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Preview: Florida Probate & Trust Litigation Blog

Florida Probate & Trust Litigation Blog

By Juan C. Antúnez of Stokes Mcmillan Antúnez P.A.

Last Build Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2018 14:38:40 +0000


Florida Supreme Court says YES to special purpose evidence code provision specifically shielding fiduciary-lawyer communications (finally!)

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 14:40:50 +0000

In re Amends. to Fla. Evidence Code, — So.3d —-, 2018 WL 549179 (Fla. Jan. 25, 2018) Our general-purpose attorney-client privilege rule is found in F.S. 90.502. Historically, this rule was subject to the common law “fiduciary exception,” which was bad news for all concerned because it inhibited the free flow of information between personal representatives, trustees and other... Continue Reading…

S.D.Fla: Will a guardianship judge’s orders approving your client’s actions shield you from third-party malpractice liability?

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 15:04:13 +0000

Bivins v. Rogers, 2017 WL 5526874 (S.D. Fla., June 01, 2017) The general trend in Florida is that a third-party beneficiary of your legal services can sue you for malpractice — and it doesn’t matter that the third party was never your client, had zero privity of contract with you, and may have even been adverse to your actual client in... Continue Reading…

Note to Probate Litigators: Be Alert for Financial Exploitation of the Elderly Claims

Sun, 28 Jan 2018 21:55:40 +0000

Inheritance litigation is often the last battle in a war that’s been going on for a long time, especially in cases involving financial exploitation of the elderly. However, my experience is that all too often remedies designed specifically to attack this kind of pre-death wrongdoing get ignored by probate litigators (whose focus is usually on... Continue Reading…

2d DCA: Can you reform a trust to fix an innocuous technical mistake in a signing ceremony (e.g., two witnesses are present, but only one signs the document)?

Sun, 28 Jan 2018 20:04:45 +0000

Kelly v. Lindenau, — So.3d —-, 2017 WL 2180970 (Fla. 2d DCA May 17, 2017) If you or your attorney make a mistake when drafting your revocable trust, and there’s “clear and convincing evidence” that the mistake is contrary to your testamentary intent, we’ve got a fix for that, and it’s found in F.S. 736.0415.... Continue Reading…

2017 . . . A probate mediator’s guide to 2017 Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee (MEAC) Opinions

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 19:23:20 +0000

The Florida Supreme Court’s Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee (MEAC) has been issuing formal advisory ethics opinions to certified and court-appointed mediators since 1994. MEAC opinions deal with mediation-related ethics questions governed primarily by Florida’s Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators (effective January 1, 2017). In addition to an active litigation practice, I also have an active mediation practice and... Continue Reading…

2d DCA: Does Florida’s “delayed discovery doctrine” apply to undue influence claims?

Sun, 31 Dec 2017 00:44:10 +0000

Flanzer v. Kaplan, — So.3d —- 2017 WL 5759041 (Fla. 2d DCA November 29, 2017) Your favorite probate lawyer calls; she’s got a potential trust case for you, but isn’t sure if it’s time barred. You’d think something as basic as knowing how long you have to file a lawsuit would be simple to figure... Continue Reading…

Effective Strategies for Cross-Examining an Expert Witness

Tue, 26 Dec 2017 16:59:59 +0000

If you’re litigating an inheritance case, chances are someone’s going to allege the person whose wealth is being disputed either lacked testamentary capacity and/or was the victim of undue influence. In both instances the issue of cognitive capacity is front and center, which means you’re probably in for some kind of battle of the experts.... Continue Reading…

M.D. Fla: If you kill someone in self defense, can you still collect on their life insurance policy?

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 01:06:00 +0000

Stephenson v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 2016 WL 6568085 (M.D. Fla. Nov. 4, 2016) If you murder someone, you can’t collect on their life insurance policy. This is one of several iterations of the common-law “slayer rule” that’s codified in F.S. 732.802; a statute that gets litigated way more often than most people would guess... Continue Reading…

Blatant self promotion: Contentious Trusts and Estates SIG Elections – Vote by Friday, December 1, 2017

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 22:13:22 +0000

My firm’s developed specialized experience in cross-border estate matters, and in connection with that work I’m a member of the Miami branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), a worldwide association of trusts and estates professionals, and STEP’s litigation arm, referred to as the Contentious Trusts and Estates Global Special Interest Group.... Continue Reading…

2d DCA: When do you have to give notice if you’re trying to get your attorney’s fees paid from a trust under F.S. 736.1005?

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 15:02:47 +0000

In re Guardianship of Bloom, — So.3d —-, 2017 WL 2270124 (Fla. 2d DCA May 24, 2017) If you’re the trustee of a trust, F.S. 736.0816(20) tells us you’re presumptively entitled to hire attorneys to help you do your job and to pay them a reasonable fee for their services. On the other hand, if you’re not the trustee, F.S.... Continue Reading…