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Florida Probate, Trust and Estate Blog

Bad Faith Claim against Decedent’s Insurer not Subject to Creditor Claim Period

Can a claim for bad faith be maintained against a decedent’s insurance company, where the claimant failed to file a timely creditor claim against the estate?  A new Florida case says yes, the bad faith claim against the insurance company can be maintained.

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Can You Serve a Lawsuit By Facebook?

In the modern age, where communication can be done by way of text, tweet, email, or swipe, the ancient requirement to hand-serve a summons and complaint on a defendant seems quite anachronistic.  Courts and legislatures have been moving over time to reduce the burden of hand-serving new lawsuits.  In a new and somewhat surprising case, a New York court has allowed service by way of Facebook.

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Stranger Originated Life Insurance Survives Challenge in Florida

Stranger-originated life insurance (STOLI) is a scheme pursuant to which someone purchases life insurance on the life of another for whom the purchaser does not have an insurable interest on the life of the insured. 

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Federal Court Permitted to Hear Inheritance Dispute

A Federal court is permitted to hear an inheritance dispute, so long as the case does not run afoul of the probate exception, the Younger Abstention Doctrine, and the Colorado River Abstention Doctrine.

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How to Subpoena An Out of State Witness In New York For Florida Litigation?

Very often, especially in a probate, trust, or guardianship matter, a crucial witness will be out of state.  Routinely in Florida, for example, we find it necessary to take testimony of witnesses located in New York.  Under New York law, there are two methods for doing so.

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Federal Estate Planning Malpractice Case Dismissed for Lack of Privity

A recent federal estate planning malpractice case is dismissed because of the lack of "privity" between the plaintiff and the drafting attorney.

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Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing Cannot Add Terms to Contract

Florida law recognizes the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in all contracts, but not to add new or additional requirements into a contract. Meruelo v. Mark Andrew of Palm Beaches, Ltd., 12 So. 3d 247, 250 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009).  The covenant of good faith "must relate to the performance of an express term of the contract and is not an abstract and independent term of a contract which may be asserted as a source of breach when all other terms have been performed pursuant to the contract requirements." Id

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Florida Remedies for Joint Account Theft

A growing area of inheritance litigation is sibling feuds over bank accounts jointly titled in the names of a decedent's children.  In a common fact pattern, one sibling absconds with the account after the parent's death and refuses to share the account with the other joint account owners. Fortunately, Florida law provides a remedy to the joint account holders who are victimized by this conduct.   

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Power of Attorney Not Authorized for Self Dealing

A power of attorney is a legal document is a legal document delegating authority from one person to another.  Recently, the Supreme Court of South Dakota provided yet another example of how important the language contained within this document truly is. Studt v. Black Hills Federal Credit Union, 2015 SD 33.  While a power of attorney has many uses and legal effects, certain powers, if desired, must be expressly spelled-out.

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Estate Planning Malpractice: South Carolina Adopts Expanded Rule of Liability

The rules for estate planning malpractice vary widely across the country, as different jurisdictions have struggled with how much "privity" is enough for an "intended" beneficiary of an estate plan to sue the estate planning attorney.

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