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Category:Blog

Witnessing a Will – Florida’s Rules

June 15, 2020

The witness requirements to a will are clear and are set forth in Fla. Stat 732.502, that the testator must sign or acknowledge his signature on the will in the presence of two witnesses and that the attesting witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator and in the presence of each other.  The issue of “presence of a witness” as required by Fla. Stat. 732.502 is discussed in Simpson v. Williamson, 611 So….

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Probate of a Lost Will in Florida

June 8, 2020

Creating a will gives a testator the ability to ensure that his or her wishes are carried out after death, and ideally the testator will have a plan for safekeeping that original will.  This often includes having the nominated personal representative, and perhaps a trusted person or two, knowing where the original will is kept.  Unfortunately, the original will may go missing.  The testator may lose it, forget where he or she kept the original, did not understand the importance of keeping the document, or even perhaps it was inadvertently thrown away.  …

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Black Lives Matter

June 5, 2020

We support peaceful protest as the catalyst to real change.
We agree Black Lives Matter.
We reject racism and brutality in all forms.
We are better together.
We must be.

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Compliance with Settlement and Jurisdictional Considerations

May 20, 2020

The Third District Court of Appeal’s February 12, 2020 opinion in Metalonis v. Eastgroup Properties, Inc. provides jurisdictional considerations with respect to settlement of a lawsuit.

In Metalonis, appeal was taken from the trial court’s order which granted Eastgroup Properties Inc.’s emergency motion to compel compliance with the settlement agreement entered into concerning a piece of real property.  The agreement required payment by Eastgroup to Metalonis in the amount of $2.45 million, and in exchange, Metalonis would dismiss his lawsuit and the parties would exchange releases….

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Court Proceedings in Florida During the Coronavirus Pandemic

May 6, 2020

Just this week, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady issued an order (AOSC20-23, Amendment 1), which suspended jury trials through July 2, 2020, and directed the courts of this state to hold hearings and other proceedings by way of video conference or telephone.  These efforts are an extension of his previous suspension of jury trials, jury selection and grand jury proceedings through May 29, 2020, in an effort to try to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus at courthouses….

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New retirement legislation comes at a cost to inherited IRA beneficiaries: The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019

December 30, 2019

New retirement legislation was signed into effect just before Christmas, on December 20, 2019.  Non-spousal beneficiaries of inherited IRAs are now required to withdraw all of their money within 10 years.  Previously, non-spousal beneficiaries could opt to take only required minimum distributions over their life expectancy, potentially allowing the funds to grow tax-free for years.  This is now not possible, due to the elimination of these “stretched” distributions.

Beginning in 2020, under the new Secure Act, non-spousal beneficiaries of IRAs are required to take the entirety of the funds within 10 years after the death of the initial account owner, and then close their account, regardless of tax consequences. …

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As Near as May Be: The Cy Pres Doctrine

November 7, 2019

The Third District Court of Appeal’s August 21, 2019 opinion in Reno v. Hurchalla, applied the cy pres doctrine from SPCA Wildlife Care Center v. Abraham, 75 So. 3d 1271 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011), reminding us again that a decedent’s intentions under this doctrine can be substituted by another plan which is believed to be as close to the original plan as possible if the original plan becomes impossible or impracticable of fulfillment….

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Alexander v. Harris — So. 3d — (Fla. 2d DCA May 17, 2019)

October 24, 2019

This interesting Second District Court of Appeal opinion kept with the public policy of having a legal obligation to support a child, supporting the Florida Supreme Court’s longstanding decision of Bacardi v. White, 463 So. 2d 218 (Fla. 1985).

In Alexander, the father was the sole beneficiary of a special needs trust, established with funds from the settlement of a product liability action brought on the father’s behalf after he was catastrophically injured in a car accident as a minor….

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Wallace v. Comprehensive Personal Care Services, Inc. — So.3d — 2019 WL 260741744 (Fla. 3d DCA, June 26, 2019)

October 10, 2019

This was a somewhat lengthy opinion from the Third District Court of Appeal, including the dissenting opinion.  The trial court’s decision to, among other things, enjoin a party in a guardianship matter to attach (or even reference) the medical records of the alleged incapacitated person and also enjoin the parties (other than the alleged incapacitated person) from having ex parte communications with the court-appointed examining committee, was subject to review.

After the death of the alleged incapacitated person’s wife, Comprehensive Personal Care Services commenced a trust matter against the alleged incapacitated person (Milton), and his son Mark, regarding an irrevocable trust executed in 2011 by Milton and his late spouse. …

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Wilson v. Wilson – 4th DCA, August 14, 2019

September 26, 2019

This recent Fourth District Court of Appeal opinion reminds us of the fundamental concepts of contract law as they relate to a decedent’s estate.

In Wilson, Marilyn Wilson and her late spouse, Paul Wilson, were married in 2011.  Prior to their marriage, they entered into a prenuptial agreement, wherein the couple waived their right to an elective share.  The prenuptial agreement did allow the couple to make testamentary gifts to each other, by way of will or codicil, and without invalidating the prenuptial agreement. …

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