Probate – Jurisdiction / Venue Case

1. Anscher v. Lebenthal & Co., 963 So.2d 921 (Fla. 3rd DCA August 29, 2007)

Spouse vs. Estate of spouse, co-trustee, & brokerage company
The decedent’s surviving spouse bought an action in probate court against the decedent’s estate, the co-trustees of his trust, and his brokerage for failure to transfer securities out of the trust based upon written instructions from the decedent to the brokerage delivered two days before his death. The spouse settled the claim against the estate and the co-trustees, leaving only the claim against the brokerage.

The probate action became non-adversarial and was subject to being dismissed. To avoid statute of limitations issues, the spouse filed a second action in the general jurisdiction division of the Circuit Court, which was removed to federal court by the defendant. The defendant brokerage filed a motion to dismiss the probate proceeding, which was granted. The appellate court affirmed the lower court, although noting that “the probate court should have transferred the probate action rather than grant the motion to dismiss,” but finding that the probate court order of dismissal was harmless.

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