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Florida Probate Blog

Author: Michele M. Thomas

Qualified Renunciation

Written by on Jul 1, 2014| Posted in: General

In Florida, one of the pleading requirements for a Will Contest or Trust Contest is a general allegation in the complaint that the contestant renounces any benefit he or she receives under the challenged document. The “renunciation rule” is an equitable doctrine in Florida.  Fintak v. Fintak, 120 So.3d 177 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013).  It was originally established by the English ecclesiastical courts but has been interpreted by American courts to require that one who receives and retains a gift under a will is estopped to contest the validity.  Id.  In Barnett Nat’l Bank of Jacksonville v. Murrey, 49 So.2d 535 (Fla. 1950), the Florida Supreme Court articulated three reasons for the renunciation rule: (1) to protect a fiduciary in the event the contested document is held invalid; (2) to demonstrate sincerity of the contestant; and (3) to have the property available for disposition at the conclusion of the contest. Interestingly, […]

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ADRIAN THOMAS LAWYER REPUTATION

Written by on Apr 18, 2013| Posted in: General

“The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”  ~ Socrates The lawyers at Adrian Philip Thomas, P.A. strive to be competent and passionate advocates for their clients while maintaining high levels of professional courtesy and ethical conduct.  For twenty years, we have been serving the needs of clients with probate administration and estate litigation disputes throughout the State of Florida.  We are proud to have earned the gracious thanks of many clients over the years. Dear Adrian, Oh happy days!  I could not have found finer legal representation.  I will be eternally grateful to you.  Thank you so much.  You took on a complicated case over multiple jurisdictions made overly complex so I could never prevail.  Your staff, your firm, absolutely everyone attended to me with the utmost courtesy, skill and promptness.  Thank you, Adrian, for fighting so hard for me.  Warmest regards, E.S. To […]

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Fort Lauderdale Probate Litigation Lawyer

Written by on Jan 10, 2013| Posted in: General

A Fort Lauderdale Probate Litigation Lawyer may represent clients in connection with disputes arising over a Last Will & Testament.  There are several grounds for contesting a decedent’s Last Will & Testament, including: mistake in execution, undue influence, and lack of testamentary capacity.  In addition to Will contests, probate litigation may involve:  Will construction (interpreting the meaning of a Will), determination of heirs, elective share, breach of fiduciary duty, removal of fiduciary, surcharge (making a fiduciary pay back losses caused by his/her conduct), and accounting.  Each of these topics is discussed in greater detail at our website.  Just follow the links at the top of this page.   The Fort Lauderdale Probate Litigation Lawyers at Adrian Philip Thomas, P.A. represent clients in connection with all probate litigation matters, both prosecuting and defending.  If you or someone you know needs to consult with a Fort Lauderdale Probate Litigation Lawyer, call toll free […]

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Broward County Trust Litigation

Written by on Aug 2, 2012| Posted in: Estate Litigation

Broward County Trust Litigation cases are filed in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Broward County cities include:  Coconut Creek, Cooper City, Coral Springs, Dania Beach, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale, Hollywood, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderhill, Lighthouse Point, Margate, Miramar, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Pembroke Pines, Sunrise, Tamarac, and Weston. For more information about various Broward County Trust Litigation causes of action, click here. If you have a Broward County Trust Litigation question, call the attorneys at Adrian Philip Thomas, P.A. for a no obligation consultation at 800-249-8125.

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Florida Will Dispute Lawyer

Written by on May 23, 2012| Posted in: Estate Litigation

  A Florida Will Dispute Lawyer handles challenges to Wills based on many grounds.  For example: Execution Formalities – is the Will is executed properly?  This question is always the first one to ask because it is much easier (and consequently less expensive) to attack a Will on a technical mistake in execution than it is to prove undue influence or lack of capacity.  Florida Statutes set forth clear requirements for execution of a Will. Lack of Testamentary Capacity – was the testator“of sound mind?” Did he or she understand generally 1) the nature and extent of his property, 2) the relationship of those who would be the natural objects of his bounty (heirs), and 3) the practical effect of a Will?  Undue Influence – was the testator’s mind was so controlled by persuasion, pressure and outside influences that he or she did not act voluntarily but was instead subject to the will (meaning “will […]

