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Showing posts from September, 2014

Brown v. Brown

Brown v. Brown, 39 Fla. L. Weekly D.1949a
In this case, the circuit court relied on the report of a magistrate regarding the ownership of certain joint and pay-on-death ("POD") accounts of a decedent.  The circuit court held that both the joint and POD accounts were includable in the decedent's estate, to be distributed pursuant to the terms of the will. 
The Appellate Court affirmed the order as to the joint accounts, but reversed as to the POD accounts, pointing to the differing statutes governing the ownership of these types of accounts in making its distinction.  The Court held that the magistrate was correct to rely on F.S. 655.79 as to the joint accounts, and upheld the magistrate's holding that F.S. 655.79 creates a presumption that title to a joint deposit account vests in the surviving owners, but that presumption may be overcome with clear and convincing proof of contrary intent.  Since the magistrate found that there was clear and convincing evidence that th…

Grasso v. Grasso (II)

Grasso v. Grasso, 143 So.3d 1050 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014), 2014 WL 3613192


Just a short and sweet update on this Friday morning.  An additional decision has come down in the Grasso v. Grasso matter.  The Court reversed a cost/fee order entered by the trial court which taxed costs against cotrustees of a trust individually, where the complaint asserted no claims against the cotrustees in their individual capacities (even though complaint's caption did name them as individuals).

Friscia v. Friscia

Friscia v. Friscia, 161 So.3d 513 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014), 2014 WL 4212689
Again we have a probate case involving the intersection between probate and family law, this time with the added twist of Florida homestead law.  This case involved a determination of whether a decedent's interest in a home was homestead based upon the provisions of the decedent's marital settlement agreement with his first wife.  
The decedent's marital settlement agreement gave his first wife exclusive use and possession of their marital home until their youngest child graduated from high school.  At that time, the decedent and his first wife were required to sell the marital home and split the proceeds.  The decedent died before his youngest son graduated from high school, and thus the probate court held that the decedent owned the home as a tenant in common with his first wife and his interest retained its homestead status, relying on the Third Districts decision in Beltran v. Kalb, 63 So.3d 783 (Fla. …

Jaffe v. Jaffe

Jaffe v. Jaffe, 147 So.3d 578 (Fla. 3d DCA 2014), 2014 WL 4212741
This guardianship case dealt with, among other things, the award of attorney's fees and costs in a guardianship proceeding.  The trial court, using the criteria detailed in F.S. 744.108(2)(a)-(i), made a determination of a reasonable hourly attorney's fee and found it appropriate to reduce the attorney's fees to a specified amount, plus costs, which it found reasonable given the circumstances.  It reserved jurisdiction to tax the costs of the attorney's expert witness who testified on the issue of attorney's fees.
The Court found that the attorney had put on competent substantial evidence to justify her attorney's fees.  Not only did she present the testimony of an expert regarding the reasonableness of her fees, but she also presented her own sworn testimony regarding her hours and costs spent on the guardianship matter.  The Court found that the trial court's reduction in attorney's fees …