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Boca Raton Trust and Probate Litigation
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Florida Trust Litigation

Some people use trusts to provide for the distribution of their assets at death, or during life, rather than a will.  The primary difference in using a trust to provide for the disposition of assets, and using a will for that purpose, is that the administration of the will through probate is supervised by a court.  The trustee named in the trust document typically handles the administration of the trust after the death of the trustmaker.

If you need the assistance of an experienced Florida probate lawyer for trust litigation, please contact us toll free at 1-866-510-9099.

Other than avoiding the probate process, the same principals of law apply to the administration of trusts as are applicable to wills.  A trust that is used to provide for the distribution of assets after death must be signed with the same formalities as a will.  The trustmaker (formally called the “grantor” or “settlor”) is subject to the same requirements for legal capacity, competence, and being free of undue influence, as a person making a will.  The language of a trust document, just as with a will, may be subject to varying interpretations.  The trust document is also subject to Florida’s elective share statutes.  The trustee of a trust owes the beneficiaries of the trust the same fiduciary duty that a personal representative owes to the heirs and beneficiaries of a probate estate.

Trust litigation lawyers and attorneys are experienced in the representation of trustees, beneficiaries, or others, who may challenge a trust or the actions of a trustee for any of the following reasons:

     1.     Improper trust formation or failure to sign the trust with proper witnesses, notary, or other formal requirements

     2.     Lack of capacity of the trustmaker

     3.     Undue influence over the trustmaker

     4.     Distribution of assets in violation of Florida Statutes, including the spousal elective share

     5.     Judicial interpretation of unclear, confusing, or ambiguous language in the trust document

     6.     Trust reformation or modification

     7.     Breach of fiduciary duty by the trustee for

             a.       Failure to make proper or timely distributions

             b.      Failure to make proper or timely accountings

             c.       Failure to administer the trust in the manner required by the trust document

             d.      Failure to follow the prudent investor rule or making improper investments

             e.       Self dealing

             f.        Excessive trustee compensation

A beneficiary, or prospective beneficiary, in Florida, may also file a lawsuit in Florida probate court against one who interferes with that beneficiary’s expected lifetime gift or distribution at death. The prospective beneficiary must show that the deceased person had a specific intent to make the gift or distribution, and that the deceased person would have made the gift or distribution but for the actions of the other individual.  Such lawsuits are filed in the circuit court with jurisdiction by filing with the clerk of the court.

Florida Statutes provide that someone who successfully contests a trust, or the actions of a trustee, generally can recover attorney’s fees and costs of litigation from the trust estate.



Attorney's fees for trust litigation lawyers and attorneys who typically represent those contesting a trust or defend trustees of trusts, is usually on an hourly fee basis.  In some circumstances, they may agree to represent someone contesting a trust, or the actions of a trustee, for an attorney's fee based on a contingent fee.

If you feel you have a legitimate complaint about the actions of a trustee, or the terms of a trust, or whether the trust is valid under the Florida trust code, or if you are a surviving spouse who was not treated fairly by the terms of a trust, or if you are a trustee accused of improper conduct in the exercise of your trustee’s responsibilities, please contact an experienced trust litigation attorney or lawyer so they can assist you in protecting your rights and actions.

This material represents general legal information. Since the law is continually changing, some provisions may be out of date. It is always best to consult an estate planning attorney, trust litigation attorney, or probate lawyer about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding your particular case.

 

Florida Counties and cities in which Boca Raton Florida estate planning, probate, trust litigation, probate litigation, elder law, guardianship, wills & trusts, asset protection, Medicaid planning lawyers and attorneys offer Boca Raton Florida estate planning, trust and probate litigation, elder law, guardianship, trust administration, asset protection, and probate services:

Alachua

Gainesville, Alachua, Hawthorne, High Springs, Waldo, Newberry, Micanopy

Bay

Panama City, Panama City, Beach, Lynn Haven, Youngstown

Baker

Macclenny, Glen Saint Mary

Bradford

Starke, Brooker, Hampton

Brevard

Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island, Titusville, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cape Canaveral, Satellite Beach, Rockledge, Barefoot Bay, Indialantic, Malabar

Broward

Ft. Lauderdale, Davie, Sunrise, Weston, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Hollywood, Hallendale, Plantation, Dania Beach, Coconut Creek, Deerfield Beach, Lauderhill, Lighthouse Point, Margate, Miramar, Oakland Park, Pembroke Pines, Tamarac, Wilton Manors, Hillsboro Beach, Pembroke Park, Cooper City, Port Everglades, Sea Ranch Lakes, Southwest Ranches

Calhoun

Blountstown

Charlotte

Punta Gorda, Charlotte, Port Charlotte, Palm Island

Citrus

Crystal River, Homosassa Springs, Inverness

Clay

Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Keystone Heights, Penny Farms

