Florida Probate & Trust Litigation Blog

Florida Probate & Trust Litigation Blog

By Juan C. Antúnez of Stokes McMillan Antúnez P.A.

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Monthly Archives: February 2007

Attorney Retaining Liens

Posted in Ethics
As reported in Politician’s Heirs Snare Thelen Reid in Complex Estate Battle, a New York firm successfully opposed a subpoena to turn over its files in connection with contested probate proceedings in Texas because the estate hadn’t paid its bills.  The basis of the New York firm’s retaining lien was described as follows in the … Continue Reading

Florida Judge in Anna Nicole Smith Case Is Vilified as ‘Weepy Wacko’

Posted in Trust and Estates Litigation In the News
In stark contrast to the glowing reviews enjoyed by Attorney Richard C. Milstein (see here), most observers have been less than impressed with Judge Larry Seidlin.  The following excerpts from Florida Judge in Anna Nicole Smith Case Is Vilified as ‘Weepy Wacko’ sum up the national consensus: From the state that brought you the hanging chad, … Continue Reading

Once removed, foreign estate administrator lost standing to pursue claims

Posted in Practice & Procedure
Juega v. Davidson, — So.2d —-, 2007 WL 465523 (Fla. 3d DCA Feb 14, 2007) [THIS OPINION WAS WITHDRAWN AND SUBSTITUTED HERE] Who has standing to sue and when is a recurring them in trusts and estates litigation.  In probate proceedings, the issue is framed in terms of who is an "interested person,"  In non-probate trust litigation, … Continue Reading

Miami trusts and estates attorney Richard C. Milstein: Is “the Calm” in Media Storm Over Anna Nicole Smith Case

Posted in Trust and Estates Litigation In the News
It couldn’t happen to a better guy.  In the midst of all the antics surrounding the proceedings to determine custody of Anna Nicole Smith’s body one calm professional stood out: Akerman Senterfitt’s Richard C. Milstein. I know Richard only casually from bar functions.  However, he’s known as a true gentlemen and professional in every sense … Continue Reading

You can’t sue someone else’s personal representative for breach of fiduciary duty or get fees for thwarting someone else’s testamentary intent

Posted in Will and Trust Contests
Harding v. Rosoff, — So.2d —-, 2007 WL 461381(Fla. 4th DCA Feb 14, 2007) This is the second appellate opinion arising out of this piece of probate litigation.  I wrote about the first appeal here.  In this sad case a 95 year old woman inadvertently failed to comply with the technical  requirements necessary to effectively exercise … Continue Reading

Miami attorney Richard Milstein granted custody of Anna Nicole Smith’s body then moves quickly to resolve dispute

Posted in Trust and Estates Litigation In the News
Broward Circuit Court Judge Larry Seidlin surprised everyone by ruling from the bench today.  Here’s the latest from the Boston Globe: FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. –Anna Nicole Smith will be buried in the Bahamas, alongside her dead son, it was announced Thursday after a tearful judge left the decision up to the attorney for the model’s … Continue Reading

Florida’s recognition of tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress caused by extreme and outrageous conduct in handling of cremation

Posted in Practice & Procedure
Matsumoto v. American Burial and Cremation Services, Inc., — So.2d —-, 2006 WL 3733310, 32 Fla. L. Weekly D26 (Fla. 2 DCA Dec 20, 2006) In light of the ongoing litigation involving conflicting claims for custody of Anna Nicole Smith’s body (see here), the linked-to case seems especially timely (thanks to Alachua, FL attorney Jane … Continue Reading

Court to Trustee: go hire a lawyer!

