Florida Probate, Trust & Guardianship Litigation

Jeffrey Skatoff’s Success Stories

  • Prevailed in two-day guardianship trial in Brevard County where opposing party conceded after Jeffrey Skatoff’s closing argument, giving Mr. Skatoff’s client more than could have been obtained from a litigated outcome.
  • Resolved huge breach of trust case against one of the largest corporate trust companies in the United States, based on improper delegation of investment authority.  Was able to disgorge six figure amount of attorney fees from one of largest law firms in United States.  Palm Beach County.  
  • Litigated to conclusion real estate and probate litigation over the span of seven years, involving the largest tract of undeveloped waterfront land between Naples and Sarasota, in Southwest Florida.  After prevailing on the underlying merits of the case, the law firm was able to collect on a $2 million lis pendens bond, which was used to pay damages to the landowners and to pay attorney fees and costs.  Charlotte County. 
  • Guardianship litigation where guardian had been stealing from a restricted depository account.  Was able to freeze out guardian and force bank to restore the stolen funds within three days of being hired.  Miami – Dade County.
  • Prevailed in trust and probate accounting dispute in the probate court of Palm Beach County.
  • Successfully litigated a case involving a 90 year old man who allegedly made a new will, deeds, and pay on death accounts in favor of a “girlfriend,” who our client maintained was an unscrupulous caregiver. 
  • Successfully administered joint Florida – Canadian estate.  Orange County.  
  • Settled an undue influence trust contest and will contest for more money that could have been obtained if he won the case at trial.
  • Settled enormous trust contest in federal court, in Federal Court in the Southern District of Florida.
  • Prevailed in a guardianship dispute over less restrictive alternatives
  • Attorney Jeffrey Skatoff prevailed in a trial regarding the interpretation and meaning of a trust, and whether the trust could be modified pursuant to Florida Statute 736.04115.  
  • Represented a beneficiary who had been disinherited.  The case had been handled by a another law firm for almost seven years, with no positive results.  In under three months after receiving the case, prepared the case for trial and was prepared to go to trial, which caused the opposing party to settle on favorable terms to our client.  The client was able to obtain these results with no out of pocket up front costs or fees to the law firm.
  • Prevailed on an appeal in a guardianship litigation, based on due process grounds.
  • Successfully defended two will contests in $100 million estate- one from the Deceased’s ex-wife, the other from two of the Deceased’s four children.  Trial court in Palm Beach County, Florida, granted summary judgment in favor of defense, even though court found that drafting attorney may have engaged in undue influence in drafting will, and will left substantial bequest to drafting attorney’s family.
  • Successfully defended, at the trial court level in Martin County, Florida and on appeal, in the Fourth District Court of Appeals, an action for undue influence involving transfer of bank accounts out of revocable trust.
  • Successfully settled, on behalf of disinherited children of Deceased, a will contest involving several hundred acres of timberland, even though Deceased had been adjudicated competent days before executing last will and testament at issue.  Santa Rosa County.
  • Successfully defended guardian, who was parent of adult ward, accused of serious malfeasance, including commingling of assets, improper expenditures, and failure to maintain proper records.  Case was in St. Lucie County, Florida.
  • Successfully settled action on behalf of surviving spouse, where husband’s residence was improperly transferred to husband’s mistress, during fifty year marriage.
  • Successfully administered probate estate in excess of $20 million, including dozens of bank accounts and real estate parcels.
  • Successfully defended undue influence / will contest case brought by siblings of Deceased,  where accused undue influencer was next door neighbor of the Deceased and helped to procure the last will and testament at issue.
  • Successfully settled partition action among rival siblings in highly contested lawsuit.
  • Brought action to remove guardian for contempt of court for failing to close guardianship and comply with court orders.  Guardian was removed and one of Mr. Skatoff’s attorney – employees appointed as successor guardian.
  • Obtained full and complete concession on behalf of child of Deceased, where another child of Deceased had changed the beneficiary designation on life insurance policy using power of attorney in violation of Florida law.
  • Prevailed at trial court level in Palm Beach County, Florida on issue of whether a separate writing addressing personal property done in connection with old will could be admitted to probate in connection with new will.  Trial court held that the old separate writing was nullified by the new last will and testament.
  • Persuaded Internal Revenue Service to drop assessment for unpaid payroll taxes being asserted personally against Chief Financial Officer of company.
  • Prevailed in bank interpleader case on behalf of child of Deceased, where another child was claiming entitlement to bank accounts at issue.
  • Handled real estate closing dispute against closing agent, where proceeds from sale of Florida homestead property were allegedly paid to the wrong owner of the property.
  • Successfully resolved malpractice case against attorney who failed to timely file a creditor claim for a surviving spouse to enforce rights under a marital agreement.
  • Successfully resolved estate planning malpractice claim against attorney who negligently drafted a trust in contravention of the client’s wishes as expressed elsewhere in the trust instrument.
  • Successfully resolved $7 million estate litigation where the deceased had properly revoked his trust but did not properly revoke his will, leading to a dispute between the deceased’s sole intestate heir and the beneficiary of the trust, a charitable organization.


Please note that the success that clients have had in these cases is not indicative of the success that you might have in your case.

Oral Argument at 5th District Court of Appeals

Jeffrey Skatoff

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(561) 842-4868


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