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Saturday, 02 June 2018 15:50

1944 D-Day

Although the term D-Day is used routinely as military lingo for the day an operation or event will take place, for many it is also synonymous with June 6, 1944, the day the Allied powers crossed the English Channel and landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, beginning the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi control during World War II. Within three months, the northern part of France would be freed and the invasion force would be preparing to enter Germany, where they would meet up with Soviet forces moving in from the east.

With Hitler’s armies in control of most of mainland Europe, the Allies knew that a successful invasion of the continent was central to winning the war. Hitler knew this too, and was expecting an assault on northwestern Europe in the spring of 1944. He hoped to repel the Allies from the coast with a strong counterattack that would delay future invasion attempts, giving him time to throw the majority of his forces into defeating the Soviet Union in the east. Once that was accomplished, he believed an all-out victory would soon be his.

On the morning of June 5, 1944, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe gave the go-ahead for Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious military operation in history. On his orders, 6,000 landing craft, ships and other vessels carrying 176,000 troops began to leave England for the trip to France. That night, 822 aircraft filled with parachutists headed for drop zones in Normandy. An additional 13,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion.

By dawn on June 6, 18,000 parachutists were already on the ground; the land invasions began at 6:30 a.m. The British and Canadians overcame light opposition to capture Gold, Juno and Sword beaches; so did the Americans at Utah Beach. The task was much tougher at Omaha beach, however, where 2,000 troops were lost and it was only through the tenacity and quick-wittedness of troops on the ground that the objective was achieved. By day’s end, 155,000 Allied troops–Americans, British and Canadians–had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches.

For their part, the Germans suffered from confusion in the ranks and the absence of celebrated commander Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, who was away on leave. At first, Hitler, believing that the invasion was a feint designed to distract the Germans from a coming attack north of the Seine River, refused to release nearby divisions to join the counterattack and reinforcements had to be called from further afield, causing delays. He also hesitated in calling for armored divisions to help in the defense. In addition, the Germans were hampered by effective Allied air support, which took out many key bridges and forced the Germans to take long detours, as well as efficient Allied naval support, which helped protect advancing Allied troops.

Though it did not go off exactly as planned, as later claimed by British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery–for example, the Allies were able to land only fractions of the supplies and vehicles they had intended in France–D-Day was a decided success. By the end of June, the Allies had 850,000 men and 150,000 vehicles in Normandy and were poised to continue their march across Europe.

