In re Pierce v. Pierce, the First District Court of Appeals (1st DCA) sets the normal for by using a mediation settlement agreement in estate litigation cases much like family law. In fact, it had been the 1st DCA’s opinion it’s well established that “mediation and settlement of family law disputes is tremendously favored in Florida law.” See Griffith v. Griffith, 860 So. 2d 1069, 1073 (Fla. 1st DCA 2003). Further, section 733.815, Florida Statutes is embraced with the Florida Probate Code in settling probate disputes and supplies that “interested persons may agree among themselves to improve interests, shares, or depends upon which they are entitled in the written contract executed by them. The personal representative shall abide because of the terms of the agreement… ” (emphasis added).
The lower court judge held that they could not learn that Linda entered the agreement “freely, knowingly and intelligently” as well as set aside the settlement agreement. Thereafter, the truth went to the primary DCA. The 1st DCA reversed the reduced court’s ruling because of lack of substantial competent evidence and the low court’s findings fell short of the normal needed to reserve a mediation agreement In re Pierce, 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 19597, 2013 WL 6438955 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist. Dec. 10, 2013). The cause is remanded for additional proceedings consistent with the earliest DCA’s opinion.
Will Contest: Impact of an Mediation Settlement Agreement
A Mediation Settlement Agreement is usually a contract. Therefore, provided that the agreement is “freely, knowingly and intelligently entered into” it probably will stand. Of course, other requirements to get a contract still ought to be met to ensure the contract for being valid that happen to be beyond the scope i have told.
Case in point, Pierce v. Pierce (In re Pierce), Linda and Tamra Pierce were two sisters who had been involved in a very will dispute over their mother’s estate. After a strenuous litigation battle, the sisters visited mediation. On Friday, July 24, 2009, both sisters, using respective attorneys present, reached a house settlement agreement at the end of any long day of mediation. Linda had second thoughts soon after hours of executing the agreement. The next morning following the mediation, she made a note using the mediator after which on Monday met along with her attorney.
On July 30, 2009, Linda M. Pierce, pro se, filed a motion to vacate while using claim of coercion in signing the settlement agreement after her request for taking home the agreement to evaluate was denied through the mediator. Appellant responded by filing a motion on September 17, 2009, to enforce the settlement agreement. After a lengthy hearing, the reduced court judge entered your order which was later heard and reversed by the primary DCA.
Conract Law Applies in Will Contest Case
Like any contract, to enable Linda to prevail she would have to prove that there was some kind of fraud, coercion or misrepresentation in discovery that happened forming the home settlement agreement. A general rule in a contract is always that “the proven fact that one party towards the agreement apparently created a bad bargain is just not a sufficient ground, alone, to vacate or modify funds agreement.” See Griffith v. Griffith at 1073 (quoting Casto v. Casto, 508 So. 2d 330, 334 (Fla. 1987)).
Further, while an estate litigation case or will contest can be emotionally charged and stressful, it won’t mean that real estate settlement agreement is invalid as “emotion just isn’t grounds to put aside an otherwise duly-executed property settlement agreement.” Hahn v. Hahn, 465 So. 2d 1352, 1354 (Fla. 5th DCA 1985). Another district court case held that a home settlement agreement made “in good faith and free of fraud, deceit, duress, coercion or overreaching really should be upheld because of the court.” O’Connor v. O’Connor, 435 So. 2d 244,345 (Fla. 1st DCA 1982).
Lastly, Linda partook in reviewing and correcting several drafts in the settlement agreement. In addition, she was involved with the negotiation with the terms and provisions. A meeting with the minds occurred: 1) there is an offer, 2) she negotiated, 3) she agreed for the terms and provisions, and thereafter, she executed the settlement agreement.