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An injunction by any other name…

Written by on Nov 2, 2010| Posted in: Trust Litigation

Does the Florida Trust Code allow for freezing of trust assets without the burden of proving the traditional elements for an injunction?

In short the answer is “sort of.”  Historically, if you want an injunction, the moving party must prove:

  1. She will suffer irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law unless injunctive relief is granted;
  2. She has a clear legal right to request injunctive relief; and
  3. The entry of this injunctive relief will not disserve the public interest.  

 

“No adequate remedy at law” is the insurmountable obstacle to injunctive relief because many court rules that if you can get a money judgment (whether or not it is  collectable),then there is an adequate remedy at law therefore you are not entitled to an injunction.  Think of injunctions as the appropriate remedy for the hippie who doesn’t want the developer to cut down a 500 year old tree- no legal remedy can replace that tree if it is cut down so the hippie gets the injunction.  

Does that mean no injunctions in trust disputes and trust contests?  While it might not be called an injunction, Florida law provides that pending the outcome of a proceeding filed to determine the validity of all or part of a trust or the beneficiaries of all or part of a trust, the trustee shall proceed with the administration of the trust as if no proceeding had been commenced, except no action may be taken and no distribution may be made to a beneficiary in contravention of the rights of those persons who may be affected by the outcome of the proceeding.  Stated in non-legalese, while the trust case is pending the money and trust property cannot be distributed, so effectively it is a quasi-injunction.

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