Boyes, Farina & Matwiczyk

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Notables

Appeals in Probate Cases

Rule 9.170 of the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure provides a non-exclusive list of the types of orders that can be appealed from in probate cases. This Rule was recently examined by the Third District Court of Appeal, in the decision made in Maercks v. Maercks…, on April 3, 2019.

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Deference to the Intent of a Testator or Settlor

The Third District Court of Appeal’s recent opinion in Sibley v. Estate of Sibley, — So. 3d —, 2019 WL 1461325 (Fla. 3d DCA April 3, 2019) reminds us that a testator’s or settlor’s intent is to be given paramount deference in constructing the language of a testamentary document.

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Changing of Venue in Trust Disputes

The Fourth District Court of Appeal’s recent opinion in Cohen v. Scarnato, issued April 10, 2019, has us again rethinking the appropriate venue in which to bring a trust dispute action.

Florida Statute 47.122 provides that “[f]or the convenience of the parties or witnesses or in the interest of justice, any court of record may transfer any civil action to any other court of record in which it might have been brought.”  If seeking a transfer of venue under this section, and as explained by the Cohen…court, affidavits or other evidence are necessary to demonstrate the necessity for change of venue based on the statutory factors of convenience of the parties or witnesses or the interest of justice.

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Lottery Trusts – Claim Lottery Anonymously

…If you have won the lottery, then most certainly, congratulations are in order.  However, before Florida lottery winners, you may want to think about how you manage your brand-new wealth.  You may be excited to cash it in, go on a spending spree, buy a whole island or even just a new house, fancy sports car, pay off any debt, and send checks to your family and friends, aside from the initial payment of income taxes to the IRS. 

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Reopening a Florida Probate

…Can a Florida Estate Be Reopened After Probate?
Just because a probate in Florida has been closed by a court, this does not mean that it cannot be reopened.  Indeed, public policy favors finality and the closing of estates.  A non-contested estate is supposed to be closed within 12 months from the issuance of letters of administration. 

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Estate Planning For Same-Sex Couples

In the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges… decision, the United States Supreme Court upheld the right of same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states. This brought marriage equality to same-sex couples, no matter in what state they reside. Since then, same-sex married couples have been able to do their estate planning just as heterosexual couples.

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4th DCA: What’s a “qualified beneficiary” and why should trustees care?

…Under Florida’s Trust Code there are two classes of beneficiaries, and which class you fall in is a big deal.

As defined in F.S. 736.0103(4), the term “beneficiary” refers to the entire universe of persons who have a beneficial interest in a trust, as well as to any person who has a power of appointment over trust property in a capacity other than as trustee.

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Judy Daily Achieves Paralegal Certification National Association of Legal Assistants Certified Paralegal, Celebrates 20 Years with Firm

…Judy Daily has recently achieved her national paralegal certification from The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). Recognized by the American Bar Association as a designation of a high level of professional achievement, the Certified Paralegal (CP) credential signifies that a paralegal is capable of providing superior services to law firms, corporations and their clients.

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Rizk v. Rizk, 2018 WL 631228 (Fla. 3d DCA Dec. 4, 2018)

…Issues surrounding wills executed outside of the state of Florida, or even outside of the country, may present an interesting analysis on whether the will can be determined valid in Florida.

In this recent opinion from the Fourth District Court of Appeal, the Decedent’s brother was a Haitian native, and just a few months before his death, he prepared a will pursuant to the dictates of Haitian law.

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Cook v. Cook, 2018 WL 4520379 (Fla. 4th DCA Sept. 20, 2018, rehearing granted Nov. 28, 2018)

…The ward in this guardianship case was found to be completely incapacitated, and the trial court imposed a plenary guardianship on him. However, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed, finding that the three-person examining committee made their determinations for purposes of their required reports, reporting that a plenary guardianship should be imposed, and without conducting comprehensive examinations of the prospective ward.

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