Florida Probate & Trust Litigation Blog

Florida Probate & Trust Litigation Blog

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

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Category Archives: Gifts and Charities Litigation

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What can Florida lawyers learn from the “Newell v. Johns Hopkins University” charitable donation case?

Posted in Gifts and Charities Litigation
Newell v. Johns Hopkins University, 215 Md. 217, 79 A.3d 1009 (Md. App. November 21, 2013) Tim Newell, the nephew of the late Elizabeth Banks,  sued Johns Hopkins University in 2011, charging that Banks conveyed her family’s 138-acre dairy farm to Hopkins in 1989 for $5 million — far below its market value — with the understanding … Continue Reading

Miami attorney Patrick Lannon on undue influence claims challenging inter vivos (lifetime) gifts, and how we (and our courts) can do a better job of connecting the dots

Posted in Gifts and Charities Litigation, Trust and Estates Litigation In the News
Most inheritance litigation involving claims of undue influence arise in the context of a will or trust contest, and most of those cases revolve around whether the primary beneficiary actively procured the contested instrument. Active procurement can be difficult to prove (or disprove) because your single most important witness, the grantor, is dead, which means we have … Continue Reading

1st DCA: Does a dutiful adult child caring for an elderly parent = undue influence?

Posted in Gifts and Charities Litigation, Will and Trust Contests
Estate of Kester v. Rocco, — So.3d —-, 2013 WL 3155849 (Fla. 1st DCA June 24, 2013) Most parents want to treat their children fairly in their estate planning, but fair doesn’t necessarily mean equal. We all know there are perfectly valid reasons for why a parent might opt to NOT divide the family pie in … Continue Reading

5th DCA: Does inter vivos gift of stock automatically fail if stock certificate remained registered in donor’s name at death?

Posted in Gifts and Charities Litigation
Welch v. Dececco, — So.3d —-, 2012 WL 5969623 (Fla. 5th DCA November 30, 2012) When and “if” a gift actually occurs can be a tricky, fact-intensive issue to decide. A few years ago I wrote here about a contested gift by former major league ball player Dennis L. Rasmussen to his ex-wife. This time around … Continue Reading

4th DCA: What is the “cy pres” doctrine, and why should Florida charities care?

Posted in Gifts and Charities Litigation
SPCA Wildlife Care Center v. Abraham, — So.3d —-, 2011 WL 6183491 (Fla 4th DCA Dec 14, 2011) We all know charities are struggling to stay afloat these days, which means they’re asserting themselves in court to a degree unheard of a generation ago (a topic of frequent discussion on this blog, click here). In … Continue Reading

2d DCA to Florida philanthropists: don’t waste your time suing charities in the absence of a written trust or gift agreement

Posted in Gifts and Charities Litigation
Foundation For Developmentally Disabled, Inc. v. Step By Step Early Childhood Educ. And Therapy Center, Inc., — So.3d —-, 2010 WL 1135901 (Fla. 2d DCA Mar 26, 2010) In the 1980′s Florida philanthropist Edwin H. Bower made large charitable donations to the Foundation for the Developmentally Disabled, Inc. (the “Foundation”) through his charitable foundation, The Bower … Continue Reading

How Pennsylvania officials and an inept trustee board of directors screwed poor kids out of $1 billion by stopping the sale of candy-maker Hershey Company

Posted in Gifts and Charities Litigation
Jonathan Klick of the Florida State University College of Law and Robert H. Sitkoff of Harvard Law School just published an outstanding article entitled Agency Costs, Charitable Trusts, and Corporate Control: Evidence from Hershey’s Kiss-Off.  What this article does well is “crunch the numbers” to answer the sort of open-ended question trusts-and-estates litigators face all the … Continue Reading

4th DCA: When a joint bank account is created with the funds of one person, there is a presumption of a gift to the other person which may be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary

Posted in Gifts and Charities Litigation
Julia v. Russo, — So.2d —-, 2008 WL 2596324 (Fla. 4th DCA Jul 02, 2008) The 4th DCA reversed itself on an important point involving joint bank accounts, withdrawing this opinion and replacing it with the linked-to opinion above. The issue on rehearing was a simple evidentiary burden-shifting question: If a decedent funded a bank account 100% … Continue Reading

Public relations as litigation tool in cases involing charities: Robertson v. Princeton University

Posted in Gifts and Charities Litigation
The Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog had this interesting post on the Robertson v. Princeton website, a classic example of litigation public relations.  It seems to me that trust/probate litigation involving charities is especially ripe for this tactic.  By the way, it should also be noted that in a sharp break from prior law, … Continue Reading

When is a sweetheart gift really a “gift” or just words worth less than the paper they are written on?

Posted in Gifts and Charities Litigation
Rasmussen v. Rasmussen, 2005 WL 2138710 (Fla. 2d DCA September 7, 2005) (Trial Court Reversed) Although this is a divorce case, the issue of when and “if” a gift actually transfers property rights comes up quite often in the probate-litigation context. So this case should be of interest to trusts and estates planners as well … Continue Reading