Stokes McMillan Antúnez P.A.

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Johnson v. Townsend, — So.3d —- 2018 WL 5291297 (Fla. 4th DCA October 24, 2018) Florida remains the largest recipient of state-to-state migration in the US, and the top choice among retirees. A percentage of those transplants are going to be married couples that moved to Florida directly from a community property state or may have lived in a community property state at some time during their marriage. How big a percentage? Bigger than…
If you make your living in and around our probate courts you’ll find the FY 2016-17 Probate Court Statistical Reference Guide interesting reading. The chart below provides the “cases filed” data for three of our largest circuits/counties: Miami-Dade (11th Cir), Broward (17th Cir), and Palm Beach (15th Cir). And because one year’s snapshot is only so useful, the chart also reports the per-judge average case filing numbers for the prior four years to reflect trends…
Lindenau v. Lundeen, 2018 WL 1152403 (M.D. Florida March 05, 2018) Florida remains the largest recipient of state-to-state migration in the US, and the top choice among retirees. Not surprisingly, many of these transplants are slow to abandon the professional relationships they’ve fostered back home — often for decades. When it comes to estate planning that can be a big mistake. Why? Because just because your estate planning documents work back home doesn’t mean…
Turkish v. Brody, — So.3d —-, 2016 WL 6992203 (Fla. 3d DCA November 30, 2016) The family at the center of this case made its money investing in New York and Florida real estate (starting in the 1920s), and they’ve been feuding with each other over that fortune for decades. For that backstory you’ll want to read this 1994 2d Cir opinion. Fast forward to 2008. One of the surviving heirs was a…
A defining characteristic of inheritance litigation is that the single most important witness — the testator — is dead. And because the testator’s not around anymore to prove to us that he really was acting of his own free will when he disinherited a child, or favored a late-in-life lover, or bequeathed his estate in any other way that’s contrary to generally accepted norms, the second-hand hearsay testimony these cases turn on acts as a sort of …
Here’s my summary of what happened legislatively in 2018 on the elder law and guardianship front. The legislative focus this year is on preventing and/or responding to instances of elderly and vulnerable adult financial exploitation. This is part two of my legislative summary for 2018. I previously reported here on the probate and trust related legislation for 2018. [1] New tools in the fight against financial exploitation of the elderly: The Legislative Staff Analysis for CS/HB 1059
2018 was another interesting legislative year for those of us toiling in the vineyards as trusts and estates lawyers. Here’s my summary of what happened on the probate and trust front. I’ll post a separate summary of 2018’s guardianship legislation. [1] Waiver of homestead rights through deed: Under Florida law a surviving spouse’s testamentary rights in the couple’s marital homestead residence are spelled out in Art. X, § 4(c) of the Florida Constitution and F.S.
The “collaborative process” is an interesting dispute resolution alternative that’s been used for years — with great success — in the family-law context. An important tenet of collaborative law is that, should the collaborative process fail, the parties’ lawyers and law firms are disqualified from subsequent litigation. In my opinion, this dynamic changes everything. I think collaborative law could be the next big thing for resolving trusts and estates cases (which are almost always family…
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 types of fiduciaries, and their attorneys. As I reported here, we legislatively closed that loophole in…
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 related litigation. This risk is especially acute in contested probate and guardianship proceedings. Past examples include cases…