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Florida Probate Blog

Author: Jeffrey S. Bunin

Mediation and Settlement Agreements

Written by on Oct 13, 2015| Posted in: General

Misrepresentations by Tortfeasor During Mediation: Fool Me Once… So you’ve sued someone for undue influence, tortious interference with expectancy of inheritance or a similar tort grounded upon fraud. It is well-settled in Florida that such causes of action are based upon fraud and must be pled with specificity. Although the Florida Supreme Court did acknowledge in In re Carpenter’s Estate, 253 So.2d 697 (Fla. 1971) that undue influence by its very nature is committed in secret and thus is not susceptible to direct proof, plaintiffs are faced with another dilemma when trying to settle undue influence cases at mediation: “What else did the defendant do that we don’t know about?” Deciding whether and upon what terms to settle a case is often difficult enough, so the unknown only makes it even more difficult when contemplating whether to give the defendant a full general release. While Florida law does provide a […]

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Can I do whatever I want with a power of attorney?

Written by on Oct 15, 2012| Posted in: General

This question seems to be arising more and more often lately.  Most estate planning attorneys recommend their clients create a durable power of attorney (DPA), naming a close, trusted family member (usually a spouse or adult child) to serve in the capacity as their attorney-in-fact to manage their finances and other personal business in the event of temporary or permanent incapacity.  It’s a very smart estate planning tool for obvious reasons, but it is also one that is extremely susceptible to abuse by the attorney-in-fact.  After all, the activities of an attorney-in-fact are not court-monitored or approved, which makes it very enticing for one to help themselves. Over the past couple years, there seems to have been a significant rise in the number of lawsuits filed in Florida for breach of fiduciary duty arising from self-dealing conduct with DPA’s.  What’s more is that many lawyers are taking the position in […]

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Adoption and Inheritance

Written by on May 3, 2011| Posted in: General

Adoption:  Inheriting From Both Sets of Parents.  Can You Really Have It Both Ways? Every year, thousands of orphaned children are adopted by foster families nation-wide.  Most of them lead normal lives with their adoptive families, not giving much thought about their natural parents.  After all, in most cases, the adoptive family is the only family they ever knew.  Now, for just a moment imagine that you are one of those children.  You live in Oregon where you were born (out of wedlock), adopted and raised; and you just discovered the shocking reality that your natural father never knew of your existence because your natural mother withheld the news of your birth from him resulting in your adoption without his consent.  Suddenly, the pre-conceptions you had about your real father (that he abandoned you) have vanished and are now replaced with questions about what would have been.  Then, you set […]

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