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State of Mind Hearsay Exception: important evidence for Florida probate litigators

Uncategorized Oct 10, 2013

Can someone in a Florida probate or trust case testify about the dead person’s state of mind?  …..

How about what the dead person thought or was intending to do?  Florida probate attorneys who handle disputes and lawsuits involving wills, trusts and estates know that what the decedent was thinking is often very, very important.  Consider a lawsuit which seeks to overturn a will based upon incompetency or lack of mental capacity or undue influence. Consider a lawsuit involving the changing of title to a joint bank account, or seeking to invalidate a trust amendment.  Can a person get up in court and testify about what that dead person said before or after he or she :  changed the joint bank account, signed the will or disinherited a child?  Out of court statements offered to prove the truth of the matter are hearsay and inadmissible unless they fall into an exception.  State of mind is such an exception.  A September opinion from a Florida appellate court spoke about this state of mind hearsay exception in a matter with millions of dollars on the line.  It is very important for probate litigators.  For a copy of the opinion, please email michelle@pankauskilawfirm.com  Advocate hard.  Litigate smart.