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Hollywood theatrics have most people convinced there is some type of formal “reading of the will” in which all concerned parties gather around the desk of a wills and trust attorney’s desk to hear what each has been bequeathed.Fort Lauderdale wills and trusts lawyer

In reality, there isn’t any legal mandate requiring said records to be read aloud. Rather, what happens is a Florida wills and trusts attorney will review these records to ascertain who is entitled by law to receive a copy of the trust – and who probably should be sent a copy even if state law doesn’t require it.

Trusts aren’t considered public record, and thus trustees may deny a contesting party’s request to review certain records. However, that decision could be challenged in court, particularly when those documents are central to the basis of the will contest.

In plain English: If the named trustee refuses to produce copies of the will and documents pertaining to the trust, you can take it to a judge. Continue reading

Florida’s new texting-and-driving law holds the promise of potentially safer roads throughout the Sunshine State. After years of pushing by public safety advocates – first for the original state texting-and-driving law and then to amend that law to make it a primary offense – Florida has a brand new distracted driving statute.distracted driving accident lawyer

The new measure, which went into effect July 1st, allows police to initiate traffic stops on the sole basis of observing a driver who is texting. Previously, law enforcement could only issue citations for texting-and-driving if the driver was stopped on the basis of another suspected offense.

Although this move is to be commended, Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers recognize Florida is among the last states to take this action. Continue reading

After several attempts to upload electronic wills in Florida, a measure approving them has passed and will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.electronic will lawyer

HB 409 amended numerous sections of the state probate code pertaining to wills.  Florida’s e-will law:

  • Redefines the term “will” to conform to the changes made in the act;
  • Exempts e-wills from provisions that govern revocation of wills and codicils;
  • Lays out the manner by which e-wills and codicils can be revoked;
  • Defining e-wills and establishing how it has to be executed;
  • Outlining the requirements and duties necessary to serving as a qualified custodian of an electronic will.

Undoubtedly, there will be concerns about vulnerable adults, and it will be imperative for Floridians to contact an experienced probate litigation attorney regarding their rights and responsibilities where electronic wills are concerned. Continue reading

Plaintiffs in trucking crash accidents should be allowed access to the data in onboard electronic monitoring devices.truck accident lawyer

A federal judge has ordered the defendant in a Florida trucking accident lawsuit to turn over the electronic control module (ECM) data on the freight company vehicle involved in a crash that resulted in serious injury to the other driver.

The trucking company admitted fault/liability for the crash, but the question is how much defendant should pay to compensate the victim. As our Fort Lauderdale truck accident attorneys can explain, the question of victim compensation – formally referred to as “damages,” is often an issue of sharp contention in injury litigation and often the only reason some cases go to trial.

This Florida trucking crash lawsuit is noteworthy for the fact that federal safety regulations now require electronic data monitoring devices in large trucks to ensure compliance of hours-of-service regulations from the U.S. Department of Transportation, designed to prevent truckers from driving fatigued. Continue reading

A woman is suing Disney World in Orlando, alleging she suffered a traumatic brain injury when a wild, migratory bird suddenly attacked her – a danger about which she says the theme park failed to warn. injury lawyer

What duty – if any – do Florida theme parks and other property owners have to guests? The answer is under state premises liability law and precedent, it falls on a spectrum, with relevant factors including:

  • The injured person’s purpose for being on the site;

The Florida Supreme Court just raised the bar on allowable scientific evidence with its nixing of the longstanding Frye test in favor of the more rigid Daubert, the latter followed by federal courts as well as those in most other states. This will mean additional hurdles, expense and time delays for plaintiffs in Florida injury lawsuits – particularly in cases of medical malpractice and product liability, which either require and/or rely heavily on expert witness testimony.Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer

Last month’s divided ruling of In re: Amendments to the Florida Evidence Codecame as something of a shock to courts and South Florida injury attorneys, given that the state high court had ruled on this very matter in October – and came down firmly on the other side. Justices in the majority cited serious constitutional concerns and procedural issues.

Now, the majority has ruled those “grave concerns” for constitutional rights and procedure were “unfounded.”

