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Dismissal of Your Florida Lawsuit and a Motion to Set Aside the Judgment

Uncategorized Jul 15, 2019

Are you involved in a Florida lawsuit and one side has dismissed the case with prejudice, a dismissal with prejudice in your Florida lawsuit. That typically makes that matter final. That’s a final order when there’s an order on dismissal with prejudice in your Florida lawsuit. But read the Lanson case. The Lanson case is a Third District Court of Appeal case from March 6th 2019. Why is that important? Because you can try to set aside a judgment under the Florida rules of Civil Procedure 1.540 (b) as in boy, and this particular case, the Lanson case, talks about the finality of an order of a dismissal with prejudice versus trying to set aside that order and how this really doesn’t affect that.

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Can Your Lawyer be Forced to Testify as a Witness in Your Florida Probate Case?

Uncategorized Jul 13, 2019

There is a recent Fourth District Court of Appeal opinion that was just handed down on March 6th 2019 about lawyer as witness. Generally, lawyers are not witnesses in a Florida lawsuit, they’re advocates, they’re actually prohibited from doing that. And one side can’t get the other side’s communications with their lawyer or what the lawyer tells other people, that’s typically privilege. If you want to read more about this case, read the Bellezza case. This is a March 6th opinion from Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal. You can read that opinion for free by going to the Fourth District Court of Appeal website, clicking on Opinions and scrolling down to the date and looking up the Bellezza case.

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President Trump’s National Emergency about Building the Wall. What’s the Florida connection?

Uncategorized Jul 12, 2019

Well the short answer is not much, other than, President Trump vacations at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, just a short drive from the downtown West Palm Beach State Courthouse and the Federal Courthouse which is also located in downtown West Palm Beach. But, if you look at the complaints that were filed against the President for his decision to call a national emergency regarding the border, the immigration issue and the building of the wall, you’ll see that they framed it seeking declaratory relief or a declaratory judgment. That’s no different than what probate litigation lawyers and estate lawyers, trust lawyers do every single day here in the state of Florida. Many times we’re asking for declaratory relief or a declaratory judgment as to what a trust or a will says or who inherits. Declaratory relief, you can have it at the State Court, you can have it at the Federal Court, for federal issues or for Florida probates.

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Probating Wills and How They Work With Trusts in Florida

Uncategorized Jul 12, 2019

Are you the beneficiary of an estate? Well, it’s easier to say than done sometimes. Many times beneficiaries and family members of a Florida probate don’t understand how a revocable or a living trust works with the will. Two of the things that you need to keep in mind is that you can have an estate as well as a trust and they are two separate entities, almost like two separate corporations. You have a will that’s probated in the estate proceeding and that can leave usually personal property to beneficiaries, and they will dispose of any property that’s in the descendant’s individual name. Many times there is a pour-over will that leaves everything to the trustee of the descendants, revocable or living trust which is now irrevocable, because the descendant has passed away and that trust has terms leaving the assets to certain beneficiaries. This trust has a trustee, has a trust document, that’s different than the Estate, which has a will document and has a personal representative, what other states call ‘an executor’ or an ‘administrator’. Understanding the difference between a trust, and a will, and an estate, and then a trust and a trustee and a personal representative will help you, family members, and beneficiaries and surviving spouses better understand your rights and how to get your inheritance.

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What Constitutes Stalking in Florida

Uncategorized Jul 12, 2019

There was a recent appellate opinion on what constitutes stalking in Florida. It was in the context of a Family Law or divorce case in Florida. To read more about stalking in Florida you can read the McCaffrey v. Ashley case. It’s a Fifth District Court of Appeal case, issued February 22nd 2019. The Appeals Court, in a very short opinion, goes into why or when are you entitled to an injunction for stalking, talks about two incidences, and then it explains that you can read all about this and you can read the appellate opinion free of charge by going to the Fifth District Court of Appeal website, clicking on Opinion, scrolling down through the date and looking for this case.

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How do Florida Courts define Fraud on the court?

Uncategorized Jul 12, 2019

Are you involved in a Florida probate, estate or trust and you’re convinced that somebody is lying? Be careful, fraud on the court is a very serious accusation that judges take very seriously and they look it very very carefully. Now, if you can demonstrate that there was fraud on the court that will help the judge decide the case and maybe even sanction the bad party. Judges don’t like to do this because they want everybody playing by the rules, but regardless, from time to time it does happen. Now, how do you define fraud on the court and what’s the burden to prove fraud on the court? You can read about that in the Stein case. It’s a February 20th 2019 Fourth District Court of Appeal appellate opinion issued by the Appeals Court for Palm Beach, and what it does demonstrate to you is that you have to prove that some party implemented some type of deliberate scheme, calculated to subvert the judiciary or the judicial process.

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Why Should I Have a Florida Will?

Uncategorized Jul 12, 2019
post about Why Should I Have a Florida Will?

In Florida, if you die without a will, you are dying intestate. This means that your wealth will pass to your heirs. Who are heirs? If you have a spouse and children, they will probably inherit. However, sometimes the people who Florida Law considers to be heirs are not the people you want to inherit from you. According to a February 8,2017 New York Times article, only 42% of American adults have a will.  However, Florida probate lawyers know that getting a will drafted by an estate planning lawyer can be a simple and affordable process.

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Probate Litigation: Beneficiaries v. Personal Representative

Uncategorized Jul 10, 2019
post about Probate Litigation: Beneficiaries v. Personal Representative

West Palm Beach probate litigators frequently encounter inheritance cases where the beneficiaries of a Florida estate sue the personal representative of the estate. Usually, these inheritance lawsuits are even between family members. What are these disputes over? What types of issues do trust and estates lawyers frequently encounter? When do you need to hire a Florida probate lawyer? What do you do if a personal representative or executor is being bad? What rights do you have as a beneficiary? Is there an estate issue worth suing over in your Florida probate matter? A January 9,2019 Fourth DCA opinion is a good example of a lawsuit between a Florida personal representative and the beneficiaries.

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Marriage and Florida Guardianships

Uncategorized Jul 10, 2019
post about Marriage and Florida Guardianships

If I am subject to a guardianship in West Palm Beach, can I still get married? What is an adult guardianship? What should your guardianship lawyer know about the right to marry and guardianship litigation? What is Florida Statute, Section 744.3215? You may want to read, Smith v. Smith, a March 2, 2016 Fourth District Court of Appeal opinion. Florida Guardianships Probate lawyers know that, when we talk about guardianships in Florida, we’re not talking about guardians for minors. Instead, we are talking about guardianships for adults. Adults may be subject to a guardianship if they become incapacitated and unable to care for themselves. Oftentimes, family members file for a guardianship over a loved one in order to ensure that the loved one is being properly cared for. A Florida guardianship proceeding is initiated by the filing of a petition with a probate court. This petition explains that the person you are seeking a guardian for is incapacitated and needs some protection, or rights taken away. There is then a process to determine whether the person is incapacitated. The court also considers whether there is a lesser restrictive alternative to a guardianship that adequately addresses the person’s needs. For example, if a person has a power of attorney and a revocable trust, he or she may not need a guardian. Florida Guardianship Litigation At Pankauski Hauser, guardianship matters have become a very large part of our probate practice. This is because guardianship litigation in Florida is becoming more and more frequent. Guardianship litigation […]

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