History.com

In the case of professor Stefan Halper, there’s none, and “spy” is a more fitting term.
As to the terminological distinctions between “spy” and “informant,” here is some basic background info for you. The FBI is charged with investigations within the United States and the CIA outside the United States. By law, the CIA cannot conduct investigations inside the U.S., on U.S. citizens.
The terms “spy,” “informant,” “undercover,” “source,” “operative,” and on and on are simply terms that are used to try to distinguish between a foreign, counterintelligence (CIA) investigation involving foreign people and domestic investigations ( FBI) involving U.S. Citizens.
We never called any subjects “spies” who gave us information; we generally called them “sources” and “informants.” Fact is, we were REQUIRED to have informants or be disciplined!
The CIA called/call their people all sorts of weird things; I guess they all wanted to be like James Bond; operators, spy, agent, double agent. Usually, the term “spy” was used in the context of foreign investigations.
The reason for all the care, concern, and technicality is because there are significant, and major differences regarding what investigations and investigative techniques are allowed and are not allowed regarding investigations of U.S. Citizens on U.S. soil. U.S. citizens are protected by our Constitution, federal and state laws, courts and even DOJ against violation of their rights, with special protection given from 4th Amendment, the right against unlawful Search and Seizure.
Having been involved, as an FBI Agent, in many criminal investigations involving all the types of warrant Applications from Title 3, to search, seizure, to arrest, to break and enter for survey preliminary to Title 3 wiretap (court ordered), for wiretaps of criminal US citizens, I can put some light on what I am certain happened and what needs to be investigated.
It is crystal clear to me and any Agent who has ever been involved in any Title 3 Applications, Affidavits, or other supporting Probable Cause (PC) documentation that these types of warrants are the most difficult of ALL search and seizure warrants to obtain. It is so time consuming that entire squads of Agents are involved in the preliminary process as well as the entire investigation. In most cases, substantial outside help (other squads or even other FBI Field Offices) are needed.
The courts and prosecutors are so concerned about having enough detailed, fully disclosed PC that we would send preliminary applications to headquarters 2 or 3 times for approval and by the time it looked like we’re going to get approved, the bad guys had moved or changed phones; we then had to start over. The caution was so cumbersome that we tried to avoid Title 3 wiretaps at all costs because they are just too damn hard to obtain, and so fraught with peril. If you dared to try to cut corners, the other Agents would cut your throat because we all were putting our necks on the line. You see, there are major Civil Penalties for denying someone their civil rights, three times the normal penalties (treble damages). So we all played Title 3’s by the book! These new young “Agents” led by James Comey, who signed off on the Carter Page warrants are about to learn a very big lesson about our Rule of Law (my opinion, and hope!).
Here is what I know for sure happened:  numerous, very high-ranking officials in Obama’s administration and probably Obama himself, intentionally, with malice, used and abused the FISA court system to obtain wiretaps on US Citizens where there was absolutely no PC to obtain legal Title 3 warrants! The court issued many warnings to the signors and increased the signatures necessary for warrants! They fabricated a Russian Foreign Counter Intelligence investigation using Carter Page and George Papadopoulos as their “in.” They deceived the FISA Courts (multiple times and several Judges), with information that would never pass muster in any Article III court in the U.S. With the Obama Administration and such high-ranking Obama administration Directors behind the case, I am certain the FISA judges felt intimidated into granting the applications.
So, Obama surrounded himself with people he apparently felt would fall on the knife for him and felt very comfortable that he and his band of thieves could get away with anything. Just look at the outrageous things these people did.
Here’s just a few: the Secretary of State ignores all the rules and uses her personal emails and offsite servers for all of her State Department business and for SAP, TOP SECRET transmissions. The Chinese and Russians knew EVERYTHING that idiot did. I wonder how many soldiers’ lives she’s responsible for.
This is the same person who bought the DNC 1 year before her nomination and thought nothing of receiving questions before debates. In fact she was outraged when a question she wasn’t aware of, was asked! So when “they” needed opposition research on Trump, she gladly supplied he PC they needed to force through a FISA warrant!
The DIRECTORS, “all of them”, of the FBI, CIA, NSA and Obama’s Susan Rice Chief Security Officer all lied, repeatedly before Congress and to you and me about everything and under oath.  UN Ambassador Samantha Powers unmasked hundreds of US citizen’s name when ALL US citizen’s names, picked up on FISA warrants, are supposed to be erased!
There is no doubt that the swamp took over the FISA court, our sacred Intelligence Agencies  and used them for Obama, Hillary and other left wing, pinko political ideals and personal gain.
Anybody who believes some old retired Judge or Attorney can unwind the web these bastards have weaved is nuts! It will take hardened, well experienced, tough investigators who won’t hesitate to put these people in their place, i.e. jail. It will take FBI Agents to do it and a lot of them. I sure hope that Mueller and Comey didn’t fill the entire ranks of the FBI with McCabes and Strzoks, because if they did, we are screwed.
The President simply must get next to some very knowledgeable old Agents and get some good advice.
J. Gary DiLaura
A 28 year veteran of the FBI, spent his career in Charleston, SC, New York City, and Buffalo, NY. He was active in the FBI's Violent Crimes Program, finishing his career as Bank Robbery Supervisor. He also worked White Collar Crime and some well known cases including the Oklahoma City Bombing & the Dustin Hoffman, Dog Day Afternoon Bank Robbery. He holds a degree in Engineering, and established and ran the FBI's Environmental Crimes Program for the Western District of NY. He received numerous Commendations from every FBI Director he worked for. After retiring from the FBI, he became a successful Construction Contractor/Businessman and a Conservative, OpEd Columnist, "The Right Side", for several publications including, the Niagara Falls Reporter and the Ft Myers, Sun bay Paper. Visit his website at therightsidejgarydilaura.com . 

Normally a Florida resident is free to dispose of his or her property through a will as they see fit. But there are special rules that apply to a person's primary residence or “homestead.” The Florida Constitution actually restricts the “devise”–or transfer by will–of a homestead if the owner has a surviving spouse or minor child. Instead, Florida law directs the surviving spouse shall have a “life estate” in the homestead, and upon his or her death the property shall go to the children. Alternatively, the surviving spouse can choose to take a one-half interest in the homestead outright, with the other half divided among the children.

