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COVID-19, Florida’s Stay-at- Home Order,and Depositions

Uncategorized Apr 3, 2020
post about COVID-19, Florida’s Stay-at- Home Order,and Depositions

What is a deposition? How are West Palm Beach lawyers holding depositions while social distancing? If I have a deposition scheduled, will it be canceled because of the Coronavirus Disease(COVID-19) pandemic? How has technology made depositions possible during social distancing? Are my West Palm Beach estate lawyers still able to take depositions and attend hearings while this is all going on? Depositions in Florida A deposition is where someone is placed in front of a video tape and/or a court reporter, and asked questions by opposing counsel. The person being deposed is required to answer the questions truthfully and under oath. Florida trial lawyers know that depositions can prove to be one of the most important events during a civil case, aside from the trial itself. It is an opportunity to gather important information from both people who may benefit a case and opposing parties. Probate and business litigators may choose to depose people who may know relevant facts to the case. For example, in a probate case, a witness to a Florida will or POA document may be deposed. In an undue influence case, a doctor who has knowledge of the victim’s Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia may be deposed. Social Distancing and Depositions How can West Palm Beach probate lawyers hold depositions while staying safe during this pandemic? Under some circumstances, depositions are done telephonically. However, at the very least, the notary or person swearing in the witness is physically with the witness. The Florida Governor’s stay-at-home order, effective April […]


Practicing Florida Law and COVID-19

Uncategorized Mar 28, 2020
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How are Florida lawyers practicing law and social distancing? How has the Coronavirus Disease(COVID-19) affected Florida law firms? Can I still hire a Florida probate litigator to help me with an inheritance dispute? How has technology made practicing law possible during times like these? Are my West Palm Beach estate lawyers still able to take depositions and attend hearings while this is all going on? Are probate and business lawsuits still being filed? Florida Law and Technology As West Palm Beach trust and inheritance lawyers, the attorneys at Pankauski Lazarus know the importance of staying focused and productive, even while the world is experiencing a pandemic. Because of the CDC social distancing recommendations and requirements, many Florida law firms, including our litigation firm, are relying on technology to seamlessly continue to work on cases. The good news is that many lawyers today frequently utilize technology in their everyday practices. Therefore, they are familiar with the programs that allow them to virtually lawyer. For example, CourtCall allows Florida lawyers to easily attend hearings via telephone. Our attorneys are very familiar with CourtCall because we represent clients throughout the state of Florida. Therefore, appearing telephonically can, sometimes, be the most cost effective and convenient way. Furthermore, our Florida litigators are able to conduct telephone conferences, rather than in-person meetings, with both clients and each other. Zoom is being used for video depositions and some hearings. Plus, on April 1,2013, e-filing became mandatory throughout Florida. Therefore, petitions and court documents are filed via the […]


Stalking Injunctions in Florida

Uncategorized Mar 16, 2020
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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 […]


How to get interest in Florida lawsuit judgments

Uncategorized Mar 5, 2020
post about How to get interest in Florida lawsuit judgments

What is an interest rate? What is the interest rate on a Florida judgment or decree? How much interest do you get on a Palm Beach probate judgment? What should your Florida probate lawyer know about interest rates and judgments? Current Interest Rate on Florida Judgments Quarterly, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer sets the rate of interest payable on Florida judgments and decrees. As required by F.S. §55.03(1) , the CFO sets these rates on December 1, March 1, June 1, and September 1 of each year. According to the Current Judgment Interest Rates chart, which is posted on the website of Florida’s CFO, the interest rate for Florida final judgments since October 2019 has been 6.89% per annum. Beginning January 1, 2019, the interest rate for Florida judgments will be 6.83% per annum. West Palm Beach Probate Judgments After a probate or inheritance battle, a judgment may be issued. If you are trying to collect a judgment of a million dollars, the interest that may be attached can be significant. The interest on a judgment is usually way larger than that on a bank account. Therefore, learning the rules on interest payments in a West Palm Beach or Miami probate matter may prove valuable. Ask your Florida probate lawyer how much interest you could get on your West Palm Beach probate judgment. Vice versa, you should ask your West Palm Beach trust litigator how much interest you may have to pay if a judgment against you is […]


