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Keeping Your Personal Finances Confidential in a Miami Lawsuit

Uncategorized • Jan 17, 2021
post about Keeping Your Personal Finances Confidential in a Miami Lawsuit

If you are involved in a Miami lawsuit, does your Miami litigation law firm know how to keep your personal finances confidential? A January 13, 2021 opinion from the Third District Court of Appeal https://www.3dca.flcourts.org/ reminds Miami lawyers, especially Miami probate lawyers, how to protect one’s private personal finances in the middle of litigation, even probate litigation. And, this Miami Dade appellate court opinion also reminds us what the law is when the other side wants to see your personal finances. https://www.3dca.flcourts.org/content/download/700566/opinion/201459_DC03_01132021_110929_i.pdf

The architecture in Miami is as colorful as the business lawsuits and the family probate litigation. The recent Thomas case reminds attorneys what the test is for a requesting party to obtain one’s personal financial data.

Discovery. Can one party to a lawsuit issue a subpoena or a request for production under the rules of civil procedure including Fla. R. Civ. Proc. 1.350 https://www-media.floridabar.org/uploads/2020/08/ADA-0-Civil-Procedure-Rules-Updated-8-18-2020.pdf to a party or non-party and get to see all your personal finances? Are you even comfortable showing them your tax returns, financial statements, loans, investments? Must you? Well the Miami-Dade appeals court case of Thomas v. State Farm Florida Ins. Co. reminds us that many times your personal finances are confidential.

What’s the Test to Get Financial Information?: In Miami probate matters, where there is a will contest or an undue influence case, many times, one side wants to see all of your personal finances. But in Florida, our courts recognize that such data is private and typically kept secret. While the rules of discovery in probate lawsuits, and, indeed most lawsuits, are wide, your Miami lawyer must be careful regarding personal financial data. There is a “heightened standard” to get to see all that information. The requesting party must establish a need for that information that actually outweighs one’s privacy rights. While the Thomas case was not a probate case, it’s a great lesson for probate attorneys who are involved in family litigation like undue influence cases and will contests. For the request for documents to a non-party, see Fla. R. Civ. Proc. 1.351 https://www-media.floridabar.org/uploads/2020/08/ADA-0-Civil-Procedure-Rules-Updated-8-18-2020.pdf.