Nicole Wall obtained dismissal with prejudice of a Florida legal malpractice lawsuit filed against an Oklahoma attorney and his law firm. The plaintiff argued that the Florida court possessed personal jurisdiction over the non-resident defendants because they committed a tortious act in the state by preparing estate planning documents for a Florida resident that failed to account for, and did not comply with, Florida law. The plaintiff claimed that such action resulted with her father’s assets passing to his wife instead of her and her siblings, in contravention of his intent, when the documents were probated in Florida. Nicole successfully argued that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendants and that although certain of the estate planning documents referenced Florida and Florida law, (in contravention of the Trust, which stipulated to Oklahoma law), probate in any state, let alone Florida, had never been intended. By contrast, the goal of estate planning was to avoid probate. The court agreed with the additional argument that the injury would not have occurred but for the fact that the decedent’s will had been probated in Florida, which had been carried out through the actions of plaintiff and her family alone.
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