Ascertainable Creditors & Untimely Creditor Claims

Uncategorized Feb 28, 2020
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Who is considered to be a “reasonably ascertainable creditor” in a Florida lawsuit? Who does a personal representative in Florida need to serve a notice of creditors to? If a creditor fails to file a timely claim against a West Palm Beach or Miami estate, what happens? If you are involved in Florida litigation regarding a notice to creditors, you may want to read Cantero v. Estate of Caswell. Ascertainable Creditors If you are serving as the personal representative of a Florida estate, you will have to comply with Florida Statute 733.2121. Therefore, as personal representative, you must properly publish Notice to Creditors and make a diligent search to determine creditors. Florida Statute 733.2121(3)(a) explains in more detail what the personal representative must do to ensure that he or she properly gives notice to creditors of the estate. This section states the following : “The personal representative shall promptly make a diligent search to determine the names and addresses of creditors of the decedent who are reasonably ascertainable, even if the claims are unmatured, contingent, or unliquidated, and shall promptly serve a copy of the notice on those creditors. Impracticable and extended searches are not required. Service is not required on any creditor who has filed a claim as provided in this part, whose claim has been paid in full, or whose claim is listed in a personal representative’s timely filed proof of claim.” Furthermore, in any trust or estate matter, it is very important to know filing deadlines. Under Florida Statute 733.702(1), […]


Florida Alimony Appeals and Inheritances

Uncategorized Feb 27, 2020
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What do West Palm Beach divorces or alimony disputes have to do with Florida inheritance matters? Why are Florida divorce cases relevant to probate cases? What do Palm Beach probate litigators need to know about prenups and alimony? How important is it to hire an experienced appellate attorney for an alimony appeal? How can an appellate attorney help me to appeal a court order denying an alimony modification? Florida Prenuptial Agreements Florida probate lawyers and appellate attorneys know that a prenuptial agreement (prenup) can protect your inheritance from your spouse in the case of death or divorce. In a prenup, a person can specify how to divide up property and inheritances at the end of a marriage. It is important to know that inherited assets can be considered in the award of alimony. However, by fixing the term and amount of alimony in a prenup, entangling an inheritance with a divorce can be avoided. In the case of death, inherited assets are treated just as any other asset. Therefore, in the absence of a prenup, inherited assets are subject to spousal claims just like any other asset. If you don’t have a prenup, you may find yourself needing to hire a Florida family law attorney to represent you in an alimony battle, a West Palm Beach probate attorney to fight for your inheritance, and even an appellate attorney if a decision needs to be appealed. Nangle v. Nangle If you are involved in alimony litigation or questioning whether or not you should execute a prenup prior to marriage, you may want to […]


How Can a West Palm Beach Guardianship Help You to Protect an Elderly Loved One?

Uncategorized Feb 25, 2020
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What is an adult guardianship? When should I consider hiring a West Palm Beach guardianship attorney? What can I do if I feel my elderly mom is being taken advantage of by a caretaker? How can I make sure that my elderly dad, who has Alzheimer’s disease, is not financially exploited? Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, and Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult As guardianship litigation lawyers, we at Pankauski Lazarus frequently encounter situations where elderly adults are being taken advantage of by those trusted to care for them. It seems that elderly adults with Alzheimer’s disease and/or dementia are targeted most frequently because these particular diseases, unfortunately, can make them vulnerable. Greedy caretakers, neighbors, or friends, who know of a person’s vulnerability, may try to financially exploit them. The idea of having a caretaker or neighbor exploit your vulnerable family member can be sickening. However, there are certain things that can be done to try to prevent this from occurring. Florida Adult Guardianships You may want to consider filing for guardianship over mom and dad if they are no longer able to care for themselves. The guardianship process in Florida is taken very seriously by West Palm Beach courts because guardianship proceedings involve rights being taken away if the alleged incapacitated person is deemed incapacitated. The proceedings to determine incapacity are generally controlled by Florida Statute 744.331, and the statute must be strictly followed. To learn more about the procedures to determine incapacity in a hearing, you should read Florida Statute 744.331 […]


Florida Guardianship Appeal: Is a Family Member Guardian Entitled to Compensation?

