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Florida Probate Blog

Category: General

Gainesville Wrongful Death Crash Lawyer

Written by on Jan 30, 2012| Posted in: General

Personal Injury Gainesville, Florida crashes:  Interstate 75 Alachua County.    In a series of overnight accidents in northern Florida, blamed on poor visibility from smoke from a nearby brush fire, authorities said at least ten people were killed in the crashes.  Most of the collisions were on Interstate 75, in Northern Florida according to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. Crashes also occurred on U.S. Highway 441 near Gainesville, Florida.  The National Weather Service in Jacksonville had issued a dense smoke advisory due to nearby fires which cut visibility to less than a mile. Car crashes, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, and other tragic events that form the basis of many personal injury lawsuits in Florida.  Where death is involved, they usually include the filing of a claim for damages resulting from the victim’s wrongful death against the negligent person.   Damages based upon wrongful death can include a wide variety of things, from seeking […]

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Florida Trust Decanting

Written by on Dec 29, 2011| Posted in: General

Florida Trust Decanting:  Phipps v. Palm Beach Trust Co., 196 So. 299 (Fla. 1940) and Florida Statute §736.04117 “Decanting” is the legal term used to describe the distribution of trust property from one trust to another trust pursuant to the trustee’s discretionary authority to make distributions to or for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries.  Common law provides authority for trust decanting, but several states – including Florida – have codified the common law.  Florida Statute §736.04117 became effective on July 1, 2007. Under common law, a trustee with absolute power to invade principal is the equivalent of a donee of a special power of appointment.  Restatement (Second) of Prop.: Donative Transfers §11.1  Absent a contrary provision in the governing document, a donee of a power of appointment may exercise such power in a manner which is less extensive than authorized by the instrument creating the power.  Thus, “the […]

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German Wills in Florida

Written by on Dec 7, 2011| Posted in: General

Recognition of a German Will in the USA (formal validity) by Jan-Hendrick Frank, Esq. This article provides an introduction to the recognition of German Wills in Florida. German Wills:  Formal requirement under German law Under the German Civil Code (“BGB”), the testator can choose between two forms of traditional wills (§2231 BGB): 1) The public or notarized will (§2232 BGB), and 2) the holographic or handwritten will (§2247 BGB). Witnesses are not required for the validity of a holographic or notarized will under German law. Unlike the U.S., witnessed wills are uncommon in Germany.   State of Florida According to 732.502 (2), Fla.Stat., a will must be in writing, signed by the testator and authenticated by two witnesses. A holographic will is without force or effect under Florida law. There is no regulation with regards to foreign wills. However, if the decedent died domiciled in Germany, it may be valid under the applicable […]

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What is the best way to find a good probate lawyer?

Written by on Dec 1, 2011| Posted in: General

Here are some tips to locate a good probate lawyer in Florida: Look at the experience level of the attorney. Does the lawyer focus their area of legal practice to probate, trusts and estates? Review the information on the firm’s Web site.  Does the information look relevant and focused? Ask for referrals…especially former clients. Contact The Florida Bar to confirm the lawyer is in good standing. Investigate whether the law firm has good infrastructure.  Ask about support staff, technology, billing practices and procedures for attorney/client communication.

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Palm Beach County Probate Attorney

Written by on Oct 27, 2011| Posted in: General

Palm Beach County Probate Attorney The lawyers of Adrian Philip Thomas, P.A. represent clients throughout the State of Florida, including Palm Beach County, Florida.  Palm Beach County, Florida is the largest county in the state of Florida in total area and third in population. As of 2010, the county’s estimated population was 1,320,134.  Palm Beach County is one of three counties comprising the South Florida metropolitan area. Its largest city and county seat is West Palm Beach.  Boca Raton is the second largest, having a population approaching 90,000 and Boynton Beach is the third largest city, with a population nearing 70,000 residents. With a large retirement population and wealthy coastal towns such as Palm Beach, Jupiter, Manalapan, and Boca Raton all within the Palm Beach County limits, it is Florida’s wealthiest county which makes it a haven for exploitation of the elderly, undue influence and fraudulent last will and testament cases. If you are […]

