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Is Justice Anathema To Florida Probate?

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Waiting as long as I have to get a final resolution to the issues raised in my legal action against the Personal Representative to my mother’s estate has been absolute hell. I’ve yet to have the opportunity to even go through the grieving process despite the fact Mom passed away way back on March 14, 1998! It has been impossible for me to fully engage that process because of the continuing litigation, uncertainty of it’s eventual outcome, and the promise I made to my mother, hundreds of times since I was a small child upon her request, that I would ensure she be allowed to die with dignity and that her last wishes for the disposition of her assets be honored. Mom was obsessive about this concern, believed she could count on me to live up to my promises, and relied on that. I felt honored by her trust and certainly did not want to let her down by forgetting my promise much less betraying it, but despite my best efforts, I have largely failed in protecting her intent.

The cause of my failure has been partially due to my initial ignorance of Florida law and my rights under it while Mom was still alive but under a Guardianship (administered by the same individual later named as the Personal Representative) and which persisted during the first few years of probate administration until I finally was in a position to thoroughly educate myself on the applicable law. Additionally, my failure has been due in part as a result of my inability to actively participate in any of the court hearings or mediation because of my medical situation; in part as a result of the probate court’s inefficiency and inexplicable reluctance to enforce their own rules and orders; and last but certainly not least, I have been unsuccessful in my efforts to ensure Mom’s last wishes were honored because the Personal Representative has had her own personal agenda, in conflict with both Mom’s wishes (as expressed under her properly executed Will, Trusts, and Living Will) and with her legal and fiduciary duty.

There are certain aspects of my promise that I will never be able to make good on and a significant portion of the harm caused by the Personal Representative’s misconduct that can never be undone, no matter how the Appellate Court rules, simply due to the years of delay. Regardless, I am looking forward to that day when the Florida 4DCA finally issues its’ opinion, as I will consider any finding and remedy in my favor on the merits of my claims to be a vindication of my character, intent, and the appropriateness in bringing the original action to have the Personal Representative removed and in seeking to enforce the subsequent settlement. Of course, I am also praying that the Court will fully recognize the manifest injustice that will result if the Personal Representative were permitted to retain all of the benefits of the settlement, despite having breached it so completely, as well as recognize the likelihood of continuing misconduct on the part of the Personal Representative and additional harm to me, if the case were to be remanded to the Trial Court.

Given the fact the Court has been reviewing the record since November 2009 and actively deliberating since March 2010, certainly suggests that they viewed my claims to be significant enough to merit investigating them and found adequate support in the record and the law to merit serious consideration. What their ultimate conclusion will be remains unknown. As it is yet again another Tuesday evening, I am hoping that tomorrow will be the day their opinion gets released.


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One thought on “Is Justice Anathema To Florida Probate?

  1. Leslie, I so much feel for you…I had to deal only with some solicitors in order to get a much simpler case to a court and gave up feeling powerless…
    I have been reading all your posts, I just haven’t had the presence to come and post a comment, due to some problems and busy busy life…but did not want to leave tonighht without saying that I will join you in prayer tonight for tomorrow….
    I always say that this world is all over unfair…but if there is a tiny little bit of hope, it has to be in the fact that you deserve to get this ruled in your favor.
    I’ll pray now and will make sure and write to you to let you know what has been going on too.
    All the best for tomorrow.
    Lots of love and huge huggzzz

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