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Florida Probate, Trust and Estate Blog

Forum Non Conveniens in Federal Probate Litigation

The forum non conveniens doctrine allows a court to defer its jurisdiction where principles of justice and convenience favor the action being brought in another forum.  In a recent federal probate dispute involving a billionaire's global assets and the imposition of foreign law, a federal district court dismissed the dispute on forum non conveniens grounds.

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Florida Slayer Statute in Federal Interpleader

Most states, including Florida, have a "slayer statute," which denies an inheritance to a beneficiary who killed the deceased person.  But is a murder conviction required to trigger a slayer statute?  A recent Federal opinion holds that a murder conviction is not required, only that the court determine it "more likely than not" that the person wrongfully caused the death of the decedent.

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Personal Representative Cannot Waive Privilege Between Guardian and Attorney

A recent federal case holds that the personal representative of an estate cannot waive the attorney-client privilege between a guardian and the guardian's attorney.

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Can a RICO Claim be Brought Against an Executor of an Estate?

The Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO") can be used as a civil remedy in instances of a pattern of significant criminal activity.  RICO provides for treble damages.  The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently ruled that RICO claims can be brought in connection with unlawful activities by an executor or personal representative, in connection with the estate of the father and financial backer of noted fashion designer Vera Wang. 

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Probate Exception Applies to Remand of Turnover Action

Federal courts will not hear disputes over property in the custody of the state probate courts. In Pollok v. The Vanguard Group, Inc., Case No.: 8:16-cv-836 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 22, 2016), the Administrator—Personal Representative or Executor, an estate fiduciary depending on which state you are located in, filed a petition in the California probate court seeking a Turnover of Estate Property.  A turnover action is just as it sounds; it seeks the return of property being held by another, in this case a financial institution.

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Pleading Florida’s Long-Arm Statute in Federal Trust Dispute

In order to resolve issues regarding personal jurisdiction the Court will typically analyze two questions.  First, whether personal jurisdiction exists over the non-resident defendant under Florida’s long-arm statute. And, second, whether that exercise of jurisdiction would violate the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

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How to Obtain Injunctive Relief to Freeze Assets in Federal Court

When suing over issues of personal property, such as golds coins, the plaintiff might want to ensure that the gold coins are not dissipated prior to the outcome of the case.  A Federal court will issue temporary injunctive relief upon a proper showing of entitlement.  A recent order from the Southern District of Florida reinforces the importance of properly pleading one's case in Federal court. 

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Trust Beneficiaries Not Indispensable Party in Trust Lawsuit Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19

The lawyers of Clark Skatoff recently prevailed in motion practice on a Federal indispensable party issue in a trust dispute.  The plaintiff, represented by Jeffrey Skatoff, sued to invalidate a trust.  

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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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Non Probate Asset Controlled by Beneficiary Designation, Not the Will

Can a court, carrying out the terms of a will, control the disposition of a non-probate asset?  A recent federal case explains that non-probate assets are not controlled by the terms of a will, even if the will explicitly attempts to dispose of the asset.  Instead, if the non probate asset has a beneficiary designation, that beneficiary designation will control the disposition of the asset.

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