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Surviving Spouse Inheritance Rights and Miami Appeals

Uncategorized Aug 21, 2020
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Are you a surviving spouse involved in an inheritance dispute in Miami, Florida? Has your wife or husband recently passed away leaving a house or condo behind? Do you know your inheritance rights and by when you must take action? Are you already involved in inheritance litigation where an appeal may end up being filed? Miami lawyers know that surviving spouses have important inheritance rights. However, often times, probate battles between the decedent’s children from another marriage and the surviving spouse arise. Therefore, it’s important to have a Miami litigator on your side to help you get your inheritance. Also, Miami probate attorneys know that some inheritance lawsuits, including those regarding inheritance rights, can lead to an appeal. If you disagree with a final judgment or order, you may be able to file an appeal. On the other hand, if you win a case, the other side may appeal. Therefore, it’s important to anticipate the possibility of having to hire an experienced Miami appellate attorney. Hiring a Florida Appellate Lawyer For Your Miami Appeal If you are in the process of hiring a Miami appellate firm, you may want to look for a law firm with extensive experience in handling civil appeals. Does the Florida appellate attorney you are interviewing have over twenty years of experience? How many appellate briefs have they written? At Pankauski Hauser Lazarus, one of the law partners, Robert Hauser, has been named a Board Certified Specialist by The Florida Bar in Appellate Practice. The appellate team […]


Florida Homestead – 6 months to get half the sale money for a widow

Uncategorized Aug 20, 2020
post about Florida Homestead – 6 months to get half the sale money for a widow

Florida Homestead – 6 months to get half the sale money for a widow Every Florida probate lawyer from Miami to Palm Beach knows that the homestead rights of a spouse can be very, very valuable. But, did you know that one of the most valuable probate rights that a widow has must be exercised within six months of death? That’s right. In Florida, a surviving spouse has a right to make an ELECTION to get half of the homestead sale proceeds. Therefore, if your wife or husband dies with a $5 million condo on the ocean in Sunny Isles or Aventura, you can ask for $2.5 million. BUT, you only have 6 months to make a proper election under Florida Probate Code Section Florida Statute 732.401. Surviving Spouse Homestead Rights in Florida Florida Statute 732.401 explains that a surviving spouse in Florida takes a life estate in the homestead property UNLESS the surviving spouse elects to, instead, take an undivided one-half interest in the homestead as tenants in common. This Florida rule is very important to be familiar with if you are the surviving spouse, and there is a homestead property in Miami or West Palm Beach. Would you rather be allowed to live in the property and have control of the property until you pass away, or would you rather own an undivided interest in half of the property? Owning half of the property means that you would be co-owners with the decedent’s adult children or entitled heirs. You should […]


Miami Appeals and Injunctions

Uncategorized Aug 18, 2020
post about Miami Appeals and Injunctions

What is an appeal? When should I interview an experienced Miami appellate attorney? Can I appeal a probate order? Can I appeal a final judgment in my divorce lawsuit or business dispute? What if a Miami court tells me one thing but the official order says another? You should consider reading a recent opinion, Soldatich v. Jones to learn more. Miami Injunctions and Adult Guardianships Miami guardianship attorneys are sometimes hired to file a petition for injunction against exploitation of a vulnerable adult per section 825.1035 of the Florida Statutes. In addition, a Miami lawyer may be needed file other petitions for injunction if the situation deems necessary. Guardianship litigation or Miami injunction lawsuits can lead to an appeal. If you disagree with a final judgment or order, you may be able to file an appeal. It’s also important to note that, if you win your case, the other side may appeal. Therefore, it’s smart to anticipate the possibility of having to hire an experienced Miami appellate attorney. Hiring a Miami Injunction Attorney If you are in the process of hiring a Miami law firm to file a petition for injunction on your behalf, you may want to look for a law firm that is experienced in both litigation and appeals. In the early stages of litigation, many people fail to consider the possibility of an appeal being filed. However, as any litigator can tell you, appeals do occur. What if you win your Miami injunction lawsuit and the other […]


Attorney-Client Privilege and Miami Trust Lawsuits

Uncategorized Aug 18, 2020
post about Attorney-Client Privilege and Miami Trust Lawsuits

