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

Uncategorized Sep 17, 2019
post about Florida Fifth DCA holds that disinherited beneficiaries may bring suit during the pendency of a separate will or trust contest.

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 Hauser 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 […]

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Robert J. Hauser, Law Partner at Pankauski Hauser Lazarus PLLC, Featured in The Best Lawyers in America

Uncategorized Sep 16, 2019
post about Robert J. Hauser, Law Partner at Pankauski Hauser Lazarus PLLC, Featured in The Best Lawyers in America

Robert J. Hauser of Pankauski Hauser Lazarus PLLC has been chosen to be featured in the 26th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. He is recognized for his high caliber of work in Appellate Practice. Inclusion in Best Lawyers is based on a rigorous peer-review survey comprising of more than 8.2 million confidential evaluations by top attorneys. Since June 1, 2009, Mr. Hauser has been named a Board-Certified Specialist by The Florida Bar in Appellate Practice. Mr. Hauser remains available to consult regarding litigation and pending or potential final or non-final appeals in state, federal, or bankruptcy courts. Mr. Hauser offers trial and appellate support in almost any area of law, including personal injury, products liability, securities fraud, family law, class actions, probate/trust disputes, business disputes, real estate disputes, and county-to-circuit appeals. For a free consultation with Mr. Hauser, call (561)514-0900 ext.101.

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ROBERT J. HAUSER, PARTNER AT PANKAUSKI HAUSER LAZARUS PLLC, RECOGNIZED IN SUPER LAWYERS’ 2019 LIST OF TOP ATTORNEYS

Uncategorized Sep 16, 2019
post about ROBERT J. HAUSER, PARTNER AT PANKAUSKI HAUSER LAZARUS PLLC, RECOGNIZED IN SUPER LAWYERS’ 2019 LIST OF TOP ATTORNEYS

Super Lawyers’ 2019 Annual List of Top Attorneys names Pankauski Hauser Lazarus PLLC partner Robert J. Hauser as a “Super Lawyer” in appellate practice. This directory consists of the nation’s top attorneys who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Robert J. Hauser has been practicing in West Palm Beach since 1997, and has been board certified by the Florida Bar in appellate practice since 2009.  Mr. Hauser handles only litigation and appeals. He has handled a broad variety of matters, including complex business disputes, probate litigation, family law, health care litigation, attorneys’ fees disputes, and bankruptcy appeals. To set up an initial consultation with Mr. Hauser, call (561)268-0233 Ext.101.

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Florida Probate Litigation and Disclaimers

Uncategorized Aug 28, 2019
post about Florida Probate Litigation and Disclaimers

What is a disclaimer? When might you be asked to sign a disclaimer in your Florida probate case? What should you do if a disclaimer is presented to you by the opposing side? How can a probate lawyer help you to decide whether or not to sign a disclaimer? What constitutes a valid disclaimer in Florida? A January 23,2019 Third DCA opinion discusses a disclaimer in a Florida inheritance case, and what makes a disclaimer valid or invalid. Know What You Are Signing This may seem obvious but, before you sign ANYTHING, make sure that you read it and understand it! You would be surprised how many times our West Palm Beach probate law firm gets calls from beneficiaries who accidentally signed away their rights. Sometimes, these beneficiaries don’t even realize what they did until it is too late. In the probate world, disclaimers are common. For example, if a beneficiary does not want to have interest in , or inherit, a property, they will most likely be asked to sign a disclaimer. Before receiving an inheritance, beneficiaries are also usually asked to sign a disclaimer. In order to avoid any mistakes, and to avoid accidentally giving up valuable inheritance rights, you should have your Palm Beach inheritance lawyer review the disclaimer and go over it with you. Florida Law: Disclaimer of Property 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 […]

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Can an Improperly Executed Trust Amendment Be Validated Under the Statute Permitting Reformation to Correct Mistakes of Law Affecting the Settlor’s Intent?

Uncategorized Aug 16, 2019
post about Can an Improperly Executed Trust Amendment Be Validated Under the Statute Permitting Reformation to Correct Mistakes of Law Affecting the Settlor’s Intent?

