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Showing posts from July, 2015

Flegal v. Guardianship of Swistock

Flegal v. Guardianship of Swistock, 169 So.3d 278 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015), 2015 WL 4269079
This case centered around the ownership of stock shares and due process within a guardianship proceeding.  The dispute arose over the ownership of stock shares which were initially purchased by a father and his daughters as joint tenants with right of survivorship.
Prior to his incapacity, the father sued his daughters in Pennsylvania over ownership of these shares.  He claimed even though he had transferred the shares to his daughters as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, he did not actually intend to gift the stock to them.  As evidence of this intent, he established that he had paid for the stock, kept possession of the certificates, retained all dividends and paid income taxes on the dividends.  He asked the daughters to sign the stock back to him, but they refused, so he sought a declaration that he was the sole owner of the stock.
While this litigation was pending, the daughters filed a p…

Brown v. Brown

Brown v. Brown, 169 So.3d 286 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015), 2015 WL 4269921
This decision serves as a nice reminder about a court's jurisdiction over real property.  A circuit court in an estate proceeding cannot direct a personal representative to divide and distribute a decedent's real estate in another state, since the court lacks in rem jurisdiction to order and partition the sale of that real property.  To properly partition out of state real property, a personal representative is required to open an ancillary action in that state.  F.S. 64.022.

Carroll v. Israelson

Carroll v. Israelson, 169 So.3d 239 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015), 2015 WL 3999486
The focus of this case was the applicability of F.S. 732.507(2), dealing with the effect of divorce on a decedent's will which included a devise to his former spouse and a trust for her family.
The decedent and his former spouse divorced one month before his death. Understandably, at the time of his death, he had not yet changed his estate plan to remove his former spouse from his will.  At his death, the will provided for the residuary of his estate to pass to his former spouse, and if she predeceased him, to a family trust created under her revocable trust.  The former spouse's revocable trust gave her the right to receive income and principal from the trust and to revoke or modify the trust at any time.  Upon her death, a family trust would be created for the benefit of her niece and nephew.
 At the time of their divorce, the decedent and his former spouse entered into a marital settlement agreement in wh…

Pierre v. Brown

Pierre v. Brown, 169 So.3d 262 (Fla. 3d DCA 2015), 2015 WL 4111330
In this guardianship fee dispute, the Court affirmed a harsh result for a successor guardian who incurred fees in cleaning up a mess created by the initial guardian.
The initial guardian of the ward incurred over $200,000 in fees.  That prior guardian secured assets of the ward, repaired a residence the ward inherited from his mother, reduced the mother's funeral bill and recovered compensation paid to a disbarred attorney.  These actions resulted in a deposit of $150,000 into a trust for the ward, on top of the ward's $78.40/month disability income and $1,400/month rental income from the real property.  Virtually all of the wards assets were paid out as fees to the initial guardian.
Once the successor guardian was appointed, he discovered that no tax returns had been filed for the ward since 2004, and the income tax obligations of the mother's estate and real estate taxes were never paid.  The successor guard…