Florida Wills, Trusts & Estates: Cases And Materials

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  • Publish Date: 2007-01-02
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: Elena Marty-Nelson;Eloisa C. Rodriguez-Dod;Gail Levin Richmond;Donna Carol Litman;and Jani Maurer

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This unique casebook examines wills and trusts by focusing on Florida law. The laws governing wills and trusts continue to be state-law driven despite widespread adoptions of uniform codes, such as the UPC and UTC. We believe there is much to be gained by studying the laws of one state as a whole, and Florida law is particularly well suited for studying this area of the law. Florida has a well developed probate code and its common law wills and trusts decisions address issues in fascinating factual situations that students find engaging. Moreover, in 2006 Florida adopted its version of the UTC referred to as the Florida Trust Code (FTC), effective July 1, 2007, making Florida a perfect platform for studying modern trusts law and practice. Although Florida law is the focus, this casebook includes discussions of the common law from other states and uniform codes (including the UPC and UTC), particularly when they differ significantly from Florida law. Demonstrating how Florida law varies from that of other states (or uniform codes) serves a pedagogical purpose. It crystallizes the issues students will face when they practice wills and trusts by allowing them to see how other states may resolve these issues. This casebook may be productively used by students who expect to practice in Florida or in other states. Although the case or statutory law differs from state to state, the concepts and issues students will encounter and ponder are the same. This casebook is also unique in the breadth and depth of its coverage in that it covers trusts as extensively as it does wills. That coverage recognizes modern trends in family wealth planning. It also treats topics that relate to both testate and intestate estates together. Covering topics such as disclaimers, slayer statutes, and simultaneous death together reinforces students' understanding of the statutory rules and when the use of wills or other documents may be employed to achieve different outcomes. It introduces several related topics: durable powers of attorney and designations of health care surrogates; principal and income allocations; estate planning; and the probate process. These introductions are a useful bridge to such advanced courses as Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Probate Practice. Finally, this casebook includes wills and trusts forms, with extensive annotations provided by Northern Trust Corporation. We have found that students learn best when they can see various forms. We have designed this book to encourage students to think about the issues from the standpoint of both planners and litigators. Accordingly, we include numerous questions that require students to think about ways to draft or plan to avoid litigation. Notes accompanying cases suggest related issues and also guide students to think about even more nuanced problems.

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