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Florida Adult Guardianships: What Can an Alleged Incapacitated Person Do if Her Attorney is not Representing Her Properly?

Uncategorized Nov 19, 2020
post about Florida Adult Guardianships: What Can an Alleged Incapacitated Person Do if Her Attorney is not Representing Her Properly?

Are you involved in a Miami guardianship proceeding? Are you the alleged incapacitated person in a guardianship matter in Florida? Did the Miami guardianship court appoint a Florida attorney to represent the alleged incapacitated person? Do court appointed attorneys in guardianship cases have to follow certain rules? Can a guardianship lawyer ignore the wishes of his or her client? Can a guardianship lawyer argue against his or her client’s interests if the lawyer feels it is in the best interest of the client? Guardianship Proceedings in Miami and West Palm Beach 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. Occasionally, parents of adult children may file a Florida guardianships if the adult child is unable to handle his or her needs. Florida guardianship lawyers know that guardianship law is governed by Chapter 744 of the Florida Statutes. If you are involved in guardianship litigation in Dade County or anywhere in Florida, you should refer to this chapter. You should also consider interviewing an experienced guardianship lawyer who can answer your questions and properly represent you. Florida Statute 744.331 Florida Statute 744.331 (2)(b) gives trial judges in Florida guardianship proceedings a mandatory obligation […]


Voluntary Dismissal of Florida Lawsuits

Uncategorized Nov 18, 2020
post about Voluntary Dismissal of Florida Lawsuits

Are you involved in a lawsuit in Florida? What is a voluntary dismissal? What should your Florida business lawyer or probate lawyer tell you before you decide to voluntarily dismiss a lawsuit? How does a voluntary dismissal affect an appeal? Can you agree to voluntarily dismiss a case in a settlement agreement?In Florida, can you appeal a trial court’s order after you voluntarily dismissed your lawsuit? Florida Trial Lawyers and Settlement Agreements At Pankauski Hauser Lazarus, our West Palm beach attorneys handle litigation and appeals throughout Florida. Although trial lawyers frequent the courtroom, they must also handle other aspects of litigation. For example, outside of the courtroom, experienced litigators prepare for depositions, negotiate settlement agreements, prepare petitions, etc. Another part of a probate litigator’s job is to provide client’s with legal options. Some clients choose to be more aggressive than others. For example, some clients are dead set on taking their Florida trust lawsuit to trial, while others prefer to settle or end their Palm Beach estate lawsuit as quickly as possible. Some probate or business lawsuits are resolved with a settlement agreement. An experienced Florida litigation 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 Florida Settlement Agreement What happens if you sign a settlement agreement and then do not comply with the terms? Oftentimes, West Palm Beach probate lawyers will seek approval of […]


Miami Injunction Litigation

Uncategorized Nov 14, 2020

When will a Miami 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? When is a stalking injunction necessary in Florida? How can I obtain a stalking injunction in Miami? Miami Stalking Injunctions 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. If someone is stalking you in Florida, you may wish to file an injunction. Probate lawyers and business attorneys know that disputes over money and inheritances can often get pretty heated. Sometimes, although the parties are supposed to be fighting in court, a party decides to stalk or harass the other party. This is usually when a stalking injunction is considered. In addition to stalking injunctions, temporary injunctions to freeze bank accounts or protect assets are often filed during Miami inheritance lawsuits. Stalking Injunctions in Florida Shannon v. Smith, a July 23 2019 First DCA opinion, is a great case to read as it discusses and defines both stalking and cyberstalking. Here, an alleged victim petitioned for temporary stalking injunction against a neighbor. The neighbor appealed. After reviewing the evidence, which […]


Extensions of Time in Florida Probate Cases

Uncategorized Nov 11, 2020
post about Extensions of Time in Florida Probate Cases

