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Florida Inheritance and Guardianship Litigation: Can a Guardian pay ward’s debt after ward’s death, despite objection by a beneficiary?

Uncategorized Jun 11, 2020
post about Florida Inheritance and Guardianship Litigation: Can a Guardian pay ward’s debt after ward’s death, despite objection by a beneficiary?

What is a Florida guardianship? What is ward? What happens when a ward dies in Florida? Is the Florida guardian able to pay the ward’s debt? Does the guardian have to provide notice of proceedings regarding payment of ward’s debt to the beneficiaries of the ward’s estate? Why would the beneficiary of a Florida estate sue the decedent’s guardian? Adult Guardianships in Florida At Pankauski Hauser Lazarus, we handle many guardianship cases throughout Florida. When we refer to “guardianships”, we are talking about guardianships over adults, not minors. Commonly, children of the elderly file a guardianship to protect their mom or dad who is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, certain disabled or injured adults may benefit from a guardianship if they are incompetent and unable to take care of themselves. West Palm Beach guardianship courts take guardianship proceedings very seriously because these proceedings can result in a ward’s rights being taken away. The “ward” is the person subject to the guardianship who has been determined to be incompetent or incapacitated. It is important to remember that, even if somebody is deemed incapacitated by a probate court judge in Florida, the court may not appoint a guardian if there’s a lesser restrictive alternative that adequately addresses the incapacitated person’s needs. For example, a power of attorney and a revocable trust may prove to be sufficient. In Florida, guardianship law is governed by Chapter 744 of the Florida Statutes. If you are involved in guardianship litigation in West Palm Beach, or […]

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Invoking the Relief of Certiorari in Your Florida Probate Case

Uncategorized Jun 6, 2020
post about Invoking the Relief of Certiorari in Your Florida Probate Case

What is a petition for certiorari? What should your Palm Beach probate attorney know about petitions for certiorari? When can you file a petition for certiorari in your inheritance lawsuit? What must you demonstrate to invoke the relief of certiorari in a Florida probate lawsuit? Should I file a petition of certiorari or an appeal? Probate Litigation and Petitions for Certiorari If you are in the middle of a heated probate battle in the Florida courts, there may be a time where you strongly disagree with an order from the trial court. What can you do if you believe that the trial court incorrectly entered an order? Do you have to wait to file an appeal? What if the order is non-appealable? Florida appellate lawyers know that, generally, you can only appeal final orders. However, there are exceptions. In limited circumstances, your Florida probate lawyer can seek certiorari review from the appellate court. Certiorari review only becomes an option when, during litigation, the trial court “departs from the essential requirements of law.” There are three requirements that must be demonstrated to invoke the relief of certiorari: 1) you have to establish a departure from the essential requirements of the law 2) resulting in material injury for the remainder of the case 3) the injury can’t be corrected on post-judgment appeal. Hiring a Florida Lawyer to File a Petition for Certiorari Invoking the relief of certiorari is not easy. Therefore, your probate lawyer should be experienced and knowledgeable about the process. […]

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Enforcing a Settlement Agreement in Florida

Uncategorized Jun 4, 2020
post about Enforcing a Settlement Agreement in Florida

What is a settlement agreement? What should you know before signing a settlement agreement in West Palm Beach? What should your Florida trial lawyer tell you before you decide to enter into a settlement agreement? What happens if you do not comply with the terms you agreed to in a settlement agreement? In Florida, how can you compel compliance with a settlement agreement? West Palm Beach Probate Lawyers and Settlement Agreements At Pankauski Hauser Lazarus, our attorneys handle probate litigation and civil appeals throughout Florida. Although probate litigators frequent the courtroom, they must also handle other aspects of litigation. For example, outside of the courtroom, experienced trial lawyers prepare for depositions, negotiate settlement agreements, prepare petitions, etc. Another part of a Florida estate lawyer’s job is to provide client’s with legal options. Some clients choose to be more aggressive than others. For example, some clients want to have their day in court at a trial, while others prefer to end their inheritance dispute as quickly as possible. Some trust, estate, and business lawsuits are resolved with a settlement agreement. An experienced probate lawyer can help you to negotiate settlement terms, explain to you what the terms in the agreement actually mean (prior to you signing), and ensure that the settlement agreement is executed properly. Enforcing a Settlement Agreement in Florida Did you sign a settlement agreement to end a recent Florida probate lawsuit? Has the other side complied with the settlement agreement terms? When people enter into a settlement agreement in […]

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Florida Lawsuits: POA Documents and Arbitration

Uncategorized Jun 3, 2020
post about Florida Lawsuits: POA Documents and Arbitration

What does a power of attorney (POA) document have to do with arbitration? When is arbitration correctly compelled by a trial court? How do you interpret the scope of a POA document? How can a health care surrogate become involved in litigation regarding arbitration? POA and Health Care Documents in Florida Florida Guardianship lawyers know that, even if a person is deemed incapacitated by a probate court judge in Florida, the court may choose not to appoint a guardian if there’s a lesser restrictive alternative that adequately addresses the incapacitated person’s needs. Therefore, POA and health care documents can prove to be very valuable. If you meet with aFlorida estate planning attorney to execute a POA, trust and/or health care documents, you will be able to choose who will take care of you if you are to become unable to care for yourself. If a proper estate plan is in place, and you get Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may not have to worry about strangers, or greedy relatives that you dislike, taking over you and your finances. The Scope of a POA Sometimes, it can become confusing to a trustee or POA as to what the estate documents allow them to do exactly. For example, certain POA documents specify or limit the authority that it delegates. How do courts determine what authority a POA grants? A recent Fourth DCA opinion, Manor Oaks, Inc. v. Campbell discusses whether or not a particular POA document gives a health care surrogate the ability […]

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When is a Florida Guardian Entitled to Compensation?

