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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33713
Experience:  15 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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Trust created under the laws of Florida. Grantor is resident

Customer Question

Trust created under the laws of Florida. Grantor is resident of Florida. Grantor appoints two trustees, herself and her eldest child who at the time of appointment has a residence in Florida but is a domiciliary of Connecticut. Grantor dies. Sole remaining trustee sells Florida residence, has no further contacts with Florida and promptly commits multiple breaches of fiduciary duties. Aggrieved beneficiary wants to bring action to remove the trustee. If beneficiary sues in Florida, trustee will contest personal jurisdiction and may well prevail. Federal courts will not take jurisdiction (probate rule). Connecticut court will take personal jurisdiction over the the Connecticut resident trustee but struggles with question of its subject matter jurisdiction over a Florida trust. Can the obviously liable trustee escape liability by severing her Florida contacts? Where can she be sued?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question..Can the obviously liable trustee escape liability by severing her Florida contacts? Where can she be sued?.They can definitely be sued in CT because the "situs" of a trust is the location where the trustee performs his or her duties of managing the trust. That means that CT would have jurisdiction over the trust and the trustee. Even if the trust had a "choice of forum" clause that states FL law applies, CT would just apply FL law to the case..There is also good reason for FL to exert subject matter jurisdiction if the breaches were committed in FL and the court rules that the trustee had sufficient minimum contacts at the time in order for FL to still exercise personal jurisdiction over the trustee. The question of whether FL can exert personal jurisdiction depends on if there were sufficient contacts with the state when any cause of action arose, not that they cut ties and ran away right after. If you could avoid personal jurisdiction like that, then no one could ever be prosecuted for any out of state offenses or civil actions...So I would opine that CT is a definite and FL should be able to exert jurisdiction as well..thanksBarrister

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