48 episodes

West Palm Beach attorney John Pankauski breaks down legal topics relating to Probate & Estate Litigation in Florida

Pankauski Hauser P.L.L.C. John Pankauski

    • Education

West Palm Beach attorney John Pankauski breaks down legal topics relating to Probate & Estate Litigation in Florida

    • video
    How to Revoke a Florida Revocable Trust

    How to Revoke a Florida Revocable Trust

    How to revoke a Florida revocable trust? You know, everybody in Florida has a revocable trust, also called living trust. And sometimes you'll see amendments to those trusts or restatements. Are they valid and under what circumstances? And when did that amendment or restatement of the Florida trust take place? Well, there's a statute right on point that tells us all about how to amend a revocable trust in Florida. It's 736.0602 you can read it online for free. But remember, there's a catch. The effective date of the Florida trust code is July 1st of 2007. Be careful about trust amendments and trust restatements prior to 2007 July 1st. You need to know what law to apply if you're discussing the amendment of a revocable trust.

    • 46 sec
    • video
    Florida POAs and Financial Exploitation in Florida

    Florida POAs and Financial Exploitation in Florida

    Florida powers of attorney and financial exploitation of an elderly person in Florida. Did you know that there's a statute on-point that helps an elderly person and their family from financial exploitation, from powers of attorney, trustees, and guardians? Know what your financial rights are!

    This specific statute talks all about powers of attorney. If you're involved in a case where a power of attorney has been abused in Florida and somebody has taken money or misappropriated funds or bank accounts, know what your financial rights are and talk to an experienced litigation lawyer who handles financial crimes against elderly persons. You can also read a very specific statute 825.103.

    • 49 sec
    • video
    Financial Exploitation of an Elderly Person in Florida

    Financial Exploitation of an Elderly Person in Florida

    Financial exploitation of an elderly person in Florida. Why trustees and guardians need to be aware? And why family members need to be aware about a civil remedy.

    That's right. If you're a family member and your elderly mom or dad has been financially abused or exploited by somebody, there's a civil cause of action that you can have against the wrongdoer. And that can include trustees and guardians.

    Read 825.103. It's a Florida law directly on-point, trying to protect our elderly persons in Florida from financial exploitation. And it specifically talks about breach of fiduciary duty. So if you're involved in a trust with a trustee or a guardian with an elderly person, know your financial rights.

    • 48 sec
    • video
    Determining Damages in Your Florida Lawsuit

    Determining Damages in Your Florida Lawsuit

    Calculating damages in your Florida lawsuit. Are you involved in a trust or estate lawsuit? You need to prove damages at your trial. Whether it's a jury trial or a bench trial, you're in probate court or you're not in probate court, you need to know how to calculate damages. That's the last element of a cause of action. If you're successful, you've got to prove it. Sometimes you can do it through documents or testimony. Sometimes you bring in an expert to help you with damages.

    To read more about how to calculate damages in your Florida estate or trust lawsuit, you could read a Fourth District Court of Appeal case from 2018, 237 So. 3d 419, DFG Group versus Heritage Manor. It's not a trust case but it does stand for the proposition of understanding how damages are reviewed on appeal, as well as the goal of damages.

    And the Fourth District tells us that the goal of damages, at least in a tort action -- and remember, breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit in Florida is a tort action, is to restore the injured party to the position it would have been in, had the wrong not been committed.

    That's an important element that you need to talk to your probate litigation lawyer about, how you're going to prove damages at your estate trial or your trust trial, and then how you're going to get that evidence into the record. And then knowing also in addition how to calculate damages, knowing how to calculate interest on those damages.

    • 1 min
    • video
    Calculation of Damages and Civil Theft Lawsuits in Florida

    Calculation of Damages and Civil Theft Lawsuits in Florida

    Civil theft lawsuits and the calculation of damages. In 2019, a Palm Beach County judge was upheld on appeal before Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal in how he calculated interest on a civil theft statute. We got treble damages. This is the law in Florida. When you're calculating interest that you get on civil theft, if you prevail at trial and you get treble damages, do you know how to calculate interest?

    There's an older case that also tells us how to calculate interest on your damages when you win a civil theft lawsuit in Florida. It's the Sebastiano case, it's from 2008. It's Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal 984 So. 2d 673.

    Remember, calculating interest on your Florida trust lawsuit or estate lawsuit or a civil theft lawsuit is an important element. Just like you need to calculate attorney's fees properly, know how to plead and get attorney's fees, know how to prove your damages at your jury trial and know how to calculate interest.

    • 1 min
    • video
    Civil Theft in Florida, Treble Damages and Interest Calculation

    Civil Theft in Florida, Treble Damages and Interest Calculation

    In Florida, we have a civil theft statute that gets you treble damages or three times the amount of damages, plus you get interest. A recent case tells you how to calculate that interest. You calculate the interest on the damage, not the treble damages.

    You can read more about civil theft in Florida lawsuits by reading AVP Destiny LLC v. FT Destiny LLC. It was issued April 10th, 2019 by the Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal. The trial judge was upheld on appeal from Palm Beach County. This deals with civil theft.

    Why does civil theft matter? If you’re involved in an estate or trust lawsuit and you’re dealing with trustees who are breaching their duties very badly, or defalcations - what our Appellate Courts call when trustees are taking trust property improperly - you might want to seek civil theft if it rises to that level.

    But to learn more about civil theft or whether punitive damages is or are proper, you can’t get both, talk to your trust litigation lawyer and work out a trial strategy for your trust lawsuit.

    • 1 min

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