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Florida Trust Mergers. The Merger of Florida Trust Interests.

Uncategorized Aug 8, 2019

Are you involved in a Florida trust lawsuit? Have you come across the concept of merger? You may be interested in the merger concept if you were somebody who’s suing the trustee of a trust who’s also a beneficiary, or vice-versa, you’re suing a beneficiary of a trust and their trustee of a trust. The merger concept comes in when the trustee, who holds legal title to a trust, also is the sole beneficiary who holds equitable title to the trust. When that one person is the trustee as well as the beneficiary, the concept of merger can occur. When that Florida law concept of trust merger occurs, you may be able to get access to that trust if you’re suing the trustee or the beneficiary. To read more about this trust merger doctrine under Florida Trust Law, consider reading a Fourth District Court of Appeal appellate opinion on trust merger, it’s called the Miller v. Kresser case, 34 So. 3d 173; it’s a 2010 opinion from the Palm Beach Appeals Court known as the Fourth District Court of Appeal.

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Florida Trusts and Florida Beneficiaries and Trustees Guide to Spendthrift Trusts

Uncategorized Aug 8, 2019

Do you know what a spendthrift trust is? A spendthrift trust generally has a couple of provisions; it says that a trustee may not distribute money to a beneficiary’s creditors and a beneficiary may not assign their interests in the trust. If you’re a trust beneficiary in Florida, or you’re involved in a Florida lawsuit or you’re a trustee and you’re trying to figure out what to do, consider reading the Zlatkiss case, 125 So. 3d 953; it’s a 2003 case from Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal that talks about spendthrift trusts and spendthrift provisions in Florida trusts.

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Personal Representative of Florida Estate Brings Wrongful Death Action

Uncategorized Aug 7, 2019
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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 […]

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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 & […]

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Stalking Injunctions in Florida

Uncategorized Aug 5, 2019
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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 […]

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Who Can Create a Valid Will in Florida?

Uncategorized Aug 5, 2019
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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 […]

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Transferring Your Florida Trust Lawsuit to a Different Venue

Uncategorized Aug 5, 2019
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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 […]

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Real Estate Litigation in Florida and a Lis Pendens

Uncategorized Aug 3, 2019

A Lis Pendens is a document that is filed with the public records, notifying people that a particular piece of real estate is subject to litigation. Why is that important? Well, because it can intimidate or prevent a sale, but it can also give notice to potential buyers about the pending litigation, that somebody has a claim to that particular piece of real estate. So, if you’re involved in a Florida litigation, the issue of Lis Pendens is going to come up. To read more about Lis Pendens consider a March 6th, 2019 case from Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal. It’s called Delta Aggregate, LLC v. Hermes Hialeah Warehouse, LLC. It discusses a Lis Pendens in Florida lawsuits involving real estate.

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Attorneys Fees and Settlement Agreements

Uncategorized Aug 2, 2019

What does the attorneys’ fee provision say? You know, a lot of probate cases, indeed a lot of family cases come to some type of settlement. In the divorce setting or the family law setting, you often have marital settlement agreements or MSAs. In the probate, trust, guardianship setting you have settlement agreements. Many times they’re approved or approval is sought from a probate court, sometimes not. Now, in these settlement agreements, you typically have, it’s very common to have an attorney’s fee provision. There’s two aspects of an attorney’s fee provision in a settlement agreement that you need to understand and you can read the Laux case, it was decided on March 6th, 2019 by the Fourth District Court of Appeal. There’s two things you need to know: one is who is going to pay attorneys’ fees through the date of the settlement agreement? Many times the parties say, “The trust will pay it, the estate will pay everyone’s fees or each party bears their own fees.” The Laux case is a little different because it talked about a second issue, who is going to pay attorneys’ fees going forward, particularly, is there a prevailing party fee provision in your settlement agreement? If you have to come back to court, is there a provision in your settlement agreement for who pays whose attorneys’ fees.

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Getting Out of a Florida Order or Decree

Uncategorized Aug 2, 2019

If you’re involved in a Florida lawsuit and a judgment has been entered, you may have some challenges. Everybody knows you have 30 days to appeal that judgment, but can you also seek to or try to get released from that judgment? Well, you can, under the Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.540 (b). That particular Florida Rule of Civil Procedure permits, under very limited circumstances, an attempt to ask the court to set aside that order or judgment. You’re actually asking the court to grant you relief from that order or judgment. The Shah case was just decided, March 6th, 2019 by Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal. If you want to learn more about this Florida Rule of Civil Procedure, or asking a court to grant you relief from a judgment, read the Shah case online for free.

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