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Florida Court Declines To Find Trust Language “Ambiguous,” Despite Beneficiary’s Protests

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

When interpreting a trust, a Florida court’s goal is to understand and apply the intent of the settlor–the person who made the trust in the first place. A judge will typically not look outside of the plain language of the trust instrument unless there is some ambiguity that requires consideration of extrinsic (outside) evidence…. Read More »

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Guardianship2

How Having A Durable Power Of Attorney Can Affect Your Rights In Litigation

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

Under normal circumstances, a Florida power of attorney terminates when the principal becomes legally incapacitated. For example, if you sign a power of attorney giving your sister the power to manage your financial accounts, her authority ceases to exist if you fall into a coma. However, if you have a durable power of attorney,… Read More »

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PetTrust

Can You Actually Leave Your Estate To Your Cat Or Dog?

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

One of the urban legends you often hear about in probate circles is the wealthy person who left their entire fortune to their dog–or maybe their cat. While it sounds ridiculous on its face, there are people who actually believe this is legal. Of course, it is not. While your pet may be like… Read More »

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EstPlan20

What Is The Role Of A Guardian Ad Litem In Probate Litigation?

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

In probate litigation, there are often situations where a court will appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL). A GAL is basically an individual who represents the interests of someone who cannot legally speak for themselves, such as a deceased person (i.e., a decedent), a minor, or a living incapacitated adult. A GAL is not… Read More »

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InheritanceLaw

What Is The “Inheritance Tort”?

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

If a will is procured by fraud or duress, a Florida probate court can invalidate the document in whole or in part. But what about a situation where a potential beneficiary claimed it was denied a promised inheritance due to a third party’s fraud or duress? Can that third party be held legally responsible… Read More »

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ElderLaw2

What Is Considered Exploitation Of The Elderly Under Florida Law?

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

Florida has comprehensive laws designed to protect the elderly and disabled from physical, psychological, and even fiscal harm. For example, Section 825.103 of the Florida Statutes addresses “exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult.” An elderly person is defined here as a person who is at least 60 or is otherwise suffering from… Read More »

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TrustDocuments

How Does A Spendthrift Trust Protect Against Certain Creditor Claims?

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

The function of a trust is to hold certain assets for the benefit of one or more persons. In a typical estate planning trust, for example, a trustee will hold assets for a parent to be distributed to their children at a specified later date. But what if one of the children has a… Read More »

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Florida Appellate Courts Divided Over Insurer’s Liability For Late Claims Against Probate Estate

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

Florida law promotes the timely settlement of probate estates. To that end, the state imposes a number of deadlines on creditors who wish to file claims against the personal representative of an estate. In most cases, a creditor must present a claim within three months of the personal representative’s publication of a formal notice… Read More »

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Dispute

The Potential Risks Of A Probate Estate With Multiple Personal Representatives

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

The personal representative (or executor) is the person responsible for administering a Florida probate estate. When the deceased left a will, that document will typically nominate someone to serve as personal representative, often a spouse, adult child, or other close relative or friend. In most cases, there is only one person named to serve… Read More »

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What Is The Time Limit For Enforcing A Contract Against A Deceased Person’s Estate?

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

A person’s death does not necessarily terminate all of their contractual obligations. The other parties to the contract may seek performance from the probate estate of the deceased, and even take legal action if necessary to remedy a breach. That said, basic principles of contract law still apply and may provide a valid defense… Read More »

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