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Showing posts from 2018

Boren v. Rogers

Boren v. Rogers, --- So.3d --- (Fla. 5th DCA 2018)
Writs of certiori are rarely available in discovery disputes, because in most cases, the harm caused by an improper ruling on discovery can be corrected on appeal.  Here, however, the trial court denied the plaintiff the ability to conduct discovery about a decedent's prior estate planning documents.  Her entire argument was based on the idea that she was a beneficiary of these prior estate planning documents, and therefore she had standing to contest certain newer documents that she believed were the product of undue influence. Because the trial court simply granted the defendant's motion for protective order, without making a finding of good cause that the discovery not be had, the Court granted the petition for writ of certiori and quashed the protective order. It noted that the trial court's order was insufficient because the document request was seeking items that could be admissible at trial and were reasonably calcul…

Cohen v. Shushan

Cohen v. Shushan, --- So.3d --- (Fla. 2d DCA 2017)
In Florida, a "surviving spouse" receives certain benefits- they can take an intestate share of the deceased spouse's estate and they may also be entitled to an elective share, family allowance, homestead and so on. Under principles of comity, Florida courts will recognize the marriage of citizens of a foreign country if that marriage was valid under foreign law.  Here, a surviving child of a decedent and a purported spouse of the decedent disagreed regarding whether a marriage would be deemed valid under Israel law, and as a result whether the marriage should be recognized by the Florida Probate Court for inheritance purposes.
After hearing expert testimony on Israeli law, the trial court held that because the surviving spouse would be considered the decedent's "reputed spouse" under Israeli law, she should take under Florida's intestacy law.  A "reputed spouse," translated from Hebrew, means &…

Landau v. Landau

Landau v. Landau, 230 So.3d 127 (Fla. 3d DCA 2017)

Normally, an injunction is considered to be a serious form of relief, and courts typically will not grant them unless a high burden is met.  Here, however, the Court upheld an injunction freezing trust assets, based on the probate court's "inherent jurisdiction" to protect the assets under its supervision. The Court held that in this case, where the Trustee, who was also a beneficiary of the trust, had been sued by a beneficiary for an accounting, breach of trust, and other causes of action, the Trustee's due process was not violated by an injunction order freezing the trust assets until the accounting was completed.