At VanNess & VanNess, P.A., we have successfully handled thousands of cases in Central Florida, across the state, and nationwide, in the practice areas noted below.
The following case histories are representative of just some of the cases we have handled, and not all results are provided. Each case is unique, and no attorney can guarantee any specific outcome in any specific case. However, we believe that past success is the best indicator of future success.
Wrongful death/automobile (Citrus County, Florida): VanNess & VanNess, P.A. represented the family of a woman killed in a head-on collision with a pick-up truck. A personal representative of the estate was promptly appointed authorizing a legal representative to investigate and pursue all damages due the estate and survivors.
Wrongful death/motorcycle (Citrus County, Florida): A father of three was tragically killed while riding his motorcycle in Citrus County, FL. VanNess & VanNess, P.A. represented the children, and successfully recovered the policy limits for his surviving children, all of whom lived out of state. VanNess & VanNess, P.A. handled the appointment of a personal representative and administration of the estate so additional counsel was not required, thereby allowing a larger portion of the settlement funds to be distributed to the surviving children.
Wrongful death/roofing accident (Seminole County, Florida): A surviving spouse retained VanNess & VanNess, P.A. to recover for the wrongful death of her husband after he fell through the roof of his home as a result of the negligence of a roofing company. VanNess & VanNess, P.A. recovered the full policy limits from the insurance company. VanNess & VanNess, P.A. also handled the probate administration.
Wrongful death/automobile (Marion County, Florida): VanNess & VanNess, P.A. represented the surviving spouse and estate of a woman killed in an automobile accident on Highway 200 in Ocala, Florida. The maximum recovery for the estate and surviving spouse was obtained. VanNess & VanNess, P.A. also administered the estate on behalf of the husband.
Wrongful death/mesothelioma (Florida/New York): A Florida man was diagnosed with mesothelioma caused from exposure to asbestos during his years of employment with a major corporation. VanNess & VanNess, P.A., was contacted by the man and his family to represent them. We obtained the appointment of the personal representative of the estate and served as co-counsel in this New York asbestos litigation case where a settlement was obtained.
Wrongful death/asbestos (Florida/Texas): A 57-year-old Florida man died after being diagnosed with mesothelioma resulting from exposure to asbestos during his career in the Coast Guard. VanNess & VanNess, P.A. served as counsel to the personal representative of the estate where a settlement was obtained.
Serious Personal Injury
Personal injury/automobile accident (Florida/North Carolina): VanNess & VanNess, P.A. obtained a jury verdict for our injured client after trial. The client was injured in an SUV rollover accident in North Carolina, whereby the client was ejected from the vehicle and paralyzed from the waist down. Multiple lawsuits were required to obtain substantial compensation for our client.
Personal injury/automobile accident (Citrus County, Florida): VanNess & VanNess, P.A. represented a client who suffered extensive neck and back injuries after being rear-ended by a semi. A lawsuit and extensive discovery were required before a settlement was reached which compensated our client for the injuries sustained.
Personal injury/motorcycle accident (Citrus County, Florida): Client was injured following a rear-end collision by a tractor trailer on Highway 19. Client sustained neck and back injuries. VanNess & VanNess, P.A. tried the case and the jury returned a substantial verdict in favor of our client.
Personal injury/correctional facility (Citrus County, Florida): VanNess & VanNess, P.A. represented a client in a suit against a major correctional facility corporation that denied appropriate medical treatment for inmate, which resulted in a double valve heart replacement. A lawsuit and extensive discovery was required. A substantial recovery was obtained prior to Trial.
Personal injury/tractor trailer (Alachua County, Florida): VanNess & VanNess, P.A. represented a client seriously injured when a tractor trailer ran a red light and struck the side of his automobile. The client suffered severe injuries which required a total knee replacement. Settlement was reached to client’s satisfaction.
Personal injury/asbestos (Florida/Ohio): VanNess & VanNess, P.A. represented an elderly gentleman diagnosed with mesothelioma resulting from exposure to asbestos. The settlement was negotiated and settlement proceeds were received by our client during our client’s lifetime.
Trust Terminations and Modifications
Trust termination/corporate fiduciary (Hernando County, Florida): VanNess & VanNess, P.A., successfully terminated an irrevocable trust after a representative of a major bank’s trust department unduly influenced the settlor of the trust to create a trust naming the bank trust department as trustee of an irrevocable trust for the lifetime benefit of various family members. The terms of the trust were not favorable to the beneficiaries. Bank’s trust department also failed to diversify/prudently manage the trust assets. VanNess & VanNess, P.A., terminated the trust which resulted in the trust assets being distributed outright to the beneficiaries. Termination of the trust also helped the beneficiaries avoid generation-skipping taxes.
