Blogs from October, 2020

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Tittle v. Dahm, October 14, 2020 — So.3d —, 2020 WL 6053264 (Undue Influence Factors)

It was refreshing to read the brief and concise Title v Dahm opinion recently issued by the Third District Court of Appeals concluding “the factors delineated in In Re Estate of Carpenter, 253 So.2d 697, 702 (Fla. 1971), are not exhaustive, but merely illustrative, designed to “aid trial judges in looking for those warning signals pointing to active procurement of a will by a beneficiary.”  Too often, attorneys and courts conflate the Carpenter factors with the elements of the cause of action for undue influence.   Undue influence must amount to over persuasion, duress, force, coercion, or artful or fraudulent contrivances to such a degree that there is the destruction of free agency and willpower.  Jordan v Noll, 423 So.2d 368 (Fla. 1st DCA 1982).  The Carpenter factors create a presumption of undue influence shifting the burden of proof from the plaintiff to the alleged undue influencer.  Moreover, the seven factors specifically enumerated in the Carpenter decision are not exhaustive.  

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