Uncategorized Feb 21, 2020
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What is a guardianship? When should you consult with a Florida guardianship lawyer? Do you have an elderly family member who is no longer able to take care of himself? How can a guardianship help you to protect your elderly mom or dad? Do guardians get paid? What should I know before filing to become the guardian of someone? West Palm Beach Adult Guardianships When most people think of a guardianship, they think of minor children. However, at our West Palm Beach litigation firm, we focus on adult guardianships. Any Florida guardianship attorney can tell you that guardianship litigation is booming. Unfortunately, many guardianships are filed to prevent or protect elderly family members from being taken advantage of by greedy caretakers, friends, neighbors etc. Oftentimes, we get calls from people who believe that someone is taking financial advantage of an elderly person. In other circumstances, the children of an elderly person call us because they believe their mom or dad is not properly caring for himself or herself. Guardianships are taken very seriously by the Florida courts because guardianship proceedings usually involve certain rights being taken away from the ward. The ward is the person who is subject to the guardianship. The right to marry and the right to contract are just two of the rights that may be taken from a ward during a guardianship proceeding. If a lesser restrictive alternative to a Florida guardianship, such as a POA or trust, exists the guardianship courts will consider them before […]


Florida Guardianships, Estates, and Artwork

Uncategorized Jan 24, 2020
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Are you the beneficiary of a Florida estate facing complicated legal issues? Have you been named the beneficiary in a Florida will but have still not received an inheritance after many years of estate proceedings? Are you worried that the personal representative of a Florida estate is not properly administering the estate? What does the Florida guardianship court have to do with probate litigation? Florida Inheritance Disputes and Recent Cases A January 8, 2020 article in The Washington Post Magazine discusses an artist named Purvis Young and the probate battles that the beneficiaries of his estate have encountered. Young did not have a spouse or any children. He named his friend Eddie Mae Lovest and 12 of her daughters and grandchildren as the main beneficiaries of his will.  His estate did not consist of much cash but, according to the article, there were 1,884 pieces of art. It makes sense that the beneficiaries thought the art would be sold and that they would inherit the sale money. However, like many Florida estate proceedings, it got a lot more complicated. Artist Purvis Young’s Florida Estate Young passed away back in 2010, yet estate proceedings still continue. West Palm Beach probate litigators know that inheritance battles can get pretty complicated. Here, there has been litigation not only regarding Young’s estate but also regarding the guardianship that Young was subject to prior to his death. Young’s guardian, David Mangiero, became the personal representative of Young’s estate. As personal representative, he is tasked with […]



Uncategorized Jan 7, 2020

Pankauski Lazarus PLLC is pleased to announce that The Florida Bar renewed Robert Hauser’s Board Certification in Appellate Practice. Mr. Hauser is a law partner at Pankauski Lazarus PLLC. Since June 1, 2009, Mr. Hauser has been named a Board-Certified Specialist by The Florida Bar in Appellate Practice. This designates Mr. Hauser as an expert and specialist in appeals in Florida. This past year, Mr. Hauser was featured in the 26th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. He was recognized for his high caliber of work in Appellate Practice. Inclusion in Best Lawyers is based on a rigorous peer-review survey comprising of more than 8.2 million confidential evaluations by top attorneys. Furthermore, Super Lawyers’ 2019 Annual List of Top Attorneys named Mr. Hauser as a “Super Lawyer” in appellate practice. This directory consists of the nation’s top attorneys who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Mr. Hauser remains available to consult regarding litigation and pending or potential final or non-final appeals in state, federal, or bankruptcy courts. Mr. Hauser offers trial and appellate support in almost any area of Florida law, including personal injury, products liability, securities fraud, family law, class actions, probate/trust disputes, business disputes, real estate disputes, and county-to-circuit appeals. If you are in need of an experienced Florida appellate lawyer, call (561)268-0233 ext.101 for a free consultation.