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Florida Probate Blog

Author: Michele M. Thomas

Adrian Thomas Attorney

Written by on Mar 8, 2012| Posted in: Estate Litigation

Adrian Thomas Attorney Attorney Adrian Thomas is a shareholder and senior partner of a boutique, nine-attorney law firm located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He has resided in Florida for the past thirty years and has practiced law in Broward County for the past 18 years. Adrian Thomas is “AV” rated by Martindale Hubbell and has been selected as one of Florida’s Legal Elite by Florida Trend Magazine in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.  Attorney Adrian Thomas concentrates his practice in estate litigation, both prosecuting and defending, which includes matters involving estates, trusts, probate, and guardianship. He represents clients with disputes throughout the State of Florida.

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Adrian Philip Thomas

Written by on Mar 3, 2012| Posted in: Estate Litigation

Attorney Adrian Philip Thomas is a shareholder and founding partner of the Law Offices of Adrian Philip Thomas, P.A., a boutique, nine-attorney law firm located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He has resided in Florida for the past thirty years and has practiced law in Broward County for the past 18 years. Mr. Thomas is “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell and has been selected as one of Florida’s Legal Elite by Florida Trend Magazine in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Mr. Thomas concentrates his practice in estate litigation, both prosecuting and defending, which includes matters involving estates, trusts, probate, and guardianship. He represents clients with disputes throughout the State of Florida. Attorney Adrian Philip Thomas has a Masters in Law from the University of Miami, a Juris Doctor from Nova Southeastern University, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida. Attorney Adrian Philip Thomas has lectured at continuing legal education seminars […]

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Adrian Thomas Lawyer Rating

Written by on Feb 28, 2012| Posted in: Estate Litigation

LAWYER RATINGS Adrian Thomas has achieved the highest lawyer rating in Martindale-Hubbel. AV® Peer Review Rating — An AV® certification mark is a significant rating accomplishment – a testament to the fact that a lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence. A lawyer must be admitted to the bar for 10 years or more to receive an AV® rating. Adrian Thomas has achieved the highest lawyer rating on Avvo.  Adrian Thomas has been selected Florida Trend Legal Elite  for four consecutive years, 2008-2011. See comments from Adrian Thomas’s clients.    

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Florida Trust Decanting

Written by on Dec 29, 2011| Posted in: General

Florida Trust Decanting:  Phipps v. Palm Beach Trust Co., 196 So. 299 (Fla. 1940) and Florida Statute §736.04117 “Decanting” is the legal term used to describe the distribution of trust property from one trust to another trust pursuant to the trustee’s discretionary authority to make distributions to or for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries.  Common law provides authority for trust decanting, but several states – including Florida – have codified the common law.  Florida Statute §736.04117 became effective on July 1, 2007. Under common law, a trustee with absolute power to invade principal is the equivalent of a donee of a special power of appointment.  Restatement (Second) of Prop.: Donative Transfers §11.1  Absent a contrary provision in the governing document, a donee of a power of appointment may exercise such power in a manner which is less extensive than authorized by the instrument creating the power.  Thus, “the […]

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German Wills in Florida

Written by on Dec 7, 2011| Posted in: General

Recognition of a German Will in the USA (formal validity) by Jan-Hendrick Frank, Esq. This article provides an introduction to the recognition of German Wills in Florida. German Wills:  Formal requirement under German law Under the German Civil Code (“BGB”), the testator can choose between two forms of traditional wills (§2231 BGB): 1) The public or notarized will (§2232 BGB), and 2) the holographic or handwritten will (§2247 BGB). Witnesses are not required for the validity of a holographic or notarized will under German law. Unlike the U.S., witnessed wills are uncommon in Germany.   State of Florida According to 732.502 (2), Fla.Stat., a will must be in writing, signed by the testator and authenticated by two witnesses. A holographic will is without force or effect under Florida law. There is no regulation with regards to foreign wills. However, if the decedent died domiciled in Germany, it may be valid under the applicable […]

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What is the best way to find a good probate lawyer?