Florida Legislature Clarifies Law Governing Waiver of Homestead Rights

Of course, Section 732.702 of the Florida Statutes provides that a spouse can “wholly or partly” waive homestead rights at any time. Such waiver must be done in writing in the presence of two witnesses. The waiver itself may take many forms, such as a clause in a prenuptial agreement or a separate contract signed after marriage.

The Florida Legislature recently added new language, to be codified as Section 732.7025, that further clarifies the law regarding waives. This new section, which takes effect July 1, states a spouse can waive his or her constitutional homestead rights by including the following language in a deed: By executing or joining this deed, I intend to waive homestead rights that would otherwise prevent my spouse from devising the homestead property described in this deed to someone other than me.

The Legislature's amendment was prompted by recent Florida court decisions addressing the subject of whether a spouse could waive homestead rights via a deed. A state Senate report said these court cases were “very fact-specific” and did not provide a “consistently clear” picture of “when a knowing and intelligent waiver has occurred.” By adopting a clear legislative standard, the Senate said it hoped to “reduce the expense of litigation, reduce court time dedicated to resolving these legal conflicts, and reduce the chance that a waiver in a deed is made by mistake or misunderstanding.”

Need Help Understanding the Homestead Exemption?

It should also be understood the new legislation is quite limited in scope. A spouse who waives their homestead rights for purposes of inheritance does not necessarily do so in other legal contexts. For instance, Florida's homestead exemption also protects a subject property against unsecured creditor claims. The new legislation makes it clear, however, that a waiver of inheritance rights does not affect the protection of the property against creditor claims.

Keep in mind this only applies to unsecured claims. A mortgage, deed or trust, or other creditor claim secured by homestead property is still enforceable regardless of any homestead rights a spouse may possess. And the homestead exemption only applies to “devises” that take effect at the time of the owner's death. A married person can still gift or sell their house during their lifetime without spousal consent, assuming they have sole ownership rights.

If you have any questions about how the new law may affect you, or if you want to know more about Florida's homestead rules, a qualified Fort Myers estate planning attorney can help. Call the Kuhn Law Firm, P.A., at 239-333-4529 to schedule a consultation with a member of our estate planning team today.

 

 

The Battle on the Blueway 2018 will be held June 9th, on the gulf side of Fort Myers Beach, FL.

This sanctioned WPA points event will feature two distance races (7 mile, 2 mile), a kids' and Special Olympic race, a demo day, vendors displaying paddle merchandise, and great raffles: 2 YOLO Beach bikes, a new paddle board to name a few.

We contacted Mike Hammond at ‘The Great Calusa Blueway’ about the event and he told us that the event is set up as a paddle board race but all “paddle” vessels are welcome to enter, they already have single outrigger canoes entered and kayaks as well.

Registration will begin at 7:30am and the first race: The Ron Jon Pro Race, a 7 mile race, will start at 9am, followed shortly thereafter by the 2 mile race. (actually a little less than 2 miles)
The race will start at Crescent Beach Park on Fort Myers Beach and head north past the pier, paddlers will turn around near the Best Western Hotel and head back to Crescent Beach Park, with the 7 mile pro competitors doing 4 laps.

Spectators can watch anywhere along the beach between the park and the hotel but a great place to watch the whole race will be on the pier.

The awards ceremony will be held at Crescent Beach Park following the pro race.

This event is part of the Fastest in Florida which consist of 8 SUP races in the state of Florida giving points to the top 5 finishers.

One of our local paddlers is leading in points for the women. Great job Cindy Welton Gibson and good luck!

This is a safe family oriented event that will have safety crews, the Fire Dept, and life guards on hand with a festival atmosphere that brings paddling and Florida's native wildlife and Calusa heritage together. Benefiting Lee County Special Olympics.

 

 

 

 

 

Over the centuries, many species of animal and plant life have been introduced to our local environment, some turned out to be beneficial, some....... not so much!

From the first medieval pigs abandoned in Florida in 1521 through the invasion of the lionfish, this presentation, held at The Fort Myers Regional Library, located at 1651 Lee St, Fort Myers, FL. 33901, looks at how escaped or introduced species have impacted the indigenous flora, fauna and sealife of the Sunshine State.

The presentation will take place on June 18th from 6:30 till 8pm.