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FL Trust Dispute Lawyer

Written by on May 14, 2012| Posted in: Trust Litigation

Florida trust disputes can take many forms.  Below are some examples of causes of action that fall under the broader category “Fl Trust Dispute:” Accounting – if a beneficiary has received inadequate or insufficient information from a trustee, the beneficiary may need to formally demand an accounting to compel compliance. Removal – if a trustee has acted inappropriately and needs to be removed from the position of trustee, a beneficiary may seek to have the court remove the trustee. Breach of Fiduciary Duty – if a trustee has engaged in conduct that violates his duties to the beneficiaries, a beneficiary may sue the trustee for breach, which is a cause of action for money damages. Trust Modification – if a beneficiary believes there is a mistake in the trust or that the person who made the trust did not adequately anticipate the beneficiary’s current needs, he may seek assistance – […]

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How do I contest a Will in Florida?

Written by on May 7, 2012| Posted in: Estate Litigation

How do I contest a Will in Florida? Our office receives communications nearly every day from people asking “how do I contest a Will in Florida?” As with most questions in the law, the answer is “it depends” and it largely depends on the basis for contesting the Will.  Is it because you know the decedent executed a more-recent Will?  Is it because the Will filed was executed improperly?  Is it because the decedent who made the Will lacked capacity at the time it was made?  Is it because the decedent who made the Will was being unduly influenced by someone when it was made?  Sometimes it is appropriate and sufficient to file an Objection to the Petition for Administration or to the Petition to Admit Will but sometimes a law suit (Complaint) challenging the Will is necessary. The best answer to the question “how do I contest a Will […]

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Florida Inheritance Dispute Lawyer

Written by on May 1, 2012| Posted in: General

“Florida inheritance dispute” is a general term that may include several types of litigation, including Will disputes (lack of mental capacity and undue influence), tortious interference with an expectancy, elective share litigation, breach of fiduciary duty litigation, trust dispute, and exploitation of the elderly.  If you believe you have a Florida inheritance dispute issue, you should consult with an attorney who limits his practice to this area of the law, which is complicated and requires experience. To read more about Florida Inheritance Disputes, please visit Florida Probate Lawyer.     If you would like a consultation with a Florida Inheritance Dispute Lawyer at Adrian Philip Thomas, P.A., please call (800) 249-8125 to schedule a free consultation.

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Tampa Probate Lawyer

Written by on Apr 13, 2012| Posted in: General

Tampa Probate Lawyer Probate lawyers in Tampa share the same concerns as probate lawyers throughout the State of Florida – lawsuits involving wills, trusts, estates, guardianships and other elder law matters.  Tampa is a part of the metropolitan area most-commonly referred to as the Tampa Bay Area and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater. This four-county area is composed of roughly 2.7 million residents, a substantial number of whom are elderly.  Accordingly, trust and will litigation, probate and guardianship disputes, and other elder law matters arise on a frequent basis.  The attorneys at Adrian Philip Thomas, P.A. find themselves litigating in Tampa almost as much as any other area in Florida.  Mr. Thomas is a well-respected Florida litigation probate and trust attorney and is the managing partner of his boutique, nine-attorney Fort Lauderdale law firm.  Our firm video demonstrates the commitment we have to our clients.  To learn more about our law firm, please […]

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What is guardianship?

Written by on Mar 13, 2012| Posted in: General

Guardianship is a legal proceeding in which a guardian is appointed to exercise the legal rights of a disabled or incapacitated person.  In Florida, the circuit courts have jurisdiction over guardianship matters.  The disabled or incapacitated person is referred to as the “ward.”  There are several different types of disability or incapacity, including:  being a minor child with no living parents, being a mentally ill or handicapped adult, being an elderly person with dementia, being disabled by injury (for example a stroke), being so impaired by substance abuse that the person is effectively disabled.  In general, a person is “disabled” for guardianship purposes if the person is unable to conduct his or her personal or business affairs or lacks the physical or mental capacity to care for his or her support needs, which may be due to minority (under 18), old age, illness, substance abuse, mental illness, birth defect, traumatic […]

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