Written by on Dec 1, 2011| Posted in: General

Here are some tips to locate a good probate lawyer in Florida: Look at the experience level of the attorney. Does the lawyer focus their area of legal practice to probate, trusts and estates? Review the information on the firm’s Web site.  Does the information look relevant and focused? Ask for referrals…especially former clients. Contact The Florida Bar to confirm the lawyer is in good standing. Investigate whether the law firm has good infrastructure.  Ask about support staff, technology, billing practices and procedures for attorney/client communication.

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Trust Busting 101

Written by on Nov 7, 2011| Posted in: Trust Litigation

A potential client said, “you’re the lawyer who busts trusts.”  Busting a Florida trust was her non-lawyer way of describing trust termination/modification.  Florida law has three major trust code sections that allow a person to “bust a trust” (trust modification is the term lawyers use) in the event certain events or conditions occur. For example, 736.04113 of the Florida Trust Code provides for judicial modification of irrevocable trusts when modification is not inconsistent with settlor’s purpose. Some of the grounds that will allow judicial modification of an irrevocable trust include: (1) Upon the application of a trustee of the trust or any qualified beneficiary, a court at any time may modify the terms of a trust that is not then revocable in the manner provided in subsection (2), if: (a) The purposes of the trust have been fulfilled or have become illegal, impossible, wasteful, or impracticable to fulfill; (b) Because of circumstances not anticipated […]

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Palm Beach County Probate Attorney

Written by on Oct 27, 2011| Posted in: General

Palm Beach County Probate Attorney The lawyers of Adrian Philip Thomas, P.A. represent clients throughout the State of Florida, including Palm Beach County, Florida.  Palm Beach County, Florida is the largest county in the state of Florida in total area and third in population. As of 2010, the county’s estimated population was 1,320,134.  Palm Beach County is one of three counties comprising the South Florida metropolitan area. Its largest city and county seat is West Palm Beach.  Boca Raton is the second largest, having a population approaching 90,000 and Boynton Beach is the third largest city, with a population nearing 70,000 residents. With a large retirement population and wealthy coastal towns such as Palm Beach, Jupiter, Manalapan, and Boca Raton all within the Palm Beach County limits, it is Florida’s wealthiest county which makes it a haven for exploitation of the elderly, undue influence and fraudulent last will and testament cases. If you are […]

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Florida Elder Abuse Attorney

Written by on Sep 30, 2011| Posted in: General

Florida Elder Abuse Attorney An elder abuse attorney in Florida can mean many different things.  An elder abuse lawyer can refer to an elderly person being harmed in a nursing home or an elder abuse lawyer can mean a probate lawyer who is hired after or before death to correct an injustice done to an elderly citizen.  Our law firm receives inquires asking us to represent relatives who believed their love ones were financially exploited and they refer to this financial abuse as elder abuse.  Probate disputes perhaps always involve an old person being taken advantage of – the issue is whether a skilled probate lawyer can get the evidence to prove the financial exploitation.

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Florida Guardianship

Written by on Aug 10, 2011| Posted in: Guardianship Litigation

After a judicial hearing is held and the ward is found to “lack the capacity to manage some or all of his/her property or to meet at least some of the essential health and safety requirements of such person”(§ 744.102(12), Florida Statutes), the proceeding for an involuntary guardianship is implemented.  The Court may appoint either a plenary or limited guardian, depending on the extent and severity of the ward’s incapacity.  In a plenary guardianship, all of the Ward’s delegable rights are delegated to the guardian; no rights are reserved for the Ward.  § 744.102(9)(b), Florida Statutes.  These delegated rights are found in § 744.3215(3)(a-g) and include the following: to contract; to sue and defend lawsuits; to apply for government benefits; to manage property or to make any gift or disposition of property; to determine his or her residence; to consent to medical and mental health treatment; and to make decisions […]

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