April 12, 2021
A will must be the result of a person’s free will. It must be signed voluntarily and not under threat or duress, or it could be deemed invalid, which issue is often the bread and butter of a typical probate litigator’s case work. However, a person may execute a contract during their lifetime to include certain terms and/or beneficiaries in their will, which is enforceable under Florida law….
March 17, 2021
After the personal representative has discharged their fiduciary duties in the probate administration, including locating the estate’s assets, noticing the creditors, providing an inventory, paying any creditors or debts of the decedent, and selling or distributing the assets to the beneficiaries, it is then time to proceed the last part of the probate process, which is the petition for discharge and final accounting. …
March 5, 2021
Partner John Farina is once again a recipient of the prestigious AV Preeminent® peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which he has held since 1995. The AV Preeminent® rating is the highest level of professional excellence and ethical standards an attorney can receive from the national attorney peer review rating service.
March 2, 2021
People typically designate their spouse as the primary beneficiary in their will, trust, or beneficiary designation of their financial accounts and retirement accounts. However, what happens in the case of divorce?
Many times, someone may neglect to update their estate plan following a divorce and leave their ex-spouse as a beneficiary of their estate plan and of their financial or retirement accounts. …
February 22, 2021
Partner William Boyes has once again been appointed to The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel’s (“ACTEC”) Fiduciary Litigation Subcommittee, where he has served on both the Fiduciary Litigation and Evidence subcommittees since 1997.
ACTEC is a national organization of more than 2,500 lawyers and law professors who are elected to be Fellows based on their outstanding reputation, exceptional skill, and substantial contributions to the field by lecturing, writing, teaching and participating in bar activities….
February 18, 2021
Attorneys’ fee awards in guardianship cases are governed by Florida Statute 744.108, allowing for attorney fees rendered for services provided to either a ward or to the guardian of a ward. This statute provides, in relevant part:
744.108 Guardian and attorney fees and expenses.
A guardian, or an attorney who has rendered services to the ward or to the guardian on the ward’s behalf, is entitled to a reasonable fee for services rendered and reimbursement for costs incurred on behalf of the ward.…
February 4, 2021
While you may not want to commence a probate proceeding yourself, you still may have concerns about someone else getting the jump on you by secretly probating a will that is invalid. In those instances, you would want to file a “caveat,” as authorized by Fla. Stat. §731.110 and Fla.
January 21, 2021
…A trustee stands in a fiduciary or confidential relation to another, holds the legal title to property, but maintains it in trust for the benefit of another. The trustee owes a fiduciary duty to that other person, i.e., the beneficiary.
Because the trustee is holding the trust property for the benefit of the beneficiary, the law imposes fiduciary duties upon the trustee.
January 8, 2021
…Even an experienced probate and trust litigator may get caught in this statutory land mine on the litigation battlefield.
Section 736.0802(10) of the Florida Statutes requires that notice be given to the be beneficiaries about payment of legal bills, when the trustee desires to defend claims of breach of fiduciary duty, breach of trust, removal of trustee, or other similar claims.
December 18, 2020
The new changes to Fla. Stat. 733.617 of Florida’s Probate Code and Fla. Stat. 736.0708 of Florida’s Trust Code now require a written statement by the testator of a will or settlor of a trust, acknowledging that the attorney made certain disclosures to them before the will or trust was signed.