Punitive Damages in Probate Cases —Leaving Hope Behind
How to Obtain Punitive Damages in Florida Estate & Trust Cases
Many times, estate beneficiaries or trustees want to know how they can recover damages when they are harmed by another’s actions. If you are involved in a trust or estate dispute in Florida, you must, after all, prove damages. And while there are statutes in Florida law which speak to damages, it seems that many clients want to know : “Can we get punitive damages?”
Punitive damages may be available in Florida lawsuits when someone’s conduct is outrageous, and the court or a jury want to punish such awful, terrible behavior.
In the estate & probate litigation context, punitive damages is a not-uncommon topic which beneficiaries raise when discussing whether they want to sue a trustee, executor of personal representative of a Florida probate. Determining whether one’s conduct may warrant punitive damages is just one part of your probate and trust litigation trial strategy. You then have to know how to seek punitive damages under the correct statutes and rules of procedure. There will be a hearing on the ability to amend your complaint to seek punitive damages, and you must present evidence, or proffer evidence, to support your case for punitive damages. This includes the calling of witnesses and introducing documents into evidence.
To read more about punitive damages in the probate context, feel free to read articles which Managing Partner John Pankauski wrote with colleagues on this topic: Punitive Damages Against Fiduciaries Part 1