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 action may be taken.  To take action against an employee, service by formal notice is required.


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