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Tag: #floridatrustee

Does a Trustee Own the Property?

FAQs Apr 14, 2021
post about Does a Trustee Own the Property?

Trust beneficiaries have a lot of rights under Florida law. That’s because Florida Trustees owe a lot of duties to their beneficiaries. Sometimes, beneficiaries don’t trust their trustee. Sometimes, beneficiaries think the trustee is stealing from the trust. When they are not. There is often confusion about the trustee “owning” property. Let’s discuss and explain in Plain-English does a trustee own the property? We have previously commented on REMOVING a trustee, a trust SURCHARGE and also beneficiary RIGHTS. Now, let’s focus on ownership of trust property. Trust Property + Bank Accounts A trustee holds “legal” title to trust property. That has also been described as “record” title. Usually in the context of trust owned real estate. But who really owns trust property? The beneficiaries may think that they do. And of course, the trustee is the one in charge. A trustee is the record owner. Her name should appear on any deeds to trust-owned real estate. And Bank Accounts or financial accounts. It’s proper to identify the title of “trustee,” and to identify the trust by its name and date, in the title on the account, or the deed. An example of this is: “Jane Smith, IV, Trustee of the Emma Smith Trust, dated October 1, 1967.” That tells the world that the trustee does not own the bank account or real estate individually or personally. Sometimes, new beneficiaries freak out. “The trustee is putting her name on the deed!” they complain. Or, ” The trustee is taking the bank […]

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Is a Trust Accounting Order Appealable?

FAQs Apr 4, 2021
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Trust beneficiaries want to know their rights. How much do they get from the trust? And trustees have an obligation to give their beneficiaries relevant information and annual accountings. So, what if a Florida Probate Judge orders the trustee to complete an accounting? What if the trustee does not want to do that right away? Is a trust accounting order appealable right now? A March 31, 2021 appellate opinion from Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal sheds light on trust appeals. We have previously provided solid, insightful Trust Law Commentary on BENEFICIARY RIGHTS, Removing a Florida Trustee, and even Suspending a Florida Trustee. Florida Trust Code Whether or not you can appeal a trust case order depends on two things. First, you need to understand Florida Trust Law. Florida Trust Law is found in the Florida Trust Code at Chapter 736. To watch some great FREE TRUST VIDEOS on beneficiary rights and getting information about your trust, CLICK HERE. The other thing you need to understand is the Florida Appellate Rules. Read the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure. Focus on Fla. R. App. Proc. 9.170. That appellate rule creates opportunities and potential pitfalls. Some trust orders must be appealed within 30 days or you lose your right to have them reviewed later. If you miss the deadline, then the order you don’t like becomes a final, non-appealable order. But understanding whether or not you can appeal now can be less than clear. Florida Trust Accounting Appealable Now? In this March […]

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Florida Trust Contest

What We Do Mar 28, 2021
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Are you involved in a Florida Trust Contest? Do you know how to set aside a Trust Document in Florida? Successor Trustees of a living trust are a “necessary” or “indispensable” party to a Trust Contest. Most family members or beneficiaries who got short-changed want to know what their rights are. If you are a beneficiary who was cut out, here are some things to understand. But first. If you would like to see a FREE TRUST CONTEST VIDEO, then CLICK THIS LINK. Trust Code in Florida Chapter 736 of the Florida Statutes is the Florida Trust Code. There is a specific Florida Trust Law on Trust Contests. You can read Fla. Stat. 736.0207 by CLICKING HERE. If you would like to read the entire Florida Trust Code, Chapter 736, CLICK HERE. We have previously discussed how to “go on the offense” for your Probate Case. While we won’t discuss strategy in this commentary, strategy is important. “But” says John Pankauski, “you first need to know the trust document and trust law cold.” How To Try a Trust Contest Case Remember that a challenge to a Florida trust is begun by filing a lawsuit. Why? Because Florida Trust Law 736.0201 says so. And, “Remember” says Trust Litigation Lawyer John Pankauski “that means you have a trial on your hands.” Pankauski knows a lot about Florida Trust Contests and Trust Trials. Just last November, he and his team of expert trust litigators & trust appeals attorneys had a week long Trust […]

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What is Florida Trustee Discretion?

