Posts

Showing posts from August, 2015

Goldman v. Estate of Goldman

Goldman v. Estate of Goldman, --- So.3d --- (Fla. 3d DCA 2015)

This decision deals with an award of attorney's fees and costs against a party without a finding of bad faith by the trial court.  An attorney, in her capacity as Guardian Ad Litem, inadvertently disclosed confidential financial and medical information of the ward to the ward's nieces and nephews.  The trial court held a hearing regarding sanctions against the nieces and nephews, and found that the file had been sent inadvertently and not in bad faith, but still imposed sanctions against them for obtaining the confidential information in violation of the court's confidentiality order.
The nephews and nieces appealed because the trial court did not make an express finding of bad faith conduct.  The Court agreed with the nephews and nieces that such a finding was necessary.  It cited the Moakley v. Smallwood decision, which held that the trial court has the inherent authority to impose fees against an attorney for …

Fiel v. Hoffman

Fiel v. Hoffman, 169 So.3d 1274 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015), 2015 WL 4549604
This case involved the effect of the Slayer Statute and undue influence on a murdered decedent's will.  The decedent was murdered by his wife, who also murdered the decedent's mother, to ensure that she and her family would receive the decedent's estate on his death.  The decedent's will provided that if the decedent's mother did not survive him, his estate would go to his wife.  If neither the mother or wife survived him, his estate would go to his wife's daughter by another marriage and her children.
The trial court held that the wife was not entitled to participate in the estate based on F.S. 732.802 (the "Slayer Statute"), and that the statute required the court to treat her as having predeceased her husband, leaving her daughter and her daughter's children, and not the decedent's intestate heirs, as the beneficiaries of the estate. But the trial court also held that the de…

In re Estate of Maldonado

In re Estate of Maldonado, --- So.3d --- (Fla. 5th DCA 2015)
In this case, the former spouse of a decedent appealed an order directing the personal representative to distribute the estate's assets and close the estate.  The decedent and his ex-wife divorced in 1993 in Puerto Rico, but the Puerto Rico order dissolving the marriage did not distribute the spouses' marital assets.  When the decedent died in 2005, his son sought to probate his will in Florida.  At the same time, the ex-wife filed suit in Puerto Rico seeking an award of marital assets.  She ultimately received a judgment for one-half of the marital assets.  
In 2006, the ex-wife filed a motion to intervene in the probate proceedings and an affidavit explaining the Puerto Rico judgment and her claim against the estate.  In 2007, she again filed a renewed motion to intervene and statement of claim.  The decedent's son objected to the claim as untimely, and in 2010 the court entered an order striking the 2007 claim. …