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Epstein’s Estate, Creditor Claims, and Florida Lawsuits

Uncategorized Jan 3, 2020
post about Epstein’s Estate, Creditor Claims, and Florida Lawsuits

In August 2019, well-known financier Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide in jail after being arrested on sex trafficking charges. According to an article in the SunSentinel, court documents suggest that Epstein’s estate is worth $559 million. Florida probate lawyers know that, when there is such a large estate at play, estate battles and inheritance disputes are likely to occur. When people know that there is money to fight over, they usually fight. Potential creditors and beneficiaries hire inheritance litigators, like those at Pankauski Lazarus, to assist them. In regards to the Epstein situation, it was definitely predictable that alleged victims of his sexual crimes would sue his estate. This is exactly what is now happening. Creditor Claims in Florida In Florida, the personal representative or executor of the estate will need to send out a Notice to Creditors. 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.” Many lawsuits are being filed against Epstein’s massive estate by his alleged victims. The alleged victims who get a judgment in their favor against the estate will be paid before the beneficiaries of Epstein’s will can inherit. Florida Lawsuit Against Epstein’s […]



Uncategorized Dec 20, 2019

Pankauski Lazarus PLLC exclusively represents clients in matters involving Florida estate, business, wills and probate litigation. We represent beneficiaries, trustees and executors throughout Florida when disputes develop in regards to wills, trusts, administration, inheritances, investment losses, beneficiaries’ rights and many other estate, business, property & probate topics. The attorneys at Pankauski Lazarus are serious litigators who frequently appear in courts throughout Florida. When choosing a Florida inheritance lawyer, or probate attorney, to represent you in a will contest or trust lawsuit, it is important to ask how comfortable the attorney is actually going to court. It’s also important to consider how many years of experience the lawyer has and whether or not the lawyer’s practice focuses on inheritance and trust litigation. Any experienced attorney knows that it is imperative to stay current on changes made to Florida Statutes or rules that are relative to his or her practice. On December 19, 2019, the Supreme Court of Florida filed a revised opinion amending The Florida Probate Rules. Will contest attorneys and Florida probate lawyers will want to read this report as the amendments pertain to important rules deadlines. In Re: Amendments to the Florida Probate Rules- 2019 Regular Cycle Report On December 19, 2019, the Supreme Court of Florida issued amendments to the Florida Probate Rules. What are the amendments? An amendment to Rule 5.020 changes the deadline for service of a motion for rehearing from ten days to fifteen days after the date of filing of the or judgment. Florida […]


Florida Inheritances and Wrongful Death Actions

Uncategorized Dec 12, 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 & […]


Undue Influence and Probate Litigation

Uncategorized Dec 5, 2019
post about Undue Influence and Probate Litigation

Cases involving undue influence can be difficult, and they require assistance from a skilled probate litigator or trust and estates lawyer.Florida probate litigators rely on circumstantial evidence when litigating a case involving undue influence.Why is circumstantial evidence relied on? Because the person who would be the key witness in the case is deceased! What are the factors that should be considered to prove undue influence? What proves that a beneficiary actively procured the will that is being contested?


How Do Florida Courts Determine Whether a Party is Indispensable?

Uncategorized Dec 5, 2019
post about How Do Florida Courts Determine Whether a Party is Indispensable?

Did you know that your Florida lawsuit could be dismissed for failure to join an indispensable party? Therefore, it is important to know what an indispensable party is and who qualifies as one. A recent First DCA opinion, MBC Gospel Network, LLC v. Florida’s News Channel,LC, involves the issue of whether a case should have been dismissed for failure to join indispensable parties. This opinion explains what an indispensable party is and what question is asked to determine whether or not a party is indispensable. To read the entire case and learn more about indispensable parties in Florida lawsuits, click here. To interview a trial lawyer, free of charge, call (561)514-0900 ext.101.


When Can a Florida Lawsuit be Dismissed for Failure to Join Indispensable Parties?

