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Real property, probate and trust law.

You and your lawyer colleagues will gain insight through our innovative series, E-Law for Lawyers, addressing issues facing every Florida lawyer, whether buying a home, renting an office, designating health care decisions, passing acquired wealth to the next generation or charities and beyond. Short lunchtime presentations tailored for you will be accessible on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Information on the e-law program, other seminars, and current initiatives is easily assessable at www.rpptl.org.

Thus, the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law (RPPTL) Section, the Bar's largest substantive law section, advances its 10,000-plus members' competency, pursuit of excellence, and other hallmarks of professionalism with all members of the Bar. The RPPTL Section through two substantive divisions, Real Property Law, and Probate and Trust Law, and our general standing committees pursue these goals. As you will observe, the committees addressed cutting-edge issues in a professional and timely manner, on an invigorating, expedited basis.

* General Standing Committees --These committees address issues straddling substantive divisions, as well as RPPTL Section administration, development, and governance.

The Amicus Committee received the highest form of recognition from Florida's courts, even beyond being invited to brief issues within the RPPTL Section's purview. In the en banc rehearing of Deutsche Bank Trust Company v. Beauvais,--So. 3d.--, 40 Fla. L. Weekly Dl (Fla. 3d DCA 2014) (rehearing the impact of accelerating a debt), the majority opinion laid out at length portions of the section's brief. In Saadeh v. Connors, 166 So. 3d. 959 (Fla. 4th DCA June 24, 2015) (duty of counsel for a guardian to a ward of an alleged incapacitated person), the opinion acknowledged the section's brief.

The Professionalism and Ethics committees responded to the Board of Governors' requests for input on critical topics such as reciprocity; proposed changes to Rule 4-4.2 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar concerning communications with represented governmental entities; proposed changes to Rule 4-1.8 addressing conflicts of interest; and expert testimony in litigation address in part by our Daubertl Fry e Task Force. The Homestead Study Committee proposed legislation to resolve issues arising when homestead property is held in a trust. The Same Sex Marriage Issues Committee reported and educated on this important and evolving area.

The CLE Committee produces the highest quality programs, pursuing alternative platforms and mediums, such as audio-only and webcast, and formats, such as pop-up lunch-time webinars, and our newest Law for Lawyers. The Publications Committee produced relevant and timely articles, scholarly researched for The Florida Bar Journal, more practical and concise guidance for the RPPTL Section flagship publication, Action-Line, available for download at www. rpptl.org. The Member Communication and Information Technology Committee assures that the RPPTL Section communicates well to all, including through our website, social media, and our new meeting apps.

The Membership and Inclusion Committee retains current members by tending to their needs, charting easy paths for new lawyers to join the RPPTL Section, and engages law students to the importance of RPPTL, especially for minority communities for whom the transmission of wealth from generation to generation is critical, but threatened, and by hosting numerous events at Florida law schools, by inviting local law students to attend our executive council meetings and by conducting mock interviews for the law students. The Fellowship Committee sponsors eight active participants helping ensure that the RPPTL Section remains relevant for all members and potential members. The section continues to support The Florida Bar Leadership Academy by providing financial assistance to up to two RPPTL section members.

The Sponsorship and Budget committees ensure resources are available to operate. RPPTL Section members take great care and thus pride in proposals guided by the Legislation Committee to fruition. The committee monitors others' proposals to help avoid unanticipated consequences, strives to maintain the RPPTL Section's reputation for being a fair neutral, and advances the causes of Florida citizens without partisanship or rancor, usually on a moment's notice. It is exhilarating to participate in and watch.

* Real Property Division Committees --The Florida Supreme Court capped a five-year RPPTL Section initiative, approving certification in the area of condominium and planned development, the fourth RPPTL Section certification area--the most of all sections. The committee of the same name continued its extraordinary legislative activities, including consideration of changes in the area of bulk buyers, termination, and estoppel letters. The Real Property Legislation Committee saw enacted its proposed to repeal the archaic civil action nonresident bond requirement, Ch. 2016-46, and its comments were incorporated into revisions to a revised substituted virtual mail box service bill.

Real Property Division CLE offerings included Chronology of a Failed Project; two-part easements series; two-part vertical subdivisions series; and the certification reviews for real property and construction. The Real Estate Leasing Committee will present the first of the Law for a Lawyers Own Business series; the Real Property Finance Committee presents Legal Opinions; the Real Estate Structures Committee will present Sales Tax and Public Private Partnerships; the Insurance and Surety Committee presents a three-part risk management series; the Development and Land Use Committee will present Affordable Housing Crash Course, Community Development Districts and Lessons Learned, and Learning in Closing Real Estate Transactions post-October 3, 2015.

