West Palm Beach Estate Litigation: When Can a Trial Court Approve a Settlement Agreement?
Are you involved in a probate lawsuit? Has your probate lawyer asked you to consider a settlement agreement? What if a Florida estate owes a creditor a lot of money? Can a settlement agreement be approved between a Florida estate and a creditor? What if you are the beneficiary of an estate and you disagree with a settlement agreement between the estate and a creditor? Can you appeal a motion to approve a settlement agreement? What does a trial court consider when approving a motion for approval of a settlement agreement? If you are involved in a trust or estate lawsuit in Florida, you may want to read a November 28, 2018 Third DCA opinion, Brenda Nestor v. Estate of Victor Posner.
Here, Brenda Nestor, the sole residuary beneficiary of the Estate of Victor Posner, appeals an order granting a joint motion to approve a settlement agreement between the estate and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). After reviewing the record, the Third DCA found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting the joint motion and approving the settlement. The Third DCA quoted other cases that explain that a trial court may approve a settlement ” if it is fair, beneficial to the estate, and free from fraud, negligence, or misconduct.” Furthermore, ” in deciding whether to grant the petition to settle, the trial court must determine that the settlement is in the best interest of the estate and that the personal representative has fulfilled his or her duty to act as a ‘prudent person’. The court should consider, among other factors, the validity of the claim, the personal representative’s investigation of the claim, and the defenses to the claim, and the reasonableness of the compromise.”