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Florida Attorneys Fees: alternative fee recovery agreements OK

Uncategorized Oct 10, 2013

Involved in Florida litigation involving wills, trusts and estates?  I’m sure that your attorney has advised you that should you lose, or not prevail, on one or more issues throughout the case, let alone your entire case or matter, you may be responsible for paying the other side’s attorney fees.  That’s because in Florida, our Florida Probate law, and our Florida Trust statutes, have so called “fee shifting” statutes which can shift the payment of one or more parties’ fees to the losing party.  In short, if you are involved in a Florida probate matter, a Florida trust lawsuit, or any litigation involving wills, trusts, probate, guardianship or estates, you may have to pay the other side or side’s attorney fees.  This past summer, the Florida Supreme Court issued an important opinion on attorneys fees in Florida.  Among other Florida issues, an alternative fee recovery clause may be valid under Florida law. Nothing terribly new there.  In short, the losing side may have to pay to the winning side’s attorneys, more than was agreed to between the attorney and the winning side. What is new is that the Court spelled out with more clarity that alternative fee recoveries may be permitted.  Although the case did not deal with Florida estates and trusts, it is still the law.   At all times, however, the fees must be reasonable.  Understanding how attorneys fees are paid, or how they may be assessed against a party, in disputes involving Florida wills, trusts, estates and probate matters, is important.  For a copy of the case, email michelle@pankauskilawfirm.com.   Advocate hard.  Litigate smart.