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Florida Surviving Spouse Rights and The Importance of Timely Filings

Uncategorized Dec 19, 2019
post about Florida Surviving Spouse Rights and The Importance of Timely Filings

Has your wife or husband recently passed away in Florida? Are you a surviving spouse? Have you hired a West Palm Beach probate lawyer to help you get your inheritance? Did you know that surviving spouses in Florida have many valuable inheritance rights? If you are the surviving spouse in an inheritance dispute in Florida, you may want to read Florida Statute 732.401 and a March 15, 2019 Second DCA opinion, Samad v. Pla. Don’t Sit On Your Rights Florida probate lawyers know that surviving spouses in Florida have many inheritance rights. However, it is important to act on those rights, and act quickly. John Pankauski, managing law partner at Pankauski Hauser Lazarus, always reminds prospective and current clients that the law doesn’t reward those who sit on their rights! In Florida probate proceedings, there are many deadlines that must be met. For example, surviving spouses must make certain elections within a certain time frame. In addition, objections or filings must be filed timely. In order to know the exact deadlines, you must be familiar with the Florida Statutes. This is why hiring an experienced probate or inheritance attorney, who handles probate matters all day every day, is a good idea. What happens if you miss a deadline? You may be out of luck! Florida Statute 732.401 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 […]

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When is a Disclaimer of an Interest in a Florida Estate Invalid?

Uncategorized Dec 18, 2019
post about When is a Disclaimer of an Interest in a Florida Estate Invalid?

How can a person give up his or her inheritance rights in Florida? What can I do if my mom left me a house in a will and I don’t want to inherit it? Can I sign away my rights to an inheritance? When should I hire a Florida probate lawyer? What is a disclaimer of interest? if you are involved in a probate or trust dispute, you may want to read a January 23, 2019 Third DCA opinion, Lee v. Lee. Lee v. Lee Here, Nicole Lee disclaimed her interest in the decedent’s Florida estate. She did so by executing a document prepared by the personal representative’s attorney. This document was called ” Disclaimer of Interest in Property of Estate.” The disclaimer was properly witnessed and notarized. However, when the personal representative of the Florida estate filed a petition for discharge seeking distribution of the estate’s assets, Ms. Lee objected. She argued that the disclaimer she had executed was not valid. The probate court court determined that the disclaimer was not valid. The probate court explained that the disclaimer was legally insufficient under section 739.104(3) of the Florida Statutes and violative of the statute of frauds because the disclaimer did not identify the real property being disclaimed. Florida Statute 739.104(3) explains what is required for a Florida disclaimer of property to be effective. The following must be met: The disclaimer must be in writing The disclaimer must declare that the writing is a disclaimer The disclaimer must describe the […]

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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 & […]

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Stalking Injunctions in Florida

Uncategorized Dec 11, 2019
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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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Holographic Wills in Florida

Uncategorized Dec 3, 2019
post about Holographic Wills in Florida

Who can write a valid will in Florida? What does it mean to be of “sound mind”? What is a holographic will according to Florida law?  Are holographic wills valid in Florida? What should I know about Holographic wills? What Florida Statutes can I read to learn more about Holographic wills in Florida? How can a Florida probate lawyer assist me if I believe a will was not properly executed? When should I hire a West Palm Beach estate lawyer to contest a holographic will in my Florida probate proceeding? Who Can Write a Valid Will in Florida? Florida Statute 732.501 states that any person who is of a sound mind and who is 18 years or older may execute a Florida will. Florida estate lawyers and West Palm Beach trust attorneys know that a person needs to have testamentary capacity when they execute a will. Otherwise, their Florida will may end up being contested by the beneficiaries. What is being of a “sound mind”? What is testamentary capacity?  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 his or her property after death, knowing the nature and extent of his or her property, knowing the named heirs and members of his or her family understanding in a reasonable manner the general nature and effect of the act of signing the will.  What is a Holographic Will? A Palm Beach probate lawyer can tell […]

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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 […]

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