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Probate & Guardianship

Probate & Guardianship


Chaffin v. Overstreet,
982 So. 2d 11 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008).»
Levine v. Levine,
4 So. 3d 730 (Fla. 5th DCA 2009).»

Reversed judgment provisions that violated constitutional due process guarantee.

Chaffin, a co-trustee with Overstreet, brought an action to remove Overstreet as a trustee of a family trust. In denying the requested removal, the trial court went further and ruled that Chaffin lacked the authority to sell certain real property that was not a part of the family trust; issued rulings concerning other trusts; and required yearly accountings for the trusts and probate estates.

Ms. Lippincott effectively represented Chaffin on appeal. The Fifth District upheld the denial of the petition to remove Overstreet as a co-trustee, but it reversed all other provisions of the order, finding the trial court had acted outside of its jurisdiction, and in violation of Chaffin’s due process rights. In addition, the Fifth District found no evidence of any abuse of Chaffin’s discretion as trustee, or any action taken out of improper motives.

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Protected dismissal of petition to determine a person’s incapacity.

A son petitioned the trial court to have his father declared incapacitated. A majority of the examining committee appointed to evaluate the father, found he was not incapacitated, and the trial court dismissed the son’s petition. The son appealed.

Ms. Lippincott successfully represented the father and his daughter on appeal. The Fifth District found that Florida Statute §744.331 (2008) does not require an evidentiary hearing. Rather, the trial court is required to dismiss a petition for incapacity once a majority of the examining committee finds the challenged person is not incapacitated.

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