Can deadlines be extended in your Florida probate lawsuit? What can you do if you need more time to file an answer to a motion in your trust litigation case? If a Florida Statute provides a deadline, how seriously should that deadline be taken? What should my Florida probate lawyer know about filing a timely homestead election in a West Palm Beach or Miami inheritance case? How can an experienced probate lawyer help to ensure that I do not miss important deadlines? Hiring a Probate Litigation Lawyer in Florida In the probate world, there are many deadlines that must be met. In order to know all of these deadlines, your Florida probate lawyer must be very familiar with the Florida Statutes and Probate Code. Furthermore, your probate lawyer must know the rules of the Florida probate courts. How do you choose a lawyer who knows all of this? You should consider hiring a probate or trust law firm that specializes in Florida probate matters. If you choose a probate-focused firm, like Pankauski Hauser Lazarus PLLC, your lawyers are constantly handling probate issues and meeting probate deadlines. Therefore, they will be especially knowledgeable about the statutes pertaining to your Florida probate lawsuit. Secondly, you should choose an estate lawyer or probate litigator who is experienced. For example, the law partners at Pankauski Hauser Lazarus have over 20 years of experience practicing Florida law. Florida Deadlines and Probate Litigation In certain situations, deadlines can be extended in your Florida probate case. For […]


Miami Inheritance Lawsuits and Interested Persons

Uncategorized Nov 6, 2020
post about Miami Inheritance Lawsuits and Interested Persons

Do you want to contest a Miami will? Are you wondering if you even have standing to contest a Florida will? In a Miami inheritance lawsuit, who is an “interested person”? According to Florida law, what does it mean to be an “interested person” ? What can an interested person do in regards to an estate? Can an interested person petition to reopen a Miami estate? Who is an “Interested Person”? Florida Probate Code Section 731.201(23) provides the following definition: “Interested person” means any person who may reasonably be expected to be affected by the outcome of the particular proceeding involved. Miami probate lawyers know that an interested person interested, in a Florida probate case, has greater rights than others. For instance, an interested person has a right to request information regarding the inventory and accounting of the Miami estate. This is information that is kept confidential from the general public. Only an interested person has standing (a legal right to be involved) in Miami probate court proceedings. An interested person can object to various pleadings and intervene in the Miami probate proceeding. For example, interested persons can object to the qualifications of the Florida personal representative, the validity of the Florida will, or the venue/jurisdiction of the court handling the Florida probate. It’s clear that the beneficiary of a Miami estate is considered an interested person, but is a prior beneficiary considered an interested person? If you were the beneficiary of a Florida will, but then later taken out of the will, you may want to read a November 16, 2011 Fourth DCA opinion, Agee v. Brown. Interested Persons […]


Defending the Florida Trustee: FREE CLE Zoom Webinar Friday, November 13, 2020 1:00- 1:50 pm

Uncategorized Nov 6, 2020
post about Defending the Florida Trustee: FREE CLE Zoom Webinar Friday, November 13, 2020 1:00- 1:50 pm

Each month, Pankauski Hauser Lazarus offers Continuing Legal Education (CLE) webinars, which are approved by the Florida Bar. All CLE webinars are sponsored by Pankauski Hauser Lazarus and FREE to Florida Bar members. All Florida lawyers are welcome to attend. Pankauski Hauser Lazarus exclusively represents clients in matters involving disputes, trials and appeals surrounding Florida estates, business, wills and probate litigation. Therefore, if you are a Florida probate, guardianship or estate planning lawyer, many of the webinar topics may relate to your Florida practice. SAVE THE DATE: Friday, November 13, 2020, 1:00 p.m.-1:50 p.m. Pankauski Hauser Lazarus PLLC will be offering a FREE, 1 credit hour CLE on Defending the Florida Trustee- how to properly plead affirmative defenses, led by managing partner John Pankauski.  WHERE: Online via Zoom. REGISTRATION REQUIRED: To register for this CLE webinar, click here. Once registered, you will receive an email with the link to join the webinar.  If you have any questions, or need more information, please email Amanda@phflorida.com.


