrongful death cases can also prove to be valuable and relevant sources of information for a probate attorney, or for someone involved in probate litigation. Sometimes, probate cases involve wrongful death actions. However,even if your probate matter does not involve a wrongful death action, you may want to read some wrongful death cases because Florida probate litigators and Florida person injury lawyers encounter similar legal issues. Philip Morris USA Inc & R.J Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Stanley Martin & […]


Stalking Injunctions in Florida

Uncategorized Aug 5, 2019
post about Stalking Injunctions in Florida

When is a stalking injunction necessary in Florida? According to Florida Statute 784.048(2), stalking occurs when a person “willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person. You may wonder what the definition of “harass” is according to the Florida Statutes. To harass means to “engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose.” §784.048(1)(a), Fla. Stat. Is someone stalking you in Florida? Are you involved in Florida litigation where the person you are suing has started harassing you? Do you need a West Palm Beach lawyer to petition for injunction for protection against stalking? What Does a Stalking Injunction have to do with Florida Inheritances? West Palm Beach probate attorneys, like those at Pankauski Hauser, know that disputes over inheritances can become messy. What do we mean by “messy”? Frequently, probate lawyers who handle litigation witness family members “fight” in the courts over money and property. As John Pankauski states in his book Probate Litigation: Top 10 Probate Mistakes Revealed, “your family is going to fight over your wealth: when you’re gone and- perhaps- while you’re still alive.”  Many heated Florida trust and estates battles involve sibling rivalries. For example, one sibling may sue another sibling for unduly influencing their mom, while mom had dementia or Alzheimer’s, to change her Florida will or trust. Another example would be a sister suing her brother, the brother was dad’s power of attorney (POA), for wrongly […]


Who Can Create a Valid Will in Florida?

Uncategorized Aug 5, 2019
post about Who Can Create a Valid Will in Florida?

In Florida, who can write a will? Who can have a trust drafted? Do you have to be over a certain age to create an estate plan? What is being of a “sound mind”? What is Florida Statute 732.501? How can you contest a will in Florida? How can a West Palm Beach probate lawyer help you to prove that a will is invalid? Who Can Write a Valid Will in Florida? Florida Statute 732.501 states that any person who is of a sound mind and who is 18 years or older may execute a Florida will. Florida estate lawyers and West Palm Beach trust attorneys know that a person needs to have testamentary capacity when they execute a will. Otherwise, their Florida will may end up being contested by the beneficiaries. What is being of a “sound mind”? What is testamentary capacity?  There are four main components to show testamentary capacity (sometimes called “sufficient mental capacity”) in Florida: understanding that he or she is creating a distribution of his or her property after death, knowing the nature and extent of his or her property, knowing the named heirs and members of his or her family understanding in a reasonable manner the general nature and effect of the act of signing the will. What are the Formalities Required for a Valid Will in Florida? Florida Statute 732.502 describes what formalities must be met for a will to be valid in Florida. A valid Florida will must 1) be in writing 2) be signed by the testator or another […]


Transferring Your Florida Trust Lawsuit to a Different Venue

Uncategorized Aug 5, 2019
post about Transferring Your Florida Trust Lawsuit to a Different Venue

What is venue? What does venue have to do with a Florida trust lawsuit or Palm Beach will contest? If you are involved in a probate lawsuit, where do you sue the personal representative or trustee? How do you know if you sued the trustee in a proper venue? Can you transfer a trust dispute from one Florida county to another? What should your probate lawyer know about venue and trust litigation? What is Venue? Venue is a legal term for where you can file a lawsuit. In other words, a venue is where actions or a lawsuit can be brought. Florida is the jurisdiction or “forum”, but venue refers to the particular county. For example, some cases can be brought in Palm Beach County, while others can be brought in Broward County. Where Can a Florida Action Be Brought? Florida Statute 47.011 provides that “ actions shall be brought only in the county where the defendant resides, where the cause of action accrued, or where the property in litigation is located.” Therefore, in a trust lawsuit, multiple factors will be considered to determine proper venue. Courts may consider where the trustee resides, where the trustee’s principal place of business is, where the Florida trust is being administered, etc. You should not assume that where the estate money is located is automatically a proper venue. For example, the estate money being located at a bank in Miami-Dade County, doesn’t guarantee that Miami-Dade County is a proper venue in which to […]


Florida Temporary Injunctions, Divorce, and Inheritances

Uncategorized Aug 1, 2019

Do you know what a temporary injunction is? When can you request an injunction in your Florida inheritance or divorce lawsuit? Did you know that an injunction can sometimes be used to stop a trustee from acting without Court permission? Are you entitled to an injunction from the probate court in West Palm Beach? You may want to read a recent Fourth DCA opinion, Olson v. Olson.


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