Posted in Appellate Practice in Probate
EHQF Trust v. S & A Capital Partners, Inc. , — So.2d —-, 2007 WL 45838 (Fla. 4th DCA Jan 09, 2007) I wrote here about a 2006 opinion out of the 5th DCA addressing Florida Rule of Probate Procedure 5.030(a), which, subject to limited exceptions, requires Florida guardians and personal representatives to be represented by counsel.  There’s … Continue Reading

NY Times Op-Ed: Historical discussion of the status of a child born out-of-wedlock triggered by Dannielynn, Anna Nicole Smith’s surviving non-marital child

Posted in Trust and Estates Litigation In the News
The NY Times published an interesting Op-Ed piece by Stephanie Coontz entitled Illegitimate Complaints that does a good job of highlighting how “traditional” family values were historically very harsh on out-of-wedlock or “bastard” children. Generally accepted notions of the rights of lineal descendants – irrespective of whether or not the parents were married – have … Continue Reading

The Art of the “General Release”

Posted in Will and Trust Contests
Hernandez v. Gil, — So.2d. —, 2007 WL 466029 (Fla. 3d DCA Feb 14, 2007) [Attorney Interview] Drafting a settlement agreement is always part science, part art.  The drafting needs to be technically solid.  The economic aspects of the deal need to be clearly worked out, although this issue is usually pretty simple, no matter how many … Continue Reading

Probate and Trust Litigation Committee meeting on Friday, February 23 at Noon at the Marriot on Hutchison Island

Posted in Litigation Committee
I’m rarely able to physically go to these meetings, but I always find time to read the excellent materials circulated to members prior to each meeting.  I also find these materials to be the best way to keep track of new legislation affecting the trusts and estates practice area.  If you read Jack Falk’s e-mail and the attached Agenda and Minutes for this meeting … Continue Reading

South Florida trusts and estates litigators drawn into battle over who will bury Anna Nicole Smith

Posted in Trust and Estates Litigation In the News
As the Anna Nicole Smith saga takes its latest bizarre twist inside a South Florida courtroom, prominent South Florida trusts and estates litigators – Richard Milstein & Shane Kelley – were tapped by Broward County Judge Larry Seidlin to help him sort through the conflicting claims for custody of Anna Nicole Smith’s body.  CNN reported … Continue Reading

The Florida ‘boom’: lawyers see huge increase in wealthy claiming residency in the Sunshine State.

Posted in Trust and Estates Litigation In the News
Lawyers USA published this article discussing many of the reasons Florida is becoming an increasingly popular destination for the wealthy seeking lower taxes and greater asset protection.  For an alternate race-to-the-bottom angle on Florida’s increasing popularity see Marching Off a Cliff. There’s nothing particularly new in the linked-to Lawyers USA article for practicing Florida trusts … Continue Reading

Marshall v. Marshall — Rashomon Revisited

Posted in Trust and Estates Litigation In the News
Anna Nicole Smith’s tragic death (see here) put a spotlight once again on the record-shattering trust-and-estates litigation she and her former step-son, E. Pierce Marshall (he died in 2006), waged over the vast estate of her former husband, J. Howard Marshall. As I’ve previously written about on this blog, this case resulted in a U.S. Supreme Court … Continue Reading

The Salvation Army has gone to court in Seattle to challenge a trust dividing more than $260 million among eight charities, including Greenpeace

Posted in Trust and Estates Litigation In the News
I’ve written in the past regarding the unique public-relations issues faced by charities involved in trust/probate litigation (see here) and the different expectations the public and media have with respect to such litigants (see here).  The same dynamics are currently playing themselves out in a case involving a $260 million gift to eight charities. As … Continue Reading

4th DCA on intestate succession and DNA testing: paternity adjudication trumps biology

Posted in Practice & Procedure
Glover v. Miller, 2007 WL 247899 (Fla. 4th DCA Jan 31, 2007) In 2005 sixteen-year-old Jerrod Miller was shot to death by a Delray Beach police officer.  Ten years earlier, in 1995, Kenneth Miller was declared Jerrod’s father by an adjudication of paternity and judgment requiring child support.  In 2006 posthumous DNA testing revealed a 99% likelihood … Continue Reading