With information derived from the award-winning The Living Gulf Coast - A Nature Guide to Southwest Florida, author Charles Sobczak takes a sobering look at everything from the Burmese python to Brazilian pepper. Other invasive species included in the presentation will be Australian pines, iguanas, starlings, Tilapia and nutria. Sobczak will discuss possible solutions and warn of other, even more harmful animals, that could impact Florida in the years to come.

Charles Sobczak, a local writer, lives on Sanibel Island, Florida. His first novel, Six Mornings on Sanibel, was originally published in 1999 and is currently in its seventh printing. In 2007 Sobczak turned his attention to non-fiction and published Alligators, Sharks & Panthers: Deadly Encounters with Florida’s Top Predator-Man. The book went on to win several awards and continues to sell well in academic circles. In 2010 he published a nature guide titled, Living Sanibel – A Nature Guide to Sanibel & Captiva Islands. The book quickly became the best-selling book on Sanibel and rose to #34 in nature guide sales on Amazon.com during the winter of 2011.

Sobczak has appeared on National Book TV and has lectured on various nature topics to the Road Scholar organization, Audubon and Sierra Club groups. In early 2017 he became a featured speaker on board the Celebrity Equinox. Excerpts from his books have appeared in multiple local publications.

Charles Sobczak

His second nature guide, The Living Gulf Coast – A Nature Guide to Southwest Florida, won the Gold Medal Presidents Award for the best work of Adult non-fiction, 2011, by the Florida Publisher’s Association.

The book covers all the birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians living within the six county region as well as 161 parks, preserves and eco-destinations where residents and visitors can discover these birds and animals in the wild.

This is a must attend event for locals that are concerned with invading species of yesterday, potential harmful invaders we are currently dealing with and those we need to be concerned about for tomorrow!

 

Thursday, 17 May 2018 14:26

Listen Up, NFL Commissioner

Two former National Football League cheerleaders who have filed discrimination complaints against the league have offered to settle            their claims. They don't want a lot of money or even an admission of guilt. All they are asking for is the chance to sit down for a four-hour meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. It's hard to see how the league could turn down the offer -- unless, of course, it's not really serious when it says its commitment to a fair and respectful work environment includes the women who cheer on the sidelines.

A settlement proposal crafted by the lawyer representing former New Orleans Saints cheerleader Bailey Davis and former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Kristan Ware offers to settle all their claims for just $1 each if Goodell agrees to meet them in "good faith." The purpose of the meeting, which would include two other yet-to-be selected cheerleaders, would be to negotiate leaguewide reforms of the outdated rules and regulations affecting cheerleaders. Implementation of change, though, would not be a condition. "I understand that they could meet with us, patronize us and do nothing in the end," the women's attorney, Sara Blackwell, told the New York Times. "But it's a risk we're willing to take to try to have real change."

Complaints filed by Davis with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Ware with the Florida Commission on Human Relations contend that the NFL maintains different standards for its male employees and its female ones. The cases -- notably that of Davis, who was fired after posting a photograph of herself in a lace bodysuit on her private Instagram account -- have brought new attention to the treatment of cheerleaders. A series of reports by the Times has detailed the indignities they face, including extremely low pay, long hours and sexual harassment -- sometimes physical -- from fans.

Most appalling was the account of some cheerleaders for the Washington football team of a 2013 trip to Costa Rica for a calendar photo shoot. They said they were posed topless or in body paint in front of an all-male audience of team sponsors and stadium suite holders. Some said they were later required to accompany sponsors to a nightclub. The director of the cheerleading squad disputed much of the account, and a statement from the team touted the program as "one of the NFL's premier teams in participation, professionalism and community service."

Whether sideline cheerleading featuring attractive women in provocative attire is integral to the enjoyment of football or a sexist relic of the past is a matter for debate. Six NFL teams do not have cheerleading squads, some for philosophical reasons and one to avoid the impact of a class-action lawsuit over pay. What shouldn't be an issue is that the women who choose to do this work shouldn't be treated like second-class citizens or -- as Washington cheerleaders alleged to the Times -- sexually exploited. That Davis and Ware are willing to forgo any claim to monetary awards to tell their stories in the hope of bringing about change should convince Goodell that, at the very least, he needs to listen.

Thursday, 17 May 2018 13:57

Armed Forces Day 2018

While Memorial Day honors Americas's war dead, and Veteran's day honors those still alive who have served in times past, Armed Forces Day recognizes those presently serving.

Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May. This year it will be celebrated on Saturday, May 19, 2018. Thanks to President Harry S. Truman, it’s a day to pay special tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces. President Truman led the effort to establish a holiday in order for citizens to unite and to honor our military heroes for their current patriotic service in support of the United States of America.

Although, originally, there were single day celebrations for each branch of the military, the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force; this format changed on August 21, 1949, when Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of Armed Forces Day. Stemming from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense, the annual celebration now commemorates all branches of the military during one solitary day.

The first official Armed Forces Day took place on May 20, 1950, and was themed “Teamed for Defense.” In honor of the special day, B-36 Bombers flew over state capitals, a march was led by more than 10,000 veterans and troops in Washington, D.C., and over 33,000 people participated in a New York City parade.

In addition, the first Armed Forces Day also played an essential part in educating society and expanding public knowledge of the military and the role they play in the community. Therefore, it wasn’t only a means to honor those who serve or who have served in the military, but also a way to showcase its top of the line equipment and abilities used to protect those in our country.

Interestingly, the marked celebration isn’t just limited to the United States. Other countries who honor this victorious day include Armenia, Australia and New Zealand, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Burma, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Egypt, Finland, France, Georgia, Guatemala, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Lebanon, Mali, Malaysia, Mauritania, Mexico, North Korea, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

In 1961, John F. Kennedy declared Armed Forces Day a national holiday. It’s celebrated on the third Saturday of every May and is exhibited by exercises, parades, and receptions that highlight and honor our amazing military and all of its strength.

Since Armed Forces Day is not a federal holiday, many military installations are available for public viewing for those wishing to take part in the celebration or to learn more about our country’s military. Some other ways to celebrate the special occasion include wearing red, white and blue; flying the American Flag, talking with or writing to a military member, donating to military-based organizations, or sending care packages for those serving overseas.

The importance of this day should always be evident. It is a day that our military members rightly deserve and it’s essential that we celebrate it accordingly.

An excerpt taken from an article written in the New York Post on May 17, 1952, sums up Armed Forces Day’s utmost importance, “It is our most earnest hope that those who are in positions of peril, that those who have made exceptional sacrifices, yes, and those who are afflicted with plain drudgery and boredom, may somehow know that we hold them in exceptional esteem. Perhaps if we are a little more conscious of our debt of honored affection they may be a little more aware of how much we think of them.”

Another great quote: “Our Servicemen and women are serving throughout the world as guardians of peace–many of them away from their homes, their friends and their families. They are visible evidence of our determination to meet any threat to the peace with measured strength and high resolve. They are also evidence of a harsh but inescapable truth–that the survival of freedom requires great cost and commitment, and great personal sacrifice.” – President John F. Kennedy, 1963

Military.com

I just read of another “Law Maker” making foolish, incorrect and ignorant statements. You would expect that a Congressman would actually know what he is talking about, since he makes the freaking laws. This misleads and misinforms his constituents, like the MSM does regularly!

“Asking F.B.I. to drop an investigation is obstruction of justice,” Representative Ted Deutch, Democrat of Florida, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “Obstruction of justice is an impeachable offense.”

You would think a Law Maker would at least understand the Law and the position the President of the United States holds. Allow me to explain to Congressman Deutch why both statements are truly dumb as can be. We need to assume the Congressman has some knowledge of his government so we’ll start with the Constitution. There are 3 branches of our government; Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Congressman.

Deutch is in the Legislative branch and the President is in the Executive branch. By Law the President is Chief Law Enforcement Officer, CEO, and under Article 2 of the Constitution, has the legal responsibility to supervise his employees and fire anyone, who he has reason (s) to fire… without submitting any explanation to anybody, especially when it comes to Presidential appointees. He hires and he fires, that’s the law.

Assuming Mr. Deutch is talking about the firing of James Comey, there is no doubt the president, who appointed Comey to continue as his FBI Director, absolutely had the right to fire him, when he lost confidence in him and for no other reason. He also, by law, can order the FBI Director to open or close ANY FBI case without explanation. He can order the AG to do the same, with…“Because I said so”, as his only explanation. The evidence shows very strongly that Comey should be indicted himself for Obstruction of Justice- Hobbs Act, Destruction of Government Property, Disclosure of Classified Information T18S798USC, and many more.