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Florida Elder Abuse Attorney

Written by on Sep 30, 2011| Posted in: General

Florida Elder Abuse Attorney An elder abuse attorney in Florida can mean many different things.  An elder abuse lawyer can refer to an elderly person being harmed in a nursing home or an elder abuse lawyer can mean a probate lawyer who is hired after or before death to correct an injustice done to an elderly citizen.  Our law firm receives inquires asking us to represent relatives who believed their love ones were financially exploited and they refer to this financial abuse as elder abuse.  Probate disputes perhaps always involve an old person being taken advantage of – the issue is whether a skilled probate lawyer can get the evidence to prove the financial exploitation.

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Florida Power of Attorney

Written by on Sep 29, 2011| Posted in: General

THE POWERS AND LIMITATIONS OF POWERS OF ATTORNEY, AND CHANGES TO FLORIDA STATUTE 709 AS OF OCTOBER 1, 2011:  PART I. Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.  Abraham Lincoln Recent legislation has conformed Florida’s Power of Attorney Statute 709 to the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, with certain modifications, in an attempt to achieve greater consistency among the 50 states and Washington D.C.  On May 4, 2011, the Florida legislature passed Senate Bill 670, on June 21, 2011 the Florida Power of Attorney Act was signed into law by Governor Scott, and it became effective October 1, 2011.  Florida Statute 709 applies to powers created by individuals (with four exceptions), and does not apply to powers created by entities or corporations.  Florida Statute 709 applies to all Powers of Attorney used in Florida and governed by Florida law.  […]

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Abuse of the Elderly

Written by on Aug 24, 2011| Posted in: General

Elder Law – Abuse of the Elderly In the context of trust and estate litigation, clients occasionally believe the conduct of others rises to the level of criminal liability.  While filing a lawsuit for breach of fiduciary duty or undue influence can help the client collect money, there are times that a client believes that getting money is insufficient.  Short of requesting charges be filed by the police or State Attorney, there is a Florida law that is commonly referred to as the abuse of the elderly statute that goes beyond the traditional recovery of money when a senior adult is abused. The elder abuse statute (Florida Statute §415.1111) allows for the prosecution of abuse, neglect or exploitation on behalf of a vulnerable adult against any perpetrator.  Such an action pursuant to the statute must be brought by the vulnerable adult, that person’s guardian, by a person or organization acting […]

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Florida Power of Attorney

Written by on Aug 16, 2011| Posted in: General

THE POWERS AND LIMITATIONS OF POWERS OF ATTORNEY With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.  Voltaire There are important differences between standard powers of attorney and durable powers of attorney but each document is ripe for being abused.  A standard power of attorney document provides the authority for another person  (the agent or attorney-in-fact) to make decisions and take actions on the principal’s behalf when the principal is unable to do so for himself or herself.  In the event the principal becomes physically incapacitated, and not able to pay bills or banking transactions or the principal plans to travel and needs to have documents signed while away, then the ordinary or standard power of attorney document would authorize the principal’s chosen agent or attorney-in-fact to execute documents, receive and pay bills and make banking transactions on the principal’s behalf.  A standard power of attorney would become invalid if the principal became […]

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Wills and Probate: Selecting a Good Probate Lawyer

Written by on Jul 26, 2011| Posted in: General

If you need a good probate lawyer, it’s because someone has died and either the estate needs to be administered or there is a dispute over a last will or a fight over a share or portion of the estate.  While there is no guarantee that the lawyer you are hiring is “good,”one method of increasing the odds of hiring a competent probate attorney to check whether your lawyer has a Martindale Hubble rating that is at an acceptable level to you. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings reflect a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating. For lawyers rated with the changed methodology the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings will reflect the following: General Ethical Standards Rating. The General Ethical Standards rating denotes adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence and other criteria relevant to the discharge of professional responsibilities.   […]

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