What is rule 4-1.6? What do Miami lawyers need to know about this rule? What do trust lawsuits have to do with attorney-client privilege? What is a waiver of consent? What information can your Miami lawyer disclose without your consent? Can you compel a nonparty to disclose privileged information? Disclosure of Trust Documents in Your Miami Lawsuit Rule 4-1.6 is one of the rules regulating the Florida Bar. This particular rule is very important as it is addresses a Florida lawyer’s duty in regards to the confidentiality of his or her client’s information. Specifically, this rule states that ” a lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation, or the disclosure is permitted by Rule 4-1.6(b).” If you are involved in trust, estate, or even business litigation in MIami, you should consider reading this rule in its entirety. That way, you can understand your lawyer’s responsibilities when it comes to attorney-client privilege. Miami Litigation and Florida Statute 90.502 In addition to becoming familiar with rule 4-1.6, you may want to read  Florida Statute 90.502. This is the Florida statute that attorney-client privilege is governed by. Per the statute, as a client of a Miami lawyer, you have “a privilege to refuse to disclose, and to prevent any other person from disclosing, the contents of confidential communications when such other person learned of the communications because they were made […]


The “Business Records Exception” to the Hearsay Rule in Florida

Uncategorized Aug 18, 2020
post about The “Business Records Exception” to the Hearsay Rule in Florida

Are you in a lawsuit where business records are at issue? Like a Florida trust case involving bank account statements or cell phone records? Then you may need to satisfy what Florida probate lawyers call the “business records exception” before the court will even let the documents into evidence. Failing to meet the requirements of the business records exception found in Section 90.803 of the Florida Evidence Code (which you can view for free here) could sink your case. Last month, the Florida Supreme Court decided an important foreclosure case on the business records exception, overturning a prior Florida appeals court case. Read on to hear what Palm Beach trial lawyers have to say about this important case and the business records exception. What is “hearsay” and why does it matter? “Hearsay” is any statement, except for the testimony of a live witness, which is offered to a court in order to prove that what the statement says is true.  Hearsay is defined by Florida Statutes Section 90.801, which you can view for free here. Hearsay is generally inadmissible and will NOT be considered by a court unless there is an exception to the hearsay rule. For example, in an auto accident case that depends on proving whether a traffic light was red or green, a witness can testify that she saw that the light was red. However, that same witness would NOT be allowed to testify that a police officer told her that the light was red. Why the […]


Sumner Redstone Dies: Who Will Inherit?

Uncategorized Aug 14, 2020
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On August 12, 2020, The New York Times reported that renowned media mogul Sumner Redstone had passed away. He was best known for his ownership roles at both Viacom and CBS, which today are merged as ViacomCBS. Who will fight over Redstone’s wealth in probate court? What does his estate consist of? Who will inherit? Lawsuits Regarding Mental Capacity and Inheritance During his lifetime, Redstone was frequently involved in litigation. Litigation regarding his massive estate had already began prior to his death. For example, Sumner was involved in a long legal battle with a former girlfriend, Menuela Herzer. Here, Herzer challenged his mental capacity. She had originally been a beneficiary in his will and, according to a recent article in the The New York Times, she stood to inherit as much as $50 million, plus his Beverly Hills house, before she was removed from his will. In Florida, according to Florida Statute 732.501, a testator must be “of a sound mind” when executing or amending a will or trust. Therefore, at the time of an estate plan change, a person must have, in general, understood the “nature and extent of property to be disposed of and testator’s relation to those who would naturally claim a substantial benefit from will, as well as general understanding of practical effect of will as executed.” In re Wilmott’s Estate, 66 So. 2d 465(Fla. 1953), 40 A.L.R. 2d 1399. How do you challenge a Florida estate plan change if someone is not competent? Proving that someone lacked the mental capacity to change their Florida […]



Uncategorized Aug 11, 2020

Are you owed money or property from someone who is deceased?  Do you need to file a Florida estate lawsuit against a deceased person?  If so, you may need to file what West Palm Beach probate lawyers call a “statement of claim” with the court handling the estate.    For more on that, you can check out the Florida Probate Code for free.  Read about Florida creditor claims by clicking here. A recent Florida appeals case in a probate tells us more about making a claim to get property from a Florida estate. But, what if you inherit from a trust? Ask your Miami estate litigator about the “trust exception” under Florida probate law. What is a statement of claim? If you are owed money or have rights against a Florida resident, then you may be what Palm Beach estate lawyers call a “creditor.”  If you are owed something, you may have less time to make a claim then you realize.  Read Florida Probate Law 733.702 on creditor claims to find out how much time you have. A statement of claim is a document filed by a “creditor” of a deceased person.  You don’t need to have a lawyer to file a statement of claim.  A probate statement of claim notifies the estate of the amount and nature of the claim.  Florida law has several requirements that must be followed to ensure the claim is validity made.  For example, statements of claim must be in a certain form, filed with the […]


