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Probate Contingency Lawyer

FAQs Sep 8, 2021
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A contingency fee may be your key to the probate court. (But, how do you find the right lawyer?) If the idea of large legal fees just to protect your inheritance is daunting, you are not alone. Many beneficiaries, heirs and family members seek out a probate contingency lawyer for will contests and trust lawsuits. Even just plain old probates —to look out for them, and protect their inheritance, in a Florida estate case. Admittedly, good ones are hard to find. And big firms won’t do contingent fees. You need to find a boutique expert who limits their practice to this area of the law. Here’s what you need to know now. (to read more about contingency fees, click THIS LINK ) Everyone’s Doing It “I get dozens of calls each quarter” says Probate Litigation Lawyer John Pankauski. “A lot of people are looking for a probate contingency lawyer. And they are the ones asking for a contingency fee.” But Pankauski admittedly doesn’t take over 90% of those calls who seek out his firm. He would rather be paid each month for his time, at his hourly rate — rather than take a case on a contingency. But he has that luxury. His firm has a robust practice handling litigations and appeals for wills, trusts, probates and estates, throughout Florida. His band of trial lawyers have found success in trials and even appeals. “I am very selective on what cases I’ll take on a contingency” he says. If you can […]

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Petition to Revoke Probate Florida

Probate Information Sep 8, 2021
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A Petition to Revoke Probate Florida may be your only way to get an inheritance if it was taken from you improperly. If an invalid or suspicious will was presented to probate, you just might have a will contest on your hands. Do you know how to enforce your inheritance rights? Understanding the Probate Process The Florida Probate Process is, in once sense, straightforward. You gather all the deceased Florida resident’s assets, pay her last expenses and bills, and then distribute what’s left over to the beneficiaries. But determining beneficiaries may be more of a challenge than one believes. If there is no will, then the HEIRS inherit under what’s called “Intestacy.” If there is a valid will, then the property goes to the will beneficiaries. A Petition to Revoke Probate Florida is a court filed document in the probate court. (It’s explained in more detail below). If there are multiple wills, a court will determine which one is valid. In that case, the will signing becomes very important, as well as the person’s mental health. Finally, the facts and circumstances of how a will came to be signed are important. Was there undue influence or fraud? To see videos on will challenges and undue influence for free, CLICK HERE. Reading the Florida Probate Laws + Rules The good news is that you may learn a lot about the Florida Probate process quickly, easily and free of charge. Listen up Heirs, children, grandchildren and adopted kids ! The Florida intestacy […]

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Florida Will Contest

Our Firm Sep 7, 2021
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What is a Florida Will Contest and what do you need to know? To see a free Florida probate video about a will contest, CLICK HERE. To learn more, keep reading. An Introduction to Florida Will Contest A Florida will contest is a challenge to a will. It involves going to court, the probate court, and making a claim. This claim is often in the form of a court-filed document called a Petition. In that Petition, you set forth your case on why the will is not valid. That is your challenge. You challenge the validity of the will. Florida law lists a limited number of reasons why a will may not be valid. Understanding all of these legal avenues is key to your success. Gathering your evidence is key. Finally, knowing how to try this type of case is paramount. Unless you settle your will contest, it will go to trial. A probate judge will tell you whether a will is valid or not valid. If there are a number of wills in play, she will tell you which ones are valid, which are not valid, and which one controls. Are you ready? Affect of Fraud or Duress A will that is caused by Fraud or Duress is void. Undue influence is a kind of fraud. Many times, people question wills that are signed right before death. Or, when a new beneficiary magically appears in a will, and was never there before. If a person forced or pressured someone […]

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Florida Arbitration — must I ?

In the News Sep 6, 2021
post about Florida Arbitration — must I ?

