A recent commentary the Daily Business Review caught my eye. The author examined the allowability of pet trusts under Florida law. While it is true that Florida law provides for the creation and enforcement of pet trusts, as a practical matter, your disinherited family can institute litigation to attempt to thwart your wishes. I have handled high profile cases involving pet trusts and generally, I am not a fan of pet trusts that are funded with millions of dollars, like in the now-famous Leona Helmsley case. Those trusts invite rightful question by the testator’s heirs and an opportunity for the testator’s caretakers to engage in fraudulent conduct in the years, months and days prior to the testator’s death.
Recently, I handled a very interesting FINRA arbitration dealing with exploitation of the elderly by a joint tenant – in this case, her granddaughter.
What made this case so interesting is that we were able to use the elder abuse statute to support our claim. Traditionally, joint tenants both have the authority to withdraw funds from the account. Because the granddaughter was a joint tenant, we had to overcome the presumption that she was entitled to take money from the account at her discretion.
Because a substantial portion of my practice deals with estate disputes, I regularly hear the question – how could this type of dispute have been avoided?
While I don’t have a crystal ball to forecast every scenario, I do see the same pattern repeat itself: failure to communicate. Oftentimes, when the testator (the person whose will it is) decides to make an unequal distribution of his or her wealth among siblings, the testator does not communicate this intention prior to his or her death. Rather, most testators take the passive route, choosing to avoid discussion testamentary intentions and letting the truth come out during the reading of the will.
Congratulations to: Alan Kluger (Real Estate), Bruce Katzen (Commercial Litigation),Todd Levine (Commercial Litigation) and Deborah Chames (Family Law) who were recognized by South Florida’s Top Rated Lawyers, an annual publication that is compiled based upon peer reviews.
Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen and Levine, P. L. is thrilled to be recognized for our commitment to excellence.
On July 9, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced that two new rules have gone into effect – Rule 2090 – the so-called “Know Your Customer” rule and Rule 2111, the “suitability” rule. Rule 2090 heightens the requirement for financial advisors to know the “essential facts” concerning every customer. Prior to the enactment of Rule 2090, financial advisors generally relied upon SEC Rule 17a-3, which requires brokers to update client information every 36 months. Rule 2111, the “Suitability Rule” requires brokers to evaluate investments in light of a customer’s particular needs, taking into account a customer’s age, investment experience, time horizon, liquidity needs and risk tolerance.