Collier

Naples, Marco Island, Everglades City, Golden Gate, Immokalee, Palm River Estates, Ochopee

Columbia

Lake City, Fort White

DeSoto

Arcadia, Brownville, Fort Ogden, Hull, Pine Level, Platt

Dixie

Cross City, Horseshoe Beach, Old Town

Duval

Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach

Escambia

Pensacola

Flagler

Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, Bunnell, Beverly Beach, Marineland

Franklin

Apalachicola

Gadsden

Quincy, Chattahoochee

Gilchrest

Trenton

Glades

Moorehaven

Gulf

Port St. Joe, Wewahitchka

Hamilton

Jasper, White Springs

Hardee

Wauchula

Hendry

Clewiston, LaBelle

Hernando

Brooksville, Weeki Wachi

Highlands

Avon Park, Sebring, Lake Placid, Leisure Lakes

Hillsborough

Tampa, Plant City, Temple Terrace, Apollo Beach, Brandon, Lutz, Ruskin, Sun City Center, Riverview, Dover, Thonotosassa, Ybor City

Holmes

Bonifay

Indian River

Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, Fellsmere, Sebastian

Jackson

Marianna

Jefferson

Monticello

Lafayette

Mayo

Lake

Altoona, Clermont, Eustis, Fruitland Park, Lady lake, Leesburg, Minneola, Mount Dora, Tavares, Umatilla

Lee County

Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, Boca Grande, Estero, San Carlos Park, Lehigh Acres, Waterway Estates

Leon

Tallahassee

Levy

Bronson, Cedar Key, Chiefland, Williston, Yankeetown

Liberty

Bristol

Madison

Madison

Manatee

Bradenton, Anna Maria Island, Bradenton, Holmes Beach, Longboat Key, Palmetto, Myakka City

Marion

Ocala, Leesburg, Belleview, Citra, Dunnellon, Salt Springs, Weirsdale

Martin

Stuart, Sewall’s Point, Hobe Sound, Jensen Beach, Jupiter Island, Ocean Breeze Park, Palm City

Miami-Dade

Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, South Miami, Kendall, Homestead, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Miami Beach, Hialeah, Miami Shores, Miami Lakes, Aventura, Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands, Hialeah Gardens, Key Biscayne, Pinecrest, Surfside, Cutler Bay, Doral, Golden Beach, Indian Village, Islandia, Medley, Miami Gardens, North Bay Village, Sunny Isles Beach, Sweetwater, Virginia Gardens, Florida City, Goulds, Biscayne Park

Monroe

Key West, Islamorada, Key Largo, Marathon, Big Pine Key, Key Colony Beach, Sugarloaf Key, Tavernier

Nassau

Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Hilliard, Yulee, Callahan

Okaloosa

Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Cinco Bayou, Destin, Shalimar Valparaiso

Okeechobee

Okeechobee

Orange

Orlando, Lake Buena Vista, Apopka, Edgewood, Maitland, Ocoee, Windemere, Winter Garden, Winter Park, Zellwood

Osceola

Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Celebration

Palm Beach

Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, North Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Greenacres, Highland Beach, Hypoluxo, Juno Beach, Jupiter, Lake Park, Lantana, Ocean Ridge, Palm Beach Gardens, Royal Palm Beach, Wellington, Pahokee, Tequesta, Riviera Beach, Loxahatchee, Manalapan, Ocean Ridge, Glen Ridge

Pasco

New Port Richey, Bayonet Point, Gulf Harbors, Dade City, Holiday, Hudson, Land O’Lakes, Odessa, St. Leo, Zephyrhills

Pinellas

St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Dunedin, Gulfport, Largo, Oldsmar, Pinellas Park, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Treasure Island, Belleair, Madeira Beach, North Redington Beach, Seminole, Indian Rocks Beach                  

Polk

Lakeland, Auburndale. Bartow, Eagle Lake, Fort Meade, Haines City, Lake Alfred, Lake Wales, Winter Haven, Frostproof, Polk City, Highland Park, Indian Lake Estates

Putnam

Palatka, Interlachen

Santa Rosa

Gulf Breeze, Milton

Sarasota

Sarasota, Longboat Key, North Port, Venice

Seminole

Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, Lake Mary, Longwood, Oviedo, Sanford, Winter Springs

St. Johns

St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach, Nocatee, Crescent City, Melrose, Pomona Park, Welaka

St. Lucie

Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie

Sumter

Wildwood, Bushnell, The Villages

Suwannee

Live Oak

Taylor

Perry, Steinhatchee

Union

Lake Butler

Volusia

Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Deland, Deltona, Edgewater, Holly Hill, Ponce Inlet, Port Orange

Wakulla

 

Walton

DeFuniak Springs, Seaside

Washington

Chipley

 

 

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