The President can walk into any FISA Court and listen to and read any evidence, the same with any NSA secret monitoring site and listen to ANY wiretap he wants. He can Classify AND Declassify any document he wants, without any explanation to anybody.

Next, and I have been writing about this forever, Mr. Deutch should start reading my columns…there is no crime in Title 18 called Obstruction of Justice! There must be a substantive criminal investigation of a violation of Federal Law by a duly authorized Federal Agency, like the FBI; that is being “obstructed”. The Director of the FBI himself told the President, before he was fired, that Trump was NOT the subject of an FBI investigation, which is a moot point because he can close a case even if the President’s name is in the Title! If a person’s name is in an FBI Title, then he is the subject of a criminal investigation…if it is not then he is NOT the subject. That’s the way it works!

He could have told Comey to close the investigation on Flynn because the President believed Flynn was not being afforded fair treatment and equal rights under the Constitution…or just say, “Close the case”, with no further explanation!

Why did he ask Comey, because he was Comey’s boss, he could, and it’s his responsibility to know if someone in his campaign “colluded” with a foreign government, duh. So, Mr. Deutch and anyone else…what’s the Title and Section of USC that the President “obstructed” ? By the way, Mr. Deutch, USC stands for United States Code.

Mr Deutch throws the word “Impeach” around like it is an easy thing to do, just because President Clinton caved when the House threatened subpoena. Had Clinton known there was really nothing that could have been done to force the president to testify and had Clinton stood up, he would have set a precedent that would have helped protect the Office of the President.

A sitting President cannot be charged with a crime, he MUST, be impeached first. He cannot be forced to testify by court order even with the grant of immunity. Contrary to what FOX’s Judge Napolitano has said repeatedly, the President cannot be forced to answer questions before a Grand Jury by subpoena because there must be a crime associated with the subpoena but if the president cannot be charged with a crime, how can he be held for contempt for refusing to testify about “nothing”? He can’t be arrested either.

This was all engineered by our forefathers…the authors of our Constitution because they anticipated sore losers like Schumer, Pelosi, Waters, Mr. Deutch and the rest of the losers would try to interfere with the duly elected president, just like that idiot John Kerry just tried to do with our Foreign policy…oh that’s right…we do have the Logan Act for That! If Kerry isn’t charged with violating the Logan Act we might as well erase it from our laws. Mr Sessions…how about it?

J. Gary Dilaura A 28 year veteran of the FBI, spent his career in Charleston, SC, New York City, and Buffalo, NY. He was active in the FBI’s Violent Crimes Program, finishing his career as Bank Robbery Supervisor. He also worked White Collar Crime and some well known cases including the Oklahoma City Bombing & the Dustin Hoffman, Dog Day Afternoon Bank Robbery, and established and ran the FBI’s Environmental Crimes Program for the Western District
of NY. He received numerous Commendations from every FBI Director he worked for.

There are a number of situations where a party may need to contest the validity of a Florida will. One legal tool that a party may use to protect its interests is the filing of a “caveat.” This is essentially a notice filed with the probate court reserving the right to be notified if an estate has been opened.

Caveats are necessary because a person who files a will for probate–typically the personal representative named in the document–does not have to provide advance notice to any interested parties beforehand.

But if there is reason to challenge or contest the validity of the will, and therefore the personal representative's appointment, it is critical that any objecting parties are heard first. For this reason, Section 731.110 of the Florida Statutes expressly provides that once a caveat has been filed by an interested person–other than a creditor of the deceased–the will cannot be admitted to probate until the objector has a chance to be heard by the court.

 

Florida: A Caveat By Any Other Name Is Still a Caveat

Florida Probate Rules establish the necessary form for filing a caveat. Specifically, Rule 5.260 states the caveat should contain:

● the name of the deceased individual whose estate is the subject of the probate petition;
● the last four digits of the decedent's Social Security number or year of birth, assuming the objector knows this information;
● the objector's interest in the decedent's estate; and
● the name and mailing address of the objector.

Any filing that substantially contains this information should be treated by the probate court as a caveat even if it is not explicitly labeled as such. The Florida Second District Court of Appeals recently addressed this point in a pending will contest from Hillsborough County. The appeals court held a probate judge erred when he admitted a will to probate without first hearing an objecting party's contest.

