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Category: Blog

Larry King died in January 2021, so what is this news about his estate?

Various recent news headlines – such as the Los Angeles Times, and other press – have given Larry King’s estate some attention.  Larry, together with his wife, Shawn Southwick King, had executed estate planning documents in 2015, where he named her the personal representative of his estate. However, Larry filed for divorce in August 2019….

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The Use of Text Messages and Emails in Litigation Proceedings

A trend in court proceedings, and particularly in probate litigation matters, is the use of copies of text messages and emails between individuals in court proceedings.  From an evidentiary standpoint, and for the use of said text messages and emails in court proceedings, an important question becomes the authenticity of the text messages and emails….

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Contracts to Make a Will

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….

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The Last Phases of a Probate Administration: The Petition for Discharge and Final Accounting

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. …

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Estate Planning Upon Divorce

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. …

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Why Filing a Caveat in a Florida Probate Court is Important

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.

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Trap for the Unwary: Florida Statute 736.0802

…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. 

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New Statutory Requirements for an Attorney Serving as Personal Representative or Trustee

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. 

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Undue Influence: Tittle v. Dahm, — So. 3d — 2020 WL 6053264

The October 14, 2020 opinion from Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of a petition for administration, grounded on a finding of undue influence.

The takeaway from this opinion is the Third District’s explanation that the factors in the seminal case of In re Carpenter’s Estate…, 253 So.

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Schlossberg v. Estate of Kaporovsky, — So. 3d — , 2020 WL 4496139 (Fla. 4th DCA Aug. 5, 2020)

In this recent decision, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reviewed the requisites for execution of a deed.  The Fourth District explained that where all essential legal requisites are present, legal title is conveyed, and that void deeds would be limited to forged deeds or deeds that violate constitutional homestead protections. 

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