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Florida Inheritance and Probate Disputes — can someone born after you die inherit?

Uncategorized Oct 7, 2013

Can someone you’ve never met before inherit?  Can a child you never planned for and who is born after you die become a trust beneficiary?  In Florida, probate litigators are used to dealing with second and third spouses, children from a prior relationship, sibling rivalry, and disgruntled heirs.  Now, Florida probate attorneys and estate administrators are dealing with the collision of the law and science.

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Proving Your Florida Estate Dispute: when can a party avoid a deposition

Uncategorized Oct 4, 2013

Florida probate attorneys involved in litigation of wills, trusts and estates know the importance of the discovery process.  Trial lawyers, after all, must find out the facts and then have a judge apply the law to those facts.  Discovery is the fact-finding part of probate litigation.   What were the facts and circumstances surrounding the signing of a will?  Why was the trust amended to dis-inherit someone?  What was mom’s mental state when she made a gift of $1,000,000:  did she have mental capacity?  Was there undue influence when Dad left his estate under his will to a girlfriend he only knew for a year? 

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Heirs, Family and a Minor Child Versus the Girlfriend: who inherits in this Florida estate dispute?

Uncategorized Oct 3, 2013

Florida probate lawyers are often involved in family inheritance “fights” or disputes.   Florida probate litigators argue and advocate on behalf of people who may be related by blood or money.   There are often times disagreements and disputes and trials in Florida probate matters and Florida estates.   Who should win in a Florida estate dispute:  the dead person’s girlfriend or his minor child? 

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Handwritten (holographic) Wills in Florida: are they valid?

Uncategorized Oct 3, 2013

Is a handwritten will which is valid in another state valid in Florida?   A recent case has asked the Florida Supreme Court to weigh in on this.  Florida wills must be in writing and signed at the end of the will by the person making the will, in the presence of two witnesses who likewise sign the will.   The will must be typewritten, or, what others may now call, computer-generated. In other words, Florida courts do not recognize handwritten wills. 

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Florida Guardianship law: when the guardian sues the ward’s attorneys

Uncategorized Oct 2, 2013

In Florida, guardianship cases have exploded.  Increasingly, more and more probate attorneys and trust and estate attorneys are dealing with guardianship matters.  Will a court “take away” important civil and human rights of a person who is alleged to be incapacitated?  Will a court appoint someone to manage the property of the person?  Or is there a valid power of attorney, health care directive or surrogate, or revocable trust (living trust) to manage the person’s finances?

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Broward County: Pankauski to Address Broward Probate Attorneys on Ethics

Uncategorized Oct 2, 2013

South Florida probate litigator John Pankauski will speak today in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and address Broward County probate attorneys who prepare wills and trusts and who administer estates.  Pankauski, and Boston attorney Joe Bierwirth of Hemenway & Barnes, will present the following Florida law topic:  Ethics & Estate Planners, 10 Things to Preserve & Protect Your Practice.   The topic will include Florida probate matters, ethical challenges involved in wills, trusts, estates and guardianships, and how Massachusetts law differs. 

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Pankauski to Speak on Estate Planning, Probate & Ethics

Uncategorized Oct 1, 2013

West Palm Beach, FL probate litigator John Pankauski and Joseph Bierwirth will speak today at 12:00 noon at the South County Courthouse, Delray Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida.  Their topic is:  10 Things Estate Planners & Probate Attorneys Need to do to Improve & Protect Their Practice. 

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Florida Powers of Attorney and Self Dealing–when the power holder goes too far

Uncategorized Sep 30, 2013

In Florida, all you ever wanted to know, just about, of powers of attorney is contained in Chapter 709 of Florida Statutes.   Florida probate attorneys know that this chapter was “re-created” last year and that this past legislative session saw some slight changes to the POA statute.   Now, there are so-called “super powers” which a client may, or may not, grant to his or her attorney in fact.  Since a power of attorney in Florida is a fiduciary relationship, estate and trust attorneys, and guardianship attorneys, know that a fiduciary is prohibited from “self dealing.” 

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