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Florida Trust Appeals and Evidentiary Hearings

Uncategorized • Aug 25, 2020
post about Florida Trust Appeals and Evidentiary Hearings

What is an appeal? When might I need a Florida appellate attorney in my trust lawsuit? What does an evidentiary hearing have to do with an appeal? When is an evidentiary hearing required in a trust lawsuit in Florida? How should I choose a Florida appellate attorney to assist me with an appeal?

Palm Beach Trust Litigation and Appeals

Trust lawsuits are common in Florida. Frequently, beneficiaries sue trustees . For example, a beneficiary may sue a trustee after the trustee fails to provide an accounting or if they believe the trustee has stolen money from the trust.

Beneficiaries in Florida have many rights. If the trustee is not properly upholding his or her duty as trustee, a lawsuit may be necessary.

Florida probate lawyers know that some trust and estates proceedings can lead to an appeal. For example, if you disagree with a final judgment or order, you may wish to file an appeal. On the other hand, if you win, the other side may appeal. Therefore, it is important to anticipate the possibility of having to hire a West Palm Beach appellate attorney.

Hiring Florida Trust and Estate Litigators and Appellate Lawyers

If you are the beneficiary of a Florida trust, and you are in the process of hiring a Florida law firm to assist you with trust litigation, you may want to look for a law firm that is experienced in both trust litigation and appeals. In the early stages of litigation, many people fail to consider the possibility of an appeal being filed. However, many trust disputes can lead to an appeal.

What if you win an inheritance lawsuit and the other side decides to appeal? You may want to consider hiring an appellate attorney who is knowledgeable about both the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure and The Florida Trust Code.

At Pankauski Lazarus, we limit our practice to trust, estate, probate, and business litigation and appeals. One of the law partners, Robert Hauser, has been named a Board Certified Specialist by The Florida Bar in Appellate Practice.

Recent Florida Trust Appeal

A January 22, 2020 Second DCA opinion, Hett v. Barron-Lunde, is a good example of an appeal that occurred during a trust lawsuit in Florida. Here, the trustee of a Florida trust was ordered to disclose financial documents, including all financial documents pertaining to the Florida trust. The trial court deemed the trust documents relevant without considering any evidence and without having an evidentiary hearing. The trustee appealed.

In this Florida trust case, the trust was not a named party in the lawsuit. The Second DCA said that “where a trial court orders the disclosure of a nonparty’s financial information without considering any evidence regarding its relevance, the trial court departs from the essential requirements of law. ” Because the relevancy was not apparent from the face of the complaint, the trial court should have held an evidentiary hearing to determine the relevancy of the trust documents.