What happens if a trust is created but it was not properly signed by two witnesses? What if a Florida trust is not properly executed? Is a trust that is not properly executed in Florida still valid? Can an amendment’s improper execution be corrected under the statute permitting reformation of mistakes? If you are involved in trust litigation where a mistake was made in the execution of a Florida trust, you may want to read Kelly v. Lindenau, a May 17, 2017 Second DCA opinion. Here, the validity of a trust amendment was in question. The trust amendment in the Florida probate case conveyed settlor’s residential property to a beneficiary. The issue was that the trust amendment was not signed by a second witness. Therefore, according to Florida trust law, it was not properly executed. The successor tustee brought action against the beneficiary in the aendment seeking declaration as to the validity of the trust amendment. The benefificary filed a counterclaim seeking reformation of the trust amendment, and the trial court ultimately granted the beneficiary’s counterclaim. However, the Second DCA disagreed with the trial courts decision. The appellate court help that “amendment’s improper execution could not be corrected under statute permitting reformation of mistakes, and constructive trust was improper remedy for error in execution.” To read the entire case, click here.

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What are the Rights of a Person Determined Incapacitated in Florida?

Uncategorized Aug 15, 2019
post about What are the  Rights of a Person Determined Incapacitated in Florida?

What is Florida Statute 744.3215? Did you know that if you are deemed incapacitated in Florida, certain rights may be taken away from you? Can all of my rights be taken away from me? What rights will I still have if I am a Ward? How can my guardianship lawyer help me to understand my rights? Florida Statute 744.3215 is the relevant statute. It lists the rights that a person retains when determined incapacitated and the rights that may be removed.

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Florida Business Lawsuits on a Contingency

Uncategorized Aug 9, 2019
post about Florida Business Lawsuits on a Contingency

When does a Florida business lawsuit on a contingency make sense? Florida shareholders and business owners, listen up! If you are the partner or a member of a Florida LLC, and are now involved in a business lawsuit in Florida, can you afford it? Here’s what Florida partners and former shareholders need to know. A contingency fee for your Florida business lawsuit may or may not make sense. Serious Business Lawsuit Lawyers Ask any business owner who has been forced out by their Florida partners, and he or she will tell you that you need to hire a tough litigator. What does this mean? You want to find a lawyer who is experienced. You should consider how long a law firm has been in business, and how many years of experience the Florida attorneys at the firm have. Ask the business lawyers you are interviewing how often they go to court. Let’s consider Florida probate law as an example. Many probate lawyers do not go to court. Instead, they write wills and trusts. However, probate litigators, like the attorneys at Pankauski Hauser, do NOT write estate plans. Instead, our attorneys fight hard in court for our clients. Trial experience is imperative if you are in need of someone to represent you in a Florida business dispute. Look for a Florida business attorney that is aggressive, yet professional. You want someone who will work hard and fight hard for yo, both inside and outside of the courtroom. You want a West […]

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Personal Representative of Florida Estate Brings Wrongful Death Action

Uncategorized Aug 7, 2019
post about Personal Representative of Florida Estate Brings Wrongful Death Action

Are you the personal representative of an estate in Florida? Do you believe that a wrongful death action should be filed? Can you file a wrongful death action as the personal representative of an estate? How do you file a wrongful death action in Florida? When do you need a Florida estate lawyer and a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer? Carpenters Home Estates Inc. v. Sanders A July 12, 2019 Second DCA opinion, Carpenters Home Estates Inc. v. Sanders, is a great example of a case where the personal representative of a Florida estate brings a wrongful death claim. Here, the personal representative brought action against a nursing home owner and operator for both negligence and wrongful death. What does this case show us? The Personal Representative of a Florida Estate Plays Many Roles When you are appointed as the personal representative of an estate, you should be prepared to make many important decisions. In Florida, the personal representative of an estate needs to be represented by a lawyer. Hiring an experienced probate lawyer to represent you as personal representative can definitely make the process much smoother and less stressful. In addition to choosing an experienced lawyer, you want to make sure that you work compatibly with the West Palm Beach probate lawyer that you choose. You and your probate lawyer will work together to decide what makes sense for the beneficiaries of the Florida estate. In some cases, your probate lawyer may suggest that you also hire a personal injury […]

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Florida Inheritances and Wrongful Death Actions

Uncategorized Aug 6, 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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Who Can Create a Valid Will in Florida?

Uncategorized Aug 5, 2019
post about Who Can Create a Valid Will in Florida?

In Florida, who can write a will? Who can have a trust drafted? Do you have to be over a certain age to create an estate plan? What is being of a “sound mind”? What is Florida Statute 732.501? How can you contest a will in Florida? How can a West Palm Beach probate lawyer help you to prove that a will is invalid? 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 are the Formalities Required for a Valid Will in Florida? Florida Statute 732.502 describes what formalities must be met for a will to be valid in Florida. A valid Florida will must 1) be in writing 2) be signed by the testator or another […]

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