We represented a retired successful individual who was unwillingly brought into his adult child’s dispute with the child’s Trustee, which resulted in all of his children becoming participants in the litigation in some manner. One child sought to subject the client to a deposition and when the client objected based on his physical health, the Probate Court ordered the client to undergo an involuntary psychological exam. The Appellate Court determined that the Order requiring the client to be subject to an involuntary psychological examination was improper.
We represented the niece of the Decedent, as Personal Representative of the Estate. Purported Half-Sisters of the Decedent who lived in Austria filed pleadings to be included as beneficiaries of the Estate. Because Austrian law did not permit our firm to take the depositions of the claimants in Austria (this was pre-Zoom), we obtained from the Probate Court an order requiring that the claimants must appear in Florida for deposition before they could proceed with their claims. The Appellate Court sustained the trial Court order compelling the claimants to appear before proceeding.
The probate court refused to appoint our client as Personal Representative of her mother’s Estate despite her priority as the named successor Personal Representative. Our client’s father, the named Personal Representative was unable to act. Years of litigation between our client and her sister in the guardianships of both parents was the basis for the trial court’s refusal. The Court claimed that the potential for dispute disqualified our client. The Appellate Court ruled that a dispute between beneficiaries was not sufficient grounds to refuse to appoint the person named as personal representative in a will.
Our firm represented a Professional Guardian as an Emergency Temporary Guardian. The spouse of the incapacitated man, sought to prohibit access to joint accounts she held with the Ward thereby preventing the use of the joint funds to pay for both the care of the Ward or the administrative costs of the guardianship. As counsel for this firm, jointly with counsel for the Guardian, both filing briefs and participating in oral argument, the Appellate Court ruled for the first time unequivocally that a property titled as tenancy by the entirety could be used for both the care of the Ward and the administrative costs before and after the death of the ward.
Our firm successfully represented a Professional Guardian in a surcharge action alleging breaches of fiduciary duty which was filed five years after the death of the ward. After a successful defense of the actions, the Probate Court ruled that all of the services provided to the Guardian, even though provided after the death of the ward in the defense of the surcharge action, benefitted the guardianship and the Appellate Court agreed.
Probate Trial Court Case
Our firm successfully represented the children of the Decedent, when the Decedent’s surviving spouse (who was not the mother of the Decedent’s children) filed a claim against the Decedent’s Estate alleging that she was entitled to the Decedent’s property, including a residence appraised at $4,000,000.00, despite an enforceable pre-nuptial agreement signed by both the Decedent and his wife. After entry of multiple summary judgements in favor of our clients, including a favorable determination regarding their right to the residence, an appeal was avoided by a subsequent agreement.