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Marvel Lawsuit Against Artists’ Estate Highlights Issue Of Copyright After Death

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe recently took note of a lawsuit filed by Marvel against the estates of several deceased comic book artists. The lawsuit was prompted by an obscure provision of U.S. law that allows authors–and their probate estates–to reclaim copyrights that were previously assigned to a third party. Marvel, a subsidiary… Read More »

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EstPlan9

What Leads To A “Rebuttable Presumption” Of Undue Influence In Procuring A Will?

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

A will is invalid if it can be proven that the document was procured by “undue influence.” The Florida Supreme Court has long held that there is a “rebuttable presumption” of undue influence when a “substantial beneficiary” of a proposed will had a “confidential relationship” with the testator and used that relationship to “actively… Read More »

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Legal26

What Is The Deadline For Someone To Claim An “Elective Share” Of Their Spouse’s Estate?

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

Florida law provides that the surviving spouse may claim an “elective share” of their deceased spouse’s estate, notwithstanding any contrary provisions in the decedent’s estate planning documents. In simple terms, a person cannot fully disinherit their own spouse. The elective share is equal to 30 percent of the “elective estate,” which includes not just… Read More »

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Couple

How Do Florida Courts Deal With Inheritance Claims From “Illegitimate” Children?

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

Florida law makes no distinction between “legitimate” or “illegitimate” children when it comes to inheritance rights. Any biological child of a deceased individual has the same right to inherit from the parent’s estate if they died without leaving a valid will or trust. Of course, a parent is free to disinherit an adult child… Read More »

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Dispute

Do Probate Courts Resolve Disputes Over Life Insurance Policies?

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

A question we often get is, “Is my life insurance policy considered part of my estate?” In terms of a probate estate, the answer is usually “no.” Life insurance policies typically have a named beneficiary, such as a spouse of a child. Upon the insured person’s death, the insurance company will simply pay any… Read More »

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SignWill

How A Prenuptial Agreement Can Affect A Surviving Spouse’s Inheritance Rights

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements often play a key role in probate litigation. Although most people associate such agreements with divorce, they also typically govern one spouse’s rights in the event of the other spouse’s death. For example, a prenuptial agreement may waive a spouse’s homestead rights under Florida law in the marital home. As… Read More »

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CoupleEstate

The Law Governing Removal Of Trustees In Florida

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

When setting up a living trust, the settlor usually retains the right to appoint or remove the trustee during their lifetime. After the settlor’s death, a Florida judge can also remove a trustee for a number of reasons, including “unfitness” to serve. The judge may also consider the wishes of the trust’s beneficiaries in… Read More »

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Trusts

What Happens If An Heir Hunter Or “Long Lost” Relative Claims A Share Of A Probate Estate?

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

Many people fail to make a will before they die. One common reason is the belief that since state law gives their estate to their next of kin anyways, a will is simply unnecessary. And in many cases that is true. But then you come across a situation where a previously unknown or “long… Read More »

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Legal7

Understanding A Trustee’s Duty To File Trust Accountings

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

The trustee of a trust is accountable to the beneficiaries of that trust. In this context, accountability means that Florida law requires the trustee to provide any “relevant information” regarding the trust to the beneficiaries. This includes an annual accounting of the trust’s assets. Section 736.08135 of the Florida Statutes provides the general framework… Read More »

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Will7

What Do I Do If I Suspect Will Forgery?

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

Many people are surprised, if not shocked, to learn that they inherited nothing from a family member’s estate. In some cases the excluded family member may suspect the will itself was forged or tampered with in some way. Although will forgery is rare, it does happen. So what steps should you take if you… Read More »

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