FAQs Mar 27, 2021
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Billions of dollars are in Florida trusts. And most trustees have the discretion to give beneficiaries money — or not ! What is Florida Trustee Discretion? We have previously provided commentary on Florida Trustee Breach of Fiduciary Duty. Now let’s consider the power of a trustee to exercise its discretion to give you trust money. Florida Trust Code Chapter 736 of the Florida Statutes is the Florida Trust Code. It tells you all about the law of trusts in Florida. This law also speaks about a trustee’s discretion. “There are two important things for any beneficiary to read” says trust litigator John Pankauski, author of Pankauski’s Trustee’s Guide– 10 Steps to Family Trustee Excellence. “One is the trust document itself. The other is the Trust Code.” Specifically, Pankauski says to read Florida Trust Law 736.0814. This trust law talks about a trustee’s discretionary powers. Pankauski knows a thing or two about trust lawsuits. His firm of expert litigators and appellate lawyers restrict their practice to litigation and appeals of trusts and estates. “A lot of out of state trust beneficiaries need assistance reading the trust document” says Pankauski. “And understand whether their Florida Trustee acted properly.” We have previously provided commentary about SUSPENDING your trustee vs. REMOVING your trustee. Now, let’s focus on Florida Trustee Discretion. Appealing Trustee Discretion What are the rules if you don’t like a trustee’s decision? Let’s say that the trust document says the trustee may distribute money to you for health, education, maintenance and support. […]

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Suing a Trustee Individually and as Trustee of a Miami Trust

Uncategorized Nov 21, 2020
post about Suing a Trustee Individually and as Trustee of a Miami Trust

Are you suing a trustee individually? Can you even do that? Most trust beneficiaries want to know what their rights are when a trustee behaves badly. We have previously written about REMOVING A TRUSTEE and SUSPENDING A TRUSTEE. When should you sue a trustee both individually and as trustee of a trust in Florida? Suing a person who happens to be serving as a trustee is different than suing that person in his or her capacity as trustee. If a Florida Probate Court surcharges your trustee or finds there are damages, that trustee may have to pay personally and not from trust funds. Florida Trustee Duties Under the Florida Trust Code, a trustee has the following duties: Duty to Administer the Trust in good faith and accordance with its purposes and the Florida trust code. Duty of Loyalty. A trustee cannot engage in self dealing for its own advantage of profit, it must be loyal to the trust and beneficiaries. The trustee violates the duty of loyalty any time a transaction is entered for the trustee’s own advantage or benefit. These are general voidable by the court.  Duty of Prudence. The trustee must administer the trust as a prudent person would after considering the purpose of the trust, its terms, what the circumstances of the trust and market are etc. The trustee also cannot incur unreasonable expenses. Duty of Special Skills means that a trustee with special skills will be held responsible to utilize those skills. For example, if a person serves as a trustee who is a lawyer or accountant, that person […]

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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.  Mr. Pankauski literally wrote the book on trusts. You can purchase his Pankauski’s Trustees’ Guide on Amazon. 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.

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Pankauski’s Trustee’s Guide: Featured in USA Today

Uncategorized Oct 25, 2016

West Palm Beach probate litigator, John Pankauski,  is the author of Pankauski’s Trustee’s Guide: 10 Steps to Family Trustee Excellence. If you are a trustee or a beneficiary of a family trust, you need this book. Palm Beach trust litigator John Pankauski- the attorney who the attorneys hire- gives you the inside scoop on what it means to be a trustee and what you need to know if you are involved with a Florida family trust.

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5 Things You Need to Know About Removing a Trustee

Uncategorized Dec 12, 2014
post about 5 Things You Need to Know About Removing a Trustee

Are you the beneficiary of a Palm Beach trust? I can’t tell you how many calls I get at our West Palm Beach probate litigation law firm.  (We have added new and updated material on removing a Florida trustee.)  Trust beneficiaries are upset with their trustee. “I want to remove my trustee!” they complain. Here are five things a trust beneficiary needs to know now about trying to remove a trustee of a Palm Beach trust.

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