Uncategorized Dec 5, 2019
post about When Can a Florida Lawsuit be Dismissed for Failure to Join Indispensable Parties?

What is an indispensable party in a Florida probate or business lawsuit? How does the Florida Supreme Court define an indispensable party? How do Florida probate courts and civil courts determine whether a party is indispensable or not? If you have questions about indispensable parties in Florida, you may want to read an April 22,2019 First DCA opinion, MBC Gospel Network, LLC v. Florida’s News Channel,LC. Although this is not a Florida probate opinion, probate trial lawyers encounter lawsuits involving indispensable parties. In this Florida appeal, one of the issues raised by the Appellants is “whether the trial court erred by failing to dismiss the case for failure to join indispensable parties.” The appellate court goes on to explain that ” The Florida Supreme Court has defined an indispensable party as ‘one whose interest in the controversy makes it impossible to completely adjudicate the matter without affecting either that party’s interest or the interests of another party in the action.” Do you still have questions about indispensable parties and Florida lawsuits? To read the entire opinion, click here. For a free consultation with a Florida trial lawyer, call (561)514-0900 ext.101.


Probate Litigation: Florida Wills and Divorce

Uncategorized Dec 4, 2019
post about Probate Litigation: Florida Wills and Divorce

How can divorce affect an inheritance? Will my ex-husband still inherit from my Palm Beach estate if we get divorced? What happens if you leave an ex-spouse property in a Florida will? Are you involved in a probate matter regarding divorce and a Florida will? If so, you may want to read a recent Second DCA opinion, Gordon v. Fishman.


Injunctions and Florida Law

Uncategorized Nov 26, 2019
post about Injunctions and Florida Law

When will a Florida trial court grant an injunction? To be entitled to an injunction in Florida, what must be proven? When do you need to hire a Florida lawyer to assist you with an injunction? Injunctions and Florida Business or Probate Lawsuits Sometimes, West Palm Beach lawyers are asked to file an injunction. Why would a business lawyer or trust and estates lawyer be asked to file an injunction? Well, sometimes, disputes over inheritances or money can become very messy. Florida litigation lawyers know that, when it comes to money, people can go to extreme measures. Although the fight for the money is being handled in court, there have been cases where one party is so upset that they begin to “stalk” or “harass” the other party. At this point, a stalking injunction may be considered. Temporary Stalking Injunctions in Florida To be entitled to a stalking injunction in Florida under section 784.0485, “a petitioner must prove by competent, substantial evidence a single incident of stalking.” 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. Shannon v. Smith If you looking to petition for temporary stalking injunction against someone in Florida, you may […]


Guardianship Lawsuits and the Right to Marry

Uncategorized Nov 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 Fifth DCA holds that disinherited beneficiaries may bring suit during the pendency of a separate will or trust contest.

Uncategorized Sep 17, 2019

Do disinherited children have standing to sue the trustee or a fiduciary who is mis-managing estate or trust assets? Typically, no. But if there is a will and/or trust contest underway to restore their inheritance rights, the answer is likely yes.  Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeals recently addressed this issue in Cruz v. Community Bank . Attorney Alexander Briggs, Esquire, of Pankauski Lazarus, PLLC successfully briefed and argued this case before the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach, Florida on behalf of the appellants. In Cruz, two children were essentially disinherited by their father. The son received nothing, and the daughter received only a life estate in homestead property. Shortly before his death, the father executed a trust that purported to leave most of the trust and estate assets to charity. Then the father died. The children filed an action to invalidate the will and trust on the grounds that their father did not have capacity at that time of his signature. If they succeed, they will inherit all of the trust and estate assets. While their lawsuit was pending, the trustee sent them an accounting and monthly statements with “limitations notices” that, under Section 736.1008, Florida Statutes, invoked a six-month statute of limitations for any causes of action arising from the accounting or statements. The statements tended to show that the trust property was not invested or producing income, and that it was in fact dwindling. Faced with this short deadline, the children sued for breach of trust, even though […]