Committee publications include the Insurance and Surety's Committee's quarterly Insurance Matters and the Construction Law Committee's Constructive Talk.

* Probate and Trust Division Committees --The Ad Hoc Jurisdiction and Service of Process Committee responded to constitutional and procedural issues in proposed legislation concerning service by publication and the right of caregivers for vulnerable adults to recover funds from an alleged exploiter. The Ad Hoc Guardianship Law Revision Committee is proposing an updated guardianship code. The Ad Hoc Spendthrift Trust Committee is considering the appropriateness of continuing writs of garnishment against a discretionary trust by a former spouse with a valid support order. The Asset Protection Committee evaluated the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act's impact upon estate planning.

The Digital Assets and Information Study Committee proposed a revised Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act to address the cutting-edge issue of electronic communication assets, resulting in Ch. 2016-46, and is planning seminars to explain the new law to professionals. The Estate and Trust Tax Planning Committee sought to clarify the creation of a joint tenancy with right of survivorship, or tenancy by the entireties in certain personal property, without the traditional straw man third-person transfer, studying other states' allowing a statutory community property trust, conversion of nontrust property into community property, evaluating whether clarification is necessary for certain fiduciary elections and tax disclosures, including technical advice for what was approved as CS/CS/CS/SB 540, and pursuing enactment of the last provisions of the Family Trust Company Act, Ch. 2016-35. The Elective Share Review Committee focused on updating a surviving spouse's right to estate assets.

The Guardianship, Power of Attorney and Advance Directives Committee responded to the many legislative proposals concerning perceived problems and abuses in the guardianship system, including the cap on funeral-related expenses, payment of guardianship expenses, spousal consent to initiate divorce proceedings, and standards for guardians and other fiduciaries. The committee provided technical advice on these issues for what was enacted as Ch. 2016-40 and concerning medical marijuana, enacted as Ch. 2016-123. The committee also worked with the Probate Rules Committee on issues affecting guardianships. The IRA, Insurance and Employee Benefits Committee monitored insurance and annuity issues to inform practitioners.

The Probate Law & Procedure Committee is drafting proposals to allow a living testator to deposit his or her will with a clerk of court, reform Florida's summary administration, and to consider inheritance by children born of artificial reproductive technology. The committee is also drafting proposals to consider treatment of coins and bullion in probate and analyze forfeiture of inheritance by elder abusers.

The Trust Law Committee projects include benefiting beneficiaries verses effectuating a settlor's intent, compensation for co-trustees, the Uniform Trust Decanting Act, notifications for charitable trusts and the definition of, powers, and duties of trust protectors, trust advisors, and special trustees. With the Probate and Trust Litigation Committee the committee cosponsored the popular Litigation and Trust Law Symposium. The Uniform Principle and Income Act Committee initiated a review of the allocation of expenses between life tenants and remainder-men, the impact of an elective share trust, and jurisdiction over discretionary powers.

The Liaison with Elder Law Section Committee addressed common issues between the sections, including guardianships, health care surrogates, and health care providers' limited immunity for end-of-life decisionmaking. The Probate and Trust Litigation Committee is evaluating criminal and private actions for exploitation of a vulnerable adult, and joined with the Trust Law Committee to present the 2016 Litigation and Trust Law Symposium in Tampa. The Wills, Trusts, and Estates Certification Review Committee offered a two-day, 18-hour CLE course, including credits in three certification areas: elder law; tax law; and wills, trusts, and estates.

Beyond the accomplishments of our extraordinary committees, the RPPTL Section met in Berlin in October. Why Berlin? Because Berlin reminds daily that each of us, as a professional, faces choices. Most choices are mechanical; many choices are obvious; and occasionally there is the choice that impacts not only our lives, or a client, but that can reverberate and impact society. In this virtual age, participants in our journey, through touching and feeling, viscerally understood what occurred in the past and are better prepared to face difficult questions as our world changes. This journey was about our role as legal professionals, lawyers, and jurists, and our responsibility to our communities and society as a whole. It was a reminder of what happens when our attention to preserving democracy and the rule of law is diverted and how swiftly what preserves our values collapses.

The RPPTL Section continues to strive, collectively transmitting excellence to RPPTL Section members, encouraging each individual member's pursuit of excellence, each member's succeeding in a professional, fulfilling, and enjoyable environment. In this quest there are literally hundreds who have excelled, far too many to mention, but who are recognized at www.rpptl.org.

Michael J. Gelfand, Chair
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Title Annotation:Annual Reports of Sections and Divisions of The Florida Bar
Author:Gelfand, Michael J.
Publication:Florida Bar Journal
Date:Jun 1, 2016
Words:1662
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