Florida Inheritance Lawsuits and Personal Financials

Uncategorized Jul 29, 2020
post about Florida Inheritance Lawsuits and Personal Financials

Are you involved in inheritance litigation? Are you the trustee of a Florida trust? Is a beneficiary of a Florida estate suing you? Can a beneficiary request personal financial records from a Florida trustee? When can the opposing party request personal financial records from me? Do I have to disclose my personal tax returns and bank records in my current probate lawsuit? Florida Trusts and Relevant Information West Palm Beach probate lawyers know that beneficiaries of a Florida trust have a right, under Florida probate and trust law, to “relevant information.”For one, beneficiaries have a right to receive an annual accounting from the trustee. In Florida, trustees actually have a duty to provide an annual accounting. Florida Statute 736.0813 (d) says that “a trustee of an irrevocable trust shall provide a trust accounting, as set forth in s. 736.08135, from the date of the last accounting or, if none, from the date on which the trustee became accountable, to each qualified beneficiary at least annually and on termination of the trust or on change of the trustee.” If you are the beneficiary of a trust in Florida, and your trustee is not providing you with requested relevant information or accountings, you should consider consulting with an experienced West Palm Beach inheritance attorney. Unfortunately, as trust and estates litigators, we know that there are “bad” trustees out there. Sometimes, suing the trustee is necessary to get the answers and information you are entitled to as a beneficiary. Florida Trustees and Discovery Trustees in Florida […]


Florida Estates and Timely Creditor Claims

Uncategorized Jul 27, 2020
post about Florida Estates and Timely Creditor Claims

What is a reasonably ascertainable creditor in a Florida probate proceeding? How does a creditor give the personal representative of a Florida estate notice of his or her claim? What does the personal representative have to do to properly determine creditors? What happens if a creditor files a claim against a West Palm beach estate after the claim period? Florida Estate Proceedings: Notice to Creditors If you are serving as the personal representative of a Florida estate, you will have to comply with Florida Statute, section 733.2121. Therefore, as personal representative, you must properly publish Notice to Creditors and make a diligent search to determine creditors. To ensure that the Notice to Creditors is properly published, it is important to read the relevant statute in its entirety and to consult with your Florida probate attorney. Furthermore, in any probate matter, it is very important to know filing deadlines. Under Florida Statute 733.702(1), creditors must file any statements of claim against a decedent’s estate within three months of the first publication of the notice to creditors or within thirty days of being served with it, whichever is later. Any claim not filed within that time is barred unless the court grants an extension.733.702(3), Florida Statutes(2012). Extensions can be granted “upon ground of fraud, estoppel, or insufficient notice of the claims period.” Florida courts take deadlines very seriously. If you believe that you have a creditor claim against a Florida estate, you should begin interviewing estate lawyers and get your claim filed immediately. If you […]


Suing a Trustee: Individually and as Trustee of a Miami Trust

Uncategorized Jul 27, 2020
post about Suing a Trustee: Individually and as Trustee of a Miami Trust

Are you involved in a lawsuit against a Florida trustee? Do you wish to sue a Florida trustee as trustee of your dad’s trust? When should you sue a Florida trustee individually ? When should you sue a trustee both individually and as trustee of a trust in Florida? Why is it important to acknowledge that suing a person who happens to be serving as a trustee is different than suing that person in his or her capacity as trustee? Florida Trustee Duties Under the Florida Trust Code, a trustee has the following duties: Duty to Administer the Trust in good faith and accordance with its purposes and the Florida trust code. Duty of Loyalty. A trustee cannot engage in self dealing for its own advantage of profit, it must be loyal to the trust and beneficiaries. The trustee violates the duty of loyalty any time a transaction is entered for the trustee’s own advantage or benefit. These are general voidable by the court.  Duty of Prudence. The trustee must administer the trust as a prudent person would after considering the purpose of the trust, its terms, what the circumstances of the trust and market are etc. The trustee also cannot incur unreasonable expenses. Duty of Special Skills means that a trustee with special skills will be held responsible to utilize those skills. For example, if a person serves as a trustee who is a lawyer or accountant, that person will be held to a hire standard. Duty to control, collect and protect the trust property, and assets.  Duty of Impartiality. If a […]


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