Uncategorized Jun 3, 2020
post about When is a Florida Guardian Entitled to Compensation?

Do court appointed guardians get paid? What criteria does the court consider in determining an award of fees to a guardian? When is a guardian entitled to compensation? What is Florida Statute 744.108? Can a West Palm Beach guardianship lawyer assist me in guardianship litigation regarding fees? Is a Florida guardian entitled to attorneys fees? Who pays for the attorneys fees in a Florida guardianship? Guardian and Attorney Fees and Expenses If you are about to become a court appointed guardian in Florida, or are considering filing for guardianship of a vulnerable adult, you may want to read Florida Statute 744.108 in its entirety. This statute discusses the compensation of a guardian and sets forth the criteria to be considered by the Florida guardianship court in determining an award of fees to a guardian. In Florida, a guardian, or an attorney who has rendered services to the ward or to the guardian on the ward’s behalf, is entitled to a reasonable fee for services rendered and reimbursement for costs incurred on behalf of the ward.   What are the criteria the Florida guardianship court considers when fees for guardian or an attorney are submitted? Florida Statute 744.108 lists the following criteria: The time and labor required The novelty and difficulty of the questions involved and the skill required to perform the services properly The likelihood that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment of the person The fee customarily charged in the locality for similar services;(e) The nature and […]

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Florida Inheritance Lawsuits and Personal Financials

Uncategorized May 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 […]

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Florida Lawsuits: Injunctions and Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult

Uncategorized May 27, 2020
post about Florida Lawsuits: Injunctions and Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult

Unfortunately, Florida guardianship lawyers encounter many cases involving financial exploitation of the elderly or exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Palm Beach guardianship lawyers and estate attorneys frequently receive calls from concerned relatives or friends regarding an elderly person being financially exploited or abused. What are the different ways that an elderly person may be financially exploited? How can you detect if your mom or dad is being financially exploited? What should you do if you believe that your elderly relative is being taken advantage of by a caretaker or “friend”? When do you need an experienced West Palm Beach guardianship lawyer? Alzheimers and Dementia Many financial exploitation of the elderly or exploitation of a vulnerable adult cases involve elderly people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Due to their vulnerability, exploiters view people with mental illnesses as easy pray. If you suspect that your elderly parent, or disabled friend, is being exploited by his or her caretaker, you may want to read Florida Statute 825.103. You may also want to learn about Florida guardianships. Florida Adult Guardianships A family member can file a Florida guardianship for an adult who is no longer able to care for himself. A Florida guardianship can protect an elderly person or disabled person from being financially exploited as long as the appointed guardian can be trusted. In Florida, guardianship law is governed by Chapter 744 of the Florida Statutes. Soldatich v. Jones A January 22, 2020 Fourth DCA opinion, Soldatich v. Jones, is a great example of a Florida […]

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Florida Estates and Timely Creditor Claims

Uncategorized May 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 […]

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Florida Appeals and Jurisdiction

Uncategorized May 21, 2020
post about Florida Appeals and Jurisdiction

Are you involved in Florida litigation? Do you need to appeal a judgment? Can you appeal a nonfinal order? When do you need a Palm Beach appeals attorney? What do appeals have to do with my Florida inheritance case? What are the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure? What is Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.130? You may want to read a recent Third DCA opinion, Hollinger v. Hollinger, to learn more about Florida probate appeals and appellate jurisdiction. Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.130 Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.130 discusses what nonfinal orders are appealable. It is important to consider whether the Florida appellate courts can even hear an appeal regarding the order you disagree with. If you try to appeal an order that is not appealable, the appeal may be dismissed due to the appellate court’s lack of jurisdiction. An experienced Florida appellate attorney, like Robert Hauser, Esq. at Pankauski Hauser Lazarus, can help you determine whether or not you can appeal a certain order. Hauser has been named a Board Certified Specialist by The Florida Bar in Appellate Practice since June 1, 2009. This designates him as an expert and specialist in appeals in Florida. For a free consultation, call (561)268-0233 ext.101. Hollinger v. Hollinger Hollinger v. Hollinger, a March 20, 2020 Fifth DCA opinion, is a good example of Florida case where the question regarding the appellate court’s jurisdiction was raised. Here, the Appellant, individually and as personal representative of his father’s Florida estate, appeals a partial summary judgment […]

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West Palm Beach Inheritance Disputes and Petitions for Certiorari

Uncategorized May 20, 2020
post about West Palm Beach Inheritance Disputes and Petitions for Certiorari

What is a petition for certiorari? How are petitions for certiorari different than appeals in Florida? When can you file a petition for certiorari in your Florida probate lawsuit? What must you demonstrate to invoke the relief of certiorari in a trust and estates lawsuit? When should you seek certiorari review in a West Palm Beach trust case? Certiorari Review and Florida Estate Lawsuits During Florida trust litigation, or during a probate lawsuit, you may disagree with a trial court’s order.Can you do anything about the order while the lawsuit is still going on, or do you have to wait to file an appeal? Generally, you can only appeal final orders. However, there are exceptions. In limited circumstances, your Florida trust lawyer can seek certiorari review of an order from the appellate court. Certiorari review only becomes an option when, during litigation, the trial court “departs from the essential requirements of law.” There are three requirements that must be demonstrated to invoke the relief of certiorari: 1) you have to establish a departure from the essential requirements of the law 2) resulting in material injury for the remainder of the case 3) the injury can’t be corrected on post-judgment appeal. Basically, you must prove that the trial court made a legal error that caused irreparable harm and, therefore, you need a remedy for it now. Invoking the Relief of Certiorari Invoking the relief of certiorari is difficult and your Palm Beach probate lawyer should be experienced and knowledgeable about the […]

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