Teenagers are some of the highest-risk drivers on Florida roads. Large trucks are among the most lethal vehicles. Yet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is floating the idea of a potential pilot program that would give 18-to-20-years-old the keys to big rigs. Fort Lauderdale truck accident attorney

As it stands, federal regulation limits allowances on interstate commercial vehicle operation to those over 21. But last month, the FMCSA announced it was seeking public comment on an initiative to address the commercial truck driver shortage by on-boarding teenage truckers.

Truck accident attorneys understand this was expand an existing pilot program that allows some 200 youths 18-to-20 to operate interstate commercial trucks – but only if they have military training. This expanded version would extend to teens without any formal military training could soon be commandeering 80,000-pound machines, for the purpose of revving up the trucking industry that is experiencing a driver shortage.

Federal regulators are asking for all public input from all stakeholders. They’re bracing for a flood, with big business trucking industry advocates on one side and independent owner-operators, safety groups, railroads and unions on the other. Some have already taken their message to the media, arguing the discussion should be about moving the minimum driving age for truckers up – not down. Even with military training, there is concern it would not be enough to combat inherent youthful immaturity, particularly among males, who are most likely to apply. Continue reading

A dispute between aunt-nephew over the validity of their father-grandfather’s half-signed will has resulted in a Florida appellate court ruling affirming state law mandating wills strictly adhere to all statutory requirements – or else they’ll likely be deemed invalid. The case underscores a point of critical importance when planning your estate: Have an estate planning lawyer help you. Otherwise, you may leave loved ones with little choice but to pursue probate litigation.probate litigation lawyer

There are a lot of areas of state law that allow a fair amount of judicial discretion. Florida will execution is one area where judges don’t have a lot of wiggle room.

Wills that do not strictly comply with Fla. Stat. § 732.502(1) or other provisions of that statute will likely be deemed void. There has been ample case law on this issue because disputes have arisen on almost every detail:

  • “Can a will be signed with a mark rather than a signature?” (Yes.)
  • “Does the testator’s signature need to be on every single page of the will?” (No.)
  • “Does it matter in which order the witnesses sign the will?” (No.)

Continue reading

This weekend, an estimated 43 million people in America are on the move for the three-day holiday weekend – 1.5 million more than were tallied last year.car accident attorney Miami

Memorial Day is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, and the Southeastern Florida shores of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach – are prime destinations for visitors flocking from every corner of the globe. Of those tens of millions of travelers, 88 percent are expected to drive, rather than fly or take a train.

To put it mildly, the roads are going to be more congested. Miami car accident lawyers at Ansara Law Personal Injury Attorneys know obviously anytime the number of vehicles on the roads increase, so too do the number of crashes. Continue reading

Florida’s new texting-and-driving law, in effect July 1st, broadens the circumstances under which police can initiate a traffic stop for texting drivers and increases the penalty for a violation.Broward bicycle accident attorney

If it’s well-enforced, it may also help in the goal of reducing Florida bicycle accident and pedestrian accident fatalities, which our Broward wrongful death attorneys have long known to be a serious problem.

Why Is Distracted Driving Such a Big Problem These Days?

The driving factor in the uptick of distracted motorist deaths is undeniably: Cellphones. The lure of constant connectivity has proven quite powerful, and many are still under the mistaken assumption people have the ability to multi-task (they don’t, not with high-level functions like reading, writing and driving).

Technically though, distraction can be anything that takes a driver’s full attention from the road. Examples include:

  • Turning to scold a child in the backseat
  • Personal grooming
  • Eating/drinking
  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Having an unsecured pet in the car
  • Adjusting music or other in-stereo dials

Still, Florida lawmakers shied away from expressly naming any of these in the new statute. As our Broward injury lawyers can explain, individuals who engage in these behaviors may or may not be cited for a traffic infraction if they cause a crash. From a civil case standpoint though, any of these could represent a breach of a driver’s duty of care, the foundation for establishing negligence compelling compensation.

The biggest change that will come from Florida’s new distracted driving law will be to bump it from a secondary to a primary offense. That means an officer’s observation or reasonable suspicion that a driver is texting behind the wheel will be cause  enough in its own right to prompt a traffic stop. Previously, police had to have another reason to initiate a traffic stop before they could also issue a citation for texting/driving.

Fines under the new law will still be $30 for a first-time offense, $60 for a second offense, etc. Additional fines are added when offenses take place in certain areas, like school zones.

Cyclists Face Out-Sized Injury Risk From Distracted Drivers

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