Florida arbitration or a trial in state or federal court? Seasoned trial attorneys reveal that arbitration is not necessarily all that it’s cracked up to be. While there may be some perceived advantages, can you really be compelled to arbitrate a matter? Let’s consider arbitration in light of a recent Florida appellate opinion. The Arbitration Code Chapter 682 of the Florida Statutes is the Florida Arbitration Code. Arbitration has been described as “private judging.” It’s a quasi-judicial proceeding in a private forum, as compared to a public state court or federal court. It is a forum to resolve a litigation. A lawsuit. Instead of a judge, you get an arbitrator. Sometimes you get a panel of three arbitrators. Who each charge you hundreds of dollars an hour for their services. Yes, that’s right ! Arbitration costs money ! Clauses in Contracts Many times, there are clauses in contracts, and even in wills and trusts, which mandate arbitration. In other words, if you have certain disputes, you cannot have that resolved in a Florida court. Often, there is a disagreement over whether a particular claim, or lawsuit, or dispute, is covered by the arbitration provision. Do you have to arbitrate a fraud claim? And if you start out in state court, if the proceedings keep going, did someone WAIVE the right to arbitrate? And who decides if a claim is “arbitrable” or not: a judge or an arbitrator? (For a brief September 8, 2021 3rd DCA appellate opinion on waiving the […]

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Will Signing Florida — how to sign a Florida will

FAQs Sep 6, 2021
post about Will Signing Florida — how to sign a Florida will

If the will signing Florida is not in the correct order, the will can be overturned. The process is important ! If the will signing “ceremony” is not correct, the Florida will is not valid. Here’s what you need to know if there is a will contest. Or someone objects to the will. To read more about a Florida will signing, click HERE. If you inherit under the will that is being attacked, how will you defend it? Why Do I Care About Witnesses and Order of Signatures? Good question ! So, you DO care if you are thinking about a WILL CHALLENGE. A will challenge is a filing, typically, a Petition, which contests a will. Think of it as a lawsuit to invalidate a will. Wills must be filed within 10 days (of the death of a Florida resident) by the one who has possession of the will. That person with the original will is called the custodian. If you get “notice” of a probate with a suspicious will, you have to take action. You may need to file an objection to the will. If you don’t take action, then that suspicious will can be “admitted” to probate and be given validity. But, what if you inherit under a will and it is attacked? How will you protect your inheritance? Here are some things to consider about how to sign a will in Florida. (This topic is so important that estate litigator John Pankauski gave a one hour, Florida […]

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Florida 57.105 — getting attorneys fees damages from the other side

In the News Sep 6, 2021
post about Florida 57.105 — getting attorneys fees damages from the other side

Lots of family members involved in a trust or will contest complain that what the other side is doing is baseless. A weird Florida statute gives you the chance to recover some of your attorneys fees as damages. To see how you may be able to get damages (in the form of attorneys fees) against your opponent (or their lawyer), read about Florida 57.105. Florida Statute 57.105– background So, we know that Florida law is generally made up of two things: statutes and caselaw. The legislature creates the laws which the governor signs. Our judges tell us what those statutes mean and how they operate. So, why would you refer to this law as “weird?”. Well, first of all, Florida 57.105 is one of those statutes that seems to create more litigation than it was intended to diminish. Second, it is often mis-understood and incorrectly applied. By the lawyers ! In fact, ask an experienced will or trust litigation lawyer. They will tell you that there are a lot of probate lawyers who say they go to court, but actually don’t try cases. And they often don’t completely understand this statute and when it is appropriate. Here is “everything” you may want to know about Florida 57.105 and even a recent case from the 3rd District Court of Appeal on this subject. 57.105 in easy-2-read, plain-English 57.105 is a Florida statute It provides that sanctions may be awarded against a party in a lawsuit for having a baseless, or frivolous […]

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57.105 Florida Sanctions

In the News Sep 1, 2021
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57.105 Florida sanctions is a serious law. Heck, sanctions are serious. If you are faced with a “safe harbor” letter or notice, or a 57.105 motion, here are some things you may want to know. Sanctions in Florida Lawsuits A Florida trial judge has the inherent authority to punish, or sanction, bad conduct. In Florida, there is the inequitable conduct doctrine. For a trial judge to sanction someone, she needs to make very specific findings of fact in her order. Notice of an evidentiary hearing is required. The party who may be sanctioned or punished is entitled to notice and an opportunity to put on a defense. But beyond the inequitable conduct doctrine, there is a peculiar law, or statute, which permits a Florida judge to sanction a party to a lawsuit, and the party’s lawyers, for maintaining (and refusing to withdraw) a frivolous position. This may occur, for example, under Florida Statute 57.105 57.105 Florida’s Sanctions Statute On August 25, 2021, the 3rd District Court of Appeal issued its opinion in Viera v. In Re: Liptito, LLC. The 3rd DCA is the appellate court for Miami-Dade County. This opinion dealt with sanctions in the form of attorneys fees against an attorney. 57.105 is a statute that permits a party to obtain attorneys fees if the other side is doing something frivolous. Put another way, this law may be a path to get a lawsuit dismissed. That’s because the threat of being sanctioned sometimes compels a party or their counsel […]