The decedent in this case passed away nearly seven years ago. But nobody attempted to open a probate estate until five years later, when the personal representative nominated by a will purportedly signed by the decedent was filed with the court. The petitioner said an estate was necessary to probate a piece of real property in Hillsborough County, which under the terms of the will should pass to the decedent's sister and niece.

An objector filed a document labeled as an “Answer and Affirmative Defenses to Petition for Administration” with the probate court. The objector said he owned 50 percent of the real property in question, and he further claimed the will was invalid as the product of undue influence and fraud. The probate court admitted the will to probate without hearing or considering these objections.

The Second District said that was a mistake. Although the objector did not label his filing as a “caveat,” that is what it was, the appeals court said, and it substantially complied with the requirements of Rule 5.260. As a result, the objector was at least entitled to a formal hearing on his will contest.

 

Get Help With a Florida Will Contest/Challenge.

If you are involved in a will contest, either as a challenger or as the personal representative, it is important to work with an experienced Fort Myers probate administration lawyer who can guide you through the process. Contact the Kuhn Law Firm, P.A., today at 239-333-4529 to schedule a free estate planning consultation with a member of our team.

Wednesday, 09 May 2018 22:40

The Can't-Do Republicans

 

 

 

Back in '92, the late Paul Weyrich and I held a press conference during the Republican National Convention to make two announcements.

First, we were endorsing George Bush 41's re-election. Second, we'd just made the most meaningless endorsement in history. He had so thoroughly bungled his first term that there was nothing to be done to save him. And we were right.

The Republicans are now facing the same future in November. At this point, they may lose the House and quite possibly the Senate. Worse, they've so botched their opportunity that only they can save themselves now. Their $1.3 trillion omnibus bill was not just the most reckless spending bill in history, it was an abject surrender on every single political and policy pledge made to those who put them in office, save helping the military.

It's been this way from the start. First, they asked for control of the House and its appropriations authority to right the fiscal ship, and as importantly, to end Obamacare. In 2010, they got it -- and immediately stated they could do nothing without the Senate. In 2014, they were awarded that, too -- and just as quickly declared they could do nothing without the White House. So, in 2016 they were handed that, and with it complete control of the legislative process, but now with no more excuses available.

And what have they done? They surrendered without a fight. Any real advance, be it Justice Gorsuch, regulatory relief, minimal border security, minimal tax cuts or minimal changes in Obamacare, has all been driven by the White House. Congress has done nothing.

Here's the difference between the two parties. For the past eight years, the GOP has been the party that begins each conversation with, "This is why we can't do it." The Democrats begin theirs with, "This is how we'll get it done." The crisis for Republicans is so grave that not even a rhetorical shift will save them. Only action, concrete action, might. They must come up with victories.

Here's what they need to do, in six easy steps.

1. Like it or not, they must wrap themselves around the president to save him from impeachment. This means publicly embracing him as their leader. More to the point, it means supporting everything he puts on the table from here through November, and doing it with brio.

2. Reverse that disastrous $1.3 trillion omnibus. This talk about a revision, or worse, a balanced budget amendment, is the height of hypocrisy and the public's not going to stand for it. It's like committing rape and then joining the #MeToo movement. Only tangible results, legislation that reduces the deficit and puts the government on the road to fiscal sanity, will work.

3. Kill Obamacare. Nothing less will do. The public that voted these Republicans in has had it with excuses and half-measures.

4. End the funding of Planned Parenthood. The pro-life movement is leaving the GOP, and for good reason. When Republicans award the operation that proudly massacres more than 300,000 babies annually with $450,000,000 dollars taken from American taxpayers, there's no difference between the parties.

5. Fund border security. The base will not stomach any more of the GOP's public displays of affection for Chuck Schumer while denying funds for Trump's border wall. Promises made, promises broken.

6. Deliver real personal tax cuts. What they came up with last year rewarded big business nicely while excusing nearly 50 percent of Americans from the responsibility of paying taxes altogether. Everyone else was given a small amount of relief. Those were your voters, GOP.

Here is the bottom line. On Sept. 30, five weeks before the election, there will be the need for a new spending bill to keep the government running. Everything listed above can be accomplished in that one piece of legislation. No more excuses. No more punts. No more stalling.

It's so obvious, really. At this point the GOP faithful are set to make a devastating declaration in seven months: "We gave you complete control, and you not only accomplished nothing, you broke your word on virtually everything. Good-bye."

And you know what, Republicans? They're right.

L. Brent Bozell III
and Tim Graham