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Category Archives: Estate Trust Litigation

Planning3

How Does A Trust Help Me Avoid Probate?

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

Trusts are often described as legal vehicles to “avoid probate.” But what does that mean exactly? And why should anyone want to avoid probate in the first place? What Is Probate? Let’s start by defining probate. This refers to the process of administering a deceased person’s estate. A probate estate includes any assets that… Read More »

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MeetAtty

Why Do Probate Estates Need To Publish A “Notice To Creditors”?

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

Even in the age of social media, when government officials announce decisions on Twitter and Facebook, there are still some legal formalities that require the use of an old-fashioned printed newspaper. One such example is the “Notice to Creditors” that must be published for every Florida probate estate. Perhaps you have seen such notices… Read More »

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Guardianship

The Limits Of The Federal Probate Exception

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

Federal courts often exercise what is known as diversity jurisdiction over civil litigation. “Diversity” in this context refers to a diversity in where the parties live. For example, if you are a Florida resident and sue a Georgia resident, even under Florida law, the defendant has the right to invoke diversity jurisdiction and have… Read More »

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DocKeysMoney

The Personal Representative’s Role In Collecting Money Owed To An Estate

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

When administering a probate estate, the personal representative may need to take legal action to collect any money or property owed to the estate. The personal representative has the same right to sue or be sued as the decedent. At the same time, the personal representative is also bound by any contractual arrangement signed… Read More »

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EstPlan23

What Is The Role Of A Trust Protector?

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

Trust litigation frequently involved challenges to the mental competency of the settlor, i.e., the person who originally created the trust. But a recent Arizona appeals court decision addressed a more interesting question: Is it possible to exercise undue influence over a settlor such that he improperly influences the actions of the person charged with… Read More »

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AssetP4

Florida’s Fiduciary Access To Digital Assets Act

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

Florida was one of the first states to adopt a comprehensive “Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act.” This law covers not just situations where an authorized person–i.e., the personal representative of a probate estate–seeks to access data belonging to a deceased user, but also someone acting as a legal guardian for a minor or… Read More »

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Executor

Who Will Be Named Executor Of An Estate If There Is No Will?

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

The appointment of a personal representative is one of the most important steps in the process of administering a probate estate. If the deceased individual–known in legal terms as the decedent–left a will, then that document will typically nominate a personal representative. But what happens when there is no will? How does the probate… Read More »

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CoupleEstate

Why Would An Estate Be Turned Over to The State Of Florida?

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

According to some surveys, approximately two-thirds of U.S. adults do not have a will. Dying with no will is not necessarily a problem. Florida has intestacy laws to provide for such situations. The general rule is that an intestate estate–i.e., any probate property not disposed of by will–is first divided among the spouse and… Read More »

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Legal6

Florida Appeals Court: Trust Beneficiaries Must File Separate Lawsuit To Challenge Trust Accounting

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

Sometimes, trust litigation is the result of an incomplete or poorly drafted trust instrument. Take this recent decision from the Florida First District Court of Appeal, Stokes v. Jones. This is part of an ongoing lawsuit involving the trustees and beneficiaries of a trust created by a now-deceased settlor. The settlor had named her… Read More »

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ReadingDocument

Is An Estate Bound By A Prenuptial Agreement?

By Mark R. Manceri, P.A. |

Engaged couples often sign prenuptial (or antenuptial) agreements in contemplation of marriage. Although most people associate such agreements with divorce, they can also make provisions for what happens in the event either spouse dies while the parties are still married. For example, a prenup might provide each spouse waives certain rights they might have… Read More »

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