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Affirmative Defenses Florida — what you need to know

FAQs Sep 1, 2021
post about Affirmative Defenses Florida — what you need to know

Being an aggressive litigator is what a lot of clients want. But you also need to know how to play defense. In football, when a team is up by only a few points and has the ball. You have to decide: do you go for it, or punt and “trust your defense?” Well, understanding affirmative defenses is an often overlooked part of probate and trust litigation. We think affirmative defenses Florida are so important that we gave a Florida Bar-approved continuing legal education seminar on this very topic. Now, let’s talk a bit about this subject, and a recent case. Admitting Facts but Avoiding Liability When you are served with a lawsuit, you receive a copy of the complaint. To start a lawsuit, a complaint is filed. When you receive a copy of the complaint, you have 20 days to respond. You can read more about timetables and how a case proceeds by reading the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. Check out Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.140 When you “answer” the complaint, you may raise affirmative defenses Florida. Affirmative defenses are not simple denials. Affirmative defenses are the type of “yea, but…..” defenses. Think of them this way: even if the allegations or accusations in the complaint are true, you still win ! Examples of common affirmative defenses include statute of limitations and accord & satisfaction. Failure to properly raise affirmative defenses means that you waive those defenses. 4th DCA Opinion on Affirmative Defenses Florida — must read On […]

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Will Challenge Florida

FAQs Aug 31, 2021
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There are a number of ways to handle a will challenge Florida. These depend on the facts of your particular case. However, how you approach your probate lawsuit depends upon your STRATEGY. Whether you are claiming a will is invalid based upon an insane delusion, dementia or undue influence, read on. What is a Will Challenge Florida? A will challenge Florida is an attempt to have a will declared void. Or invalid. In some instances, you are challenging only a part of the will. Such as a provision that leaves a specific asset to a particular beneficiary. Or, the “residue”, or “residuary” clause that changes who gets everything else in the end. A challenge may also be thought of, or described as, a Will Contest. A will may be valid if it was not executed OR signed properly. If you don’t have two witnesses who sign in the presence of the person– and each other, who also sign in everyone’s presence– the will is not valid. Sometimes you simply start with the basics of a will challenge. Was the will signed correctly? To read a Florida appellate court opinion about will signings, click HERE. If the person who “signed” the will did not know what was going on, the will is not valid. Probate litigators call this lacking the requisite testamentary capacity. It does not mean that a guardianship was created. A Florida resident who signs a will must know, in general terms, what she is doing. Does she know […]

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Florida Will Signing

FAQs Aug 31, 2021
post about Florida Will Signing

If a Florida will was not signed properly–or not signed by the person and witnesses in the proper order– it is not valid. What do you need to know about a Florida will signing? Well, many heirs and family members often have questions about a will challenge. Knowing how to make a claim is super important. In some cases, you may have less than 3 months to object to a will. Let’s talk about the legal requirements for a valid Florida will signing. For a free video on objecting to a will, CLICK HERE. Florida Legal Requirements For a will to be valid in Florida, most probate lawyers know the rules. Here they are in a nutshell: The person must sign the will in front of two witnesses, who likewise sign the will in front of the person and each other. The will must be signed at the end. And that’s it ! Or, you could simply read Florida Probate Statute 732.502. That law is the law for how to sign a will. (For a free Florida probate video on over-turning a will, click HERE.) Don’t Forget the Self-Proving Affidavit But, how do you prove that this was done? Well, most probate lawyers have a self proving affidavit. Florida Probate Law 732.503 even gives you the form. The self proving affidavit includes a statement from the notary that the person and the witnesses actually signed the will in the notary’s presence. What’s the big deal with the Florida self-proving affidavit? […]

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