Showing posts from May, 2015

Simmons v. Estate of Baranowitz

Simmons v. Estate of Baranowitz , --- So.3d --- (Fla. 4th DCA 2015), 2015 WL 2089071 This case dealt with whether a court could order disgorgement of excessive fees from a personal representative's counsel individually, where the personal representative's counsel was not served by with formal notice.  The Court relied on its holding in Kozinski v. Stabenow (summary here ), where the court found that "the remedy of 'surcharge'...constituted an adversary proceeding requiring service by formal notice under the Florida Probate Rules in order for the probate court to have personal jurisdiction over her individually...." F.S. 733.6175 gives the court authority to review compensation paid to a personal representative's employee, and if it finds that excessive compensation was paid, to order that employee to make appropriate refunds.  But there is a distinction between the court's authority to act and the way the court notifies the employee that a

Megiel-Rollo v. Megiel

Megiel-Rollo v. Megiel , 162 So.3d 1088 (Fla. 2d DCA 2015) This case involved a dispute about whether a trust was subject to reformation under F.S. 736.0415.  The decedent died leaving behind three children.  Her will left the residue of her estate in equal shares to all three of her children.  Several years after executing the will, the decedent executed a revocable trust, and she transferred her home into that trust.  The trust provided that it was to terminate upon the death of the decedent, and the property should be distributed to the beneficiaries in accordance with their respective interests as set forth on an attached Schedule of Beneficiaries.  The only problem: the draftsman of the trust forgot to prepare the Schedule of Beneficiaries. One of the daughters filed a complaint against her siblings, arguing that the trust was void for lack of beneficiaries, and, therefore, the residence passed to the three siblings pursuant to the terms of the will. Another daughter coun

Pitcher v. Waldo

Pitcher v. Waldo , --- So.3d ---, 2015 WL 1334341 This case involved a dispute between the parents of a deceased child over a jury award to the survivors in a wrongful death suit.  The jury awarded the mother $1,000,000 and the father $100,000, and the father claimed that since the mother and the father had an agreement to split the award 60/40, he was entitled to relief pursuant to F.S. 733.815, which allows interested persons to agree to alter their shares of property from an estate .  The Court held that since the survivor's claims are for the survivor's sole benefit, they do not become part of the estate, and thus the probate court had no jurisdiction to adjudicate the dispute.