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Surviving Spouse Inheritance Rights and Florida Homestead

Uncategorized Mar 18, 2020
post about Surviving Spouse Inheritance Rights and Florida Homestead

Does a surviving spouse have rights when it comes to inheritances? Can my wife or husband disinherit me and leave me nothing? If I am a surviving spouse, should I hire a West Palm Beach probate lawyer? What happens if my husband doesn’t include me in his Florida will or trust? Are there certain Florida Statutes I should be familiar with as a surviving spouse? What happens to my wife’s homestead property now that she has passed away? Can my husband’s adult children take away the house that I live in just because it was only in my husband’s name? Florida Surviving Spouse Rights In Florida, surviving spouses have inheritance rights to property of a deceased spouse.  In fact, there are statutory minimum benefits to ensure that surviving family members are provided for, regardless of the decedent’s intent.  What are these benefits? Homestead, elective share, and family allowances are three of the main inheritance rights of surviving spouses in Florida. Are there exceptions? As with almost every Florida law, there are exceptions. If a surviving spouse waived his or her inheritance rights in a prenuptial or other agreement, he or she may be out of luck. However, it never hurts to consult with a Florida probate lawyer to make sure that the inheritance rights or homestead rights were validly waived. Surviving Spouse and Homestead 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 […]

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Stalking Injunctions in Florida

Uncategorized Mar 16, 2020
post about Stalking Injunctions in Florida

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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Florida Appeals and Alimony Modification

Uncategorized Mar 12, 2020
post about Florida Appeals and Alimony Modification

What is a Florida appeal? When do you need to hire a West Palm Beach appellate attorney? What probate or family law orders are appealable? How can an appellate attorney help me with an alimony modification? Florida Family Law Litigation and Appeals Florida lawyers know that some family law cases can lead to an appeal. If you disagree with a final judgment or order, you may be able to file an appeal. If you win a case, the other side may appeal. Therefore, it’s important to anticipate the possibility of having to hire a West Palm Beach appellate attorney. Hiring a Florida Appellate Lawyer For Your Family Law Appeal If you are in the process of hiring a Florida appellate firm, you may want to look for a law firm with extensive experience in handling civil appeals. Does the West Palm Beach 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 at Pankauski Hauser Lazarus handles appeals in each and every district court of appeal in Florida.  Nangle v. Nangle If you are involved in alimony litigation, you may want to read Nangle v. Nangle, a December 18, 2019 Fourth DCA opinion. This case is a good example of how an alimony dispute can end up in a Florida appellate court. Here, the former husband […]

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Florida Appellate Lawyers and Injunctions

Uncategorized Mar 11, 2020
post about Florida Appellate Lawyers and Injunctions

What is a Florida appeal? When do I need to hire a Florida appellate attorney? Can I appeal a circuit court’s order? Can a court orally promise something and then say something different in their written order? Florida Injunctions and Appeals Florida guardianship lawyers 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, guardianship lawyers may file other petitions for injunction if the situation deems necessary. Guardianship litigation or Florida 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 Florida appellate attorney. Hiring a Florida Injunction Lawyer If you are in the process of hiring a Florida litigation 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 West Palm Beach injunction lawsuit and the other side decides to appeal? You need to make sure you have a powerful appellate attorney, who is knowledgeable about both the Florida Rules of Appellate […]

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Florida Lawsuits: POA Documents and Arbitration

Uncategorized Mar 9, 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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Florida Guardianship Litigation: What Happens if a Guardian Fails to File an Annual Accounting?

Uncategorized Mar 6, 2020
post about Florida Guardianship Litigation: What Happens if a Guardian Fails to File an Annual Accounting?

What is an adult guardianship? What are the duties of a guardian in Florida? Does a guardian have to file annual accountings with the Florida guardianship court? What happens if a guardian fails to provide a timely annual report? Florida Adult Guardianships 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. Florida 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. West Palm Beach guardianship lawyers know that guardianship law is governed by Chapter 744 of the Florida Statutes. If you are involved in guardianship litigation in Palm Beach or anywhere in Florida, you should refer to this chapter. You should also consider interviewing an experienced guardianship lawyer who can answer […]

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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 […]

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What Happens if the Personal Representative of a Florida Estate Does Not Properly Provide Notice to Creditors?

Uncategorized Mar 4, 2020
post about What Happens if the Personal Representative of a Florida Estate Does Not Properly Provide Notice to Creditors?

What are the responsibilities of a personal representative in Florida when it comes to creditor claims? Does a personal representative need to publish Notice to Creditors? How does a personal representative determine the creditors of a Florida estate? Florida Statute 733.2121 and 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 estate attorney. Once the personal representative has provided Notice to Creditors, a clock begins to tick for the creditors who wish to file a claim. Therefore, if you believe that you have a claim against a Florida estate, it is important to get moving! 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. Palm Beach probate lawyers know that 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.” Therefore, if the personal representative of a Florida estate fails to properly give notice to a reasonably ascertainable creditor, […]

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When is a Florida Guardian Entitled to Compensation?

Uncategorized Feb 28, 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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Ascertainable Creditors & Untimely Creditor Claims

Uncategorized Feb 28, 2020
post about Ascertainable Creditors & Untimely Creditor Claims

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), […]

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