Trust termination/corporate fiduciary (Citrus County, Florida): VanNess & VanNess, P.A., successfully terminated an irrevocable trust after the client complained of corporate trustee’s management of trust assets and fees. VanNess & VanNess, P.A., filed suit to terminate the trust. A court order was entered terminating the trust and the trust assets were distributed to the beneficiaries outright.
Trust termination/corporate fiduciary (Pinellas County, Florida): Major bank trust department was responsible for the administration, management and distribution of the trust established by the client’s parents for the benefit of the client. The client became dissatisfied with the services of the bank trust department. VanNess & VanNess, P.A., successfully terminated the trust resulting in the trust assets being distributed to the only child who was the sole life income beneficiary and the remainder beneficiaries, four charitable organizations, on a negotiated basis.
Trust termination/corporate fiduciary (St. Louis, Missouri): VanNess & VanNess, P.A., was successful in obtaining a trust termination in Missouri. Client was a resident of Florida and a lifetime income beneficiary of an irrevocable trust established in Missouri. Client was not satisfied with the administration and management of the trust by the corporate trustee. Trust assets were distributed in negotiated shares to the current (our client) and remainder beneficiaries (our client’s children).
Trust termination/corporate (Citrus County, Florida): Trustee fees being charged by a corporate trustee were greater than the benefit being received by the beneficiaries of the trust. VanNess & VanNess, P.A., successfully negotiated for all beneficiaries to agree to termination of the trust and distribution of all trust assets to our client who was the current income and discretionary principal beneficiaries of the trust.
Trust modification (Citrus County, Florida): VanNess & VanNess, P.A. modified an irrevocable trust to require the Trustee to make larger monthly distributions to the current beneficiary.
Trust modification (Citrus County, Florida): VanNess & VanNess, P.A. modified an irrevocable trust to authorize the Trustee of a Family Trust to distribute the trust assets outright to the surviving spouse, when the estate planning documents as written called for the establishment of an ongoing Family Trust.
Trust modification (Citrus County, Florida): VanNess & VanNess, P.A. modified an irrevocable trust to eliminate the requirement of a corporate trustee for the trust since the value of the trust assets fell below corporate trustee’s guidelines for accepting such appointments. A family member was appointed instead.
Trust modification/drafting error (Citrus County, Florida): VanNess & VanNess, P.A. successfully modified a trust to correct a drafting error. The trust was modified to accurately reflect the settlor’s intent.
Probate and Trust Litigation
Contested estate/lack of capacity and undue influence (Sumter County, Florida): Undue influence was exerted on our client’s elderly mother by a second husband. The resulting last will and testament and trust left everything to her second husband and nothing to her children from her first marriage. After our clients’ mother passed away we filed a lawsuit and participated in extensive discovery. VanNess & VanNess, P.A., was successful in obtaining a settlement.
Contested estate/estate tax apportionment (Citrus County, Florida): VanNess & VanNess, P.A., was successful in avoiding an improper estate tax apportionment for our client. A law firm handling the administration of an estate with a poorly drafted last will and testament tried to apportion hundreds of thousands of dollars of estate taxes against our client’s share of an estate. Our firm objected on behalf of our client and litigated the issue. We prevailed at a summary judgment hearing. Our client received all amounts due under the will without reduction for estate taxes.
Contested estate/IRA beneficiary designation (Dearborn, Michigan): A major bank’s trust department committed an error on an IRA beneficiary designation. VanNess & VanNess, P.A., was successful in setting aside the IRA beneficiary designation on record and establishing our client as the designated beneficiary which resulted in significant tax savings and an enhanced distribution to our client.
Contested estate/undue influence and lack of capacity (The Villages): A resident of The Villages was befriended by an employee of a major financial institution, who then exerted undue influence on her to alter her Last Will and Testament and Trust. She left her entire estate to a charitable organization to which she had no ties. VanNess & VanNess, P.A. was successful in recovering substantially all of the daughter’s entire share of the estate and trust. Her mother was suffering from dementia at the time of the undue influence and the execution of the new Last Will and Testament and Trust.
Contested estate/undue influence by caretaker (Citrus County, Florida): VanNess & VanNess, P.A. represented nieces and nephews to ensure the recovery of their share of their Aunt’s estate. A caretaker befriended and unduly influenced her at a vulnerable stage in her life. VanNess & VanNess, P.A. was successful in overturning the wrongfully-procured Last Will and Testament of their Aunt.
Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning
Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning (Citrus County): VanNess & VanNess, P.A. represented a couple in their 70’s who had been married for many years, with three children together. Our attorneys prepared Wills, a Joint Trust, Durable Powers of Attorney, and health care documents for them.
Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning (Citrus County): VanNess & VanNess, P.A. represented a couple in their 60’s, and each of them were previously married. Both had children from prior marriages, but no children together. We prepared Wills and separate Living Trusts for each of them, asset protection trusts for their children, Durable Powers of Attorney, and health care documents.
Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning (Citrus County): VanNess & VanNess, P.A. represented a client with a large concentration of stock in one company who wanted to update his estate plan and start giving stock to his children during his lifetime and the remainder at his passing. VanNess & VanNess, P.A. helped with the design and implementation of a gift and estate plan designed to avoid probate and minimize (or avoid) federal estate taxes. At his passing, his children were able to totally avoid probate and Federal estate taxes. As a result, his children received their inheritances shortly after their father’s passing.
Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning (Marion County): VanNess & VanNess, P.A. represented a husband and wife in Florida owning substantial assets in both Florida and New York who were referred by a financial advisor and CPA. VanNess & VanNess, P.A. prepared separate trusts for each spouse. When the husband passed away, VanNess & VanNess, P.A. assisted the wife in the administration of the estate and trust without probate. The wife then established a Family Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Company, and amended her living trust. She established trusts for each of their children and made substantial gifts to the children’s trusts during her lifetime. At her passing, VanNess & VanNess, P.A. assisted the family with identifying assets, payment of creditors and expenses, and coordination of the preparation of income tax and federal estate tax returns. Final distribution was made to the beneficiaries, and no New York state income or estate taxes were due.
Probate and Trust Administration
Probate and Trust Administration (Citrus County): VanNess & VanNess, P.A. represented a family who came in from out of town for their Father’s funeral. We were able to meet with the family while they were in town and advise them regarding the disposition of the body, how to handle paying bills, and answer their questions regarding the estate and trust administration for their Father. The initial estate administration documents were prepared and filed within 24 hours of meeting with the family.
Trust administration (Citrus County): VanNess & VanNess, P.A. represented a married couple for many years who had one daughter. The daughter took care of her parents for years and had knowledge that all of her parents’ creditors and taxes were paid. All of the parents’ assets were in a Trust in which the daughter was the sole beneficiary. VanNess & VanNess, P.A. was able to assist the daughter in administering the Trust in a quick and efficient manner.
Probate and Trust Administration (Lake County): The Personal Representative and Trustee of a large estate reached out to VanNess & VanNess, P.A. to take over representation of his mother’s estate and trust administration from another firm. Through the course of representation, VanNess & VanNess, P.A. identified a number of probate and trust administration and tax issues that needed to be rectified in order for the estate and trust to be properly administered. VanNess & VanNess, P.A. filed corrective pleadings with the Probate Court, served notices as required by statute, obtained relevant documents, addressed various complex issues, and filed amended documents with the IRS. Final distribution of the assets was accomplished shortly after the IRS issues were resolved.
Personal Fiduciary Services
Personal Fiduciary Services (Citrus County): The attorneys at VanNess & VanNess, P.A. represent a widow in her 90’s who has no family in the area. We assisted in overseeing the client while she adjusted to her move to an assisted living facility. We continue to assist with coordination of her health care, and the timely payment of her bills. When she passes away she wants part of her estate to go to her extended family and friends, and the balance to go to charity.
Personal Fiduciary Services (Citrus County): At VanNess & VanNess, P.A. our attorneys represent an elderly widower who lives in an assisted living facility, and who recently lost his wife. He has no children or immediate family. He did not want to burden his remaining family members because he wants his assets to go to charity when he passes away. He named one of the attorneys at VanNess & VanNess, P.A. as his fiduciary. We assist with his ongoing daily living and health care needs as well as his finances and investment team.
Personal Fiduciary Services (Citrus County): An attorney at VanNess & VanNess, P.A. represented a wealthy client who had no children or family. Upon her death she established a Charitable Trust that provides scholarships for selected applicants to attend a small private college. Our attorneys administer the trust, review scholarship applications for the Charitable Trust, and assist in the selection of the scholarship recipients on an annual basis. VanNess & VanNess, P.A. also keeps in regular contact with the college to determine how the students are progressing.
Personal Fiduciary Services (Citrus County): The attorneys at VanNess & VanNess, P.A. represented two professors who had no children of their own. They left their assets to a Charitable Trust to support higher education for needy children. The attorneys at VanNess & VanNess, P.A. review the applications submitted on behalf of these children, and assist in the selection of the scholarship recipients on a non-discriminatory basis.