Surviving Spouse Inheritance Rights and Miami Appeals

Uncategorized Nov 5, 2020
post about Surviving Spouse  Inheritance Rights and Miami Appeals

Are you a surviving spouse involved in an inheritance dispute in Miami, Florida? Has your wife or husband recently passed away leaving a house or condo behind? Do you know your inheritance rights and by when you must take action? Are you already involved in inheritance litigation where an appeal may end up being filed? Miami lawyers know that surviving spouses have important inheritance rights. However, often times, probate battles between the decedent’s children from another marriage and the surviving spouse arise. Therefore, it’s important to have a Miami litigator on your side to help you get your inheritance. Also, Miami probate attorneys know that some inheritance lawsuits, including those regarding inheritance rights, can lead to an appeal. If you disagree with a final judgment or order, you may be able to file an appeal. On the other hand, if you win a case, the other side may appeal. Therefore, it’s important to anticipate the possibility of having to hire an experienced Miami appellate attorney. Hiring a Florida Appellate Lawyer For Your Miami Appeal If you are in the process of hiring a Miami appellate firm, you may want to look for a law firm with extensive experience in handling civil appeals. Does the Florida 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 […]


Surviving Spouse Inheritance Rights and Florida Homestead

Uncategorized Oct 28, 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 […]


Florida Divorce Lawsuits, Marital Assets, and Inheritances

Uncategorized Oct 27, 2020
post about Florida Divorce Lawsuits, Marital Assets, and Inheritances

What do Miami divorces have to do with probate matters? What does a divorce have to do with inheritances? Should I have a prenuptial agreement drafted by a Miami attorney? Why should I spend the money to get a prenup when I love my future wife and want to be with her forever? What do Miami Beach probate litigators need to know about prenups and inheritances? If you inherit money during your marriage, is it automatically considered a marital asset? Miami Prenups and Inheritances Did you know that a 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 the marital property. In addition, it can help to ensure that inheritances and certain accounts are not deemed marital assets during a divorce proceeding. Marital Assets in Florida Florida’s equitable distribution statute explains what is to be considered marital assets and what is to be considered nonmarital assets in a Florida divorce. The statute provides the following in part: (a) 1. “Marital assets and liabilities” include: a. Assets acquired and liabilities incurred during the marriage, individually by either spouse or jointly by them. b. The enhancement in value and appreciation of nonmarital assets resulting either from efforts of either party during the marriage or from contribution to or expenditure thereon of marital funds or other forms of marital assets, or both. c. Interspousal gifts during the marriage. Is a bank account acquired prior to marriage a marital asset? Is a Miami trust fund inherited by one spouse during […]


Florida Will Contests:Do Prior Beneficiaries Have the Right to Sue to Revoke Probate?

Uncategorized Oct 20, 2020
post about Florida Will Contests:Do Prior Beneficiaries Have the Right to Sue to Revoke Probate?

Are you thinking about contesting a Florida will? Are you currently involved in a Miami or Palm Beach inheritance dispute? Did you just find out that your mom or dad’s Florida will was changed just before he or she passed away? What rights do you have if you were listed as a beneficiary in a prior will, but you are not listed in the current will? Do prior beneficiaries in Florida have the same rights as current beneficiaries? Who has standing to contest a will in Florida? Under what circumstances does a beneficiary have standing to file a petition to revoke probate of a testator’s last will? Contesting a Will in Miami, Florida If you are looking to contest a will in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, you should consider consulting with a Florida probate litigator. Florida probate lawyers, like the lawyers at Pankauski Hauser Lazarus, can evaluate your matter to determine whether or not there are facts that may lead to a successful will contest. Both Florida estate planning attorneys and trust litigators know that there are many reasons a will may be contested. One of the main reasons a Florida will could be challenged is if the testator, the person who signed the will, did not have “testamentary capacity” to sign a will in Florida. According to Florida law, what is “testamentary capacity”? Testamentary Capacity and Florida Will Contests There are four main components to show testamentary capacity (sometimes called “sufficient mental capacity”) in Florida: understanding that he or she is creating a distribution of […]


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