ESTATE & TRUST LITIGATION

Whether a person dies with or without a will, administration, or probate of an estate can create disagreements among loved ones, family members, and other individuals with an interest in an estate or trust. Florida statutes and probate code specify those who have legal standing in disputes involving wills, trusts and estates, and circumstances that warrant probate litigation.

At Minot Law, we understand that trust and estate litigation often disrupt personal and family relationships making the process more difficult for everyone involved. Attorney Michael Minot is committed to providing empathetic, client-focused representation in these highly emotional matters and will assertively work to protect the interests of his clients throughout the litigation process.

We assist clients with estate litigation matters involving:

  • Disagreements about who will serve as the personal representative

  • Breach of duty by the personal representative

  • Abuse or misuse of a financial power of attorney

  • Disputes among heirs or beneficiaries

  • Disagreements between the personal representative and heirs or beneficiaries

  • Issues relating to the valuation of assets

  • Business succession issues

Our clients include family members, beneficiaries, heirs, personal representatives, trustees, and other individuals with an interest in an estate or trust.

CONTRACT & LEASE DISPUTES

Real estate contracts in Florida are treated differently than most other types of contracts. Under the law, every piece of real estate is considered unique. Accordingly, in addition to more traditional contract remedies, special claims may also apply.

 

Remedies for Breach of a Real Estate Contract: 

MONEY DAMAGES

The first of two primary remedies for the breach of a real estate contract is money damages which can be awarded up to the extent the injured party has been financially damaged by the deal. Depending on the circumstances of the breach, the injured party may elect to only pursue the deposit plus reasonable expenses. However, if the breach was done in bad faith, the injured party could be awarded additional punitive damages. 

SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE

The second option is a remedy referred to as specific performance. In a breach of real estate contract situation, the party injured by the breach may request the court to force the transaction to proceed because of the uniqueness of the property. For example, if the seller of the real estate is unwilling to convey the property, the buyer may request the court to force the transaction to proceed according to the terms of the contract. Specific performance remedies are also available to the seller if the buyer is the one who refuses to close. 

If the injured party is successful in their case for specific performance, the court will order that the contract be performed as agreed. The injured party is also entitled to any rents or profits that she would have received if the property would have been conveyed at the time it was supposed to be transferred.

FRAUD & NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATION

Fraud is a broad term that describes those situations where someone intentionally misrepresents the truth which is then relied upon by someone else.

 

In the context of real estate transactions fraud sometimes occurs when a seller makes statements to induce a buyer to purchase the property. An example might be if a seller asserts that specific high-quality materials were used in the construction process when, in fact, they were not. A second example is if the seller asserts that the property or buildings are a certain size when, in fact, they are smaller than asserted.

In addition to statements made that are untrue Florida law also holds parties accountable for the second type of fraud. Under certain circumstances, material facts concerning the property or buildings are required to be disclosed. In Florida, all hidden material defects in residential property are required to be disclosed by the seller. If the roof has a history of leaking, certain parts of a building are known to have termite damage, or the foundation is known to have problems the seller is under a duty to disclose these hidden defects. The concealment of material facts under these circumstances is deemed to be the equivalent of a representation that no facts of this type exist.

Related but not quite the same as fraud is a term referred to as negligent misrepresentation. This situation occurs when someone unknowingly makes a false statement but had a duty to know that it was untrue. Negligent misrepresentation is not a blatant lie, but a failure to take reasonable steps to ensure that what’s being represented is in fact true.

  

Emotions can run high when one party believes they are the victim of fraud or negligent misrepresentation. At Minot Law, we have extensive experience working through the legal requirements of these difficult circumstances. 

BOUNDARY DISPUTES

Boundary line disputes occur more often than most people realize. Over time, boundary lines can become blurred leaving property owners, and in some cases surveyors uncertain as to the correct interpretation of deeds.

 

Often disputes arise when an owner decides to sell his or her property or to construct a fence or boundary wall. After conducting a survey, neighbors may disagree as to the location of the boundary line.

 

An encroachment occurs when a property owner violates the property rights of his neighbor by placing a fence, wall, or building across the neighbor’s land. If you discover that a neighbor is encroaching on your property, you may pursue remedies with the court requesting it to declare the location of the true boundary. 

 

Care must be taken by property owners to pursue their rights in a timely manner. If sufficient time has passed after the fence or other improvements are installed before enforcement is sought the encroaching party may request rights to the property through a concept called adverse possession.  Also called squatters rights, adverse possession is a legal concept permitting one to obtain legal title to property owned by others. The defense of adverse possession arises when a person occupies the property of another individual and the true owner takes no action for a period of time despite knowledge of the encroachment.

 

If you find yourself in a boundary line dispute, you will need a seasoned attorney to help guide you through the process. Discuss your boundary line matter with Minot Law today. You will receive the help you need to understand your property rights.  

EASEMENTS

An easement is a term describing the situation where someone allows another party to use a portion of their land. A good example is when someone permits a neighbor to access their house on a shared driveway. Electric and other utility companies retain easements permitting them to enter someone else’s land to maintain their facilities.

 

Though most easements are created by written documents, easement rights can be acquired by the continuous use of someone else’s property over time. Courts also have the power to create easements to prevent the property from having no legal access.

 

Remedies exist when the proper use of another’s property comes into question. The general rule is that an easement holder has the right to use the property in any way that it is reasonably consistent with the purposes for which the easement was originally granted. It’s not uncommon, however, for the holder of the easement and the land-owner to have a difference of opinion as to the scope of the easement.

 

It’s common for people to lack a clear understanding of easements and the numerous legal problems that can arise in their creation, interpretation, and scope of use. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place for answers.  A real estate attorney with easement experience can help send you on the right path.

HOMEOWNER & CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATIONS

Throughout the state of Florida, many people choose a residence within a condominium or homeowner’s association. While these shared living spaces provide numerous benefits to the resident conflicts can arise. 

 

Governed by the Florida Condominium Act and Florida Homeowners’ Association Act, condominium and HOA associations establish rules that serve to maintain the property, facilitate neighborly cooperation, and manage risk. However, each association is different with unique issues arising in the individual communities.

 

Minot Law offers years of experience representing homeowner and condominium associations throughout Brevard County to better serve you. We advise and represent associations as well as individual owners in a variety of legal matters.

MINOT LAW ASSISTS HOA & CONDOMINIUM BOARDS IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS:
  • Writing and revising covenants and bylaws.

  • Enforcing covenants, rules, and regulations.

  • Facilitating annual meetings.

  • Collection of unpaid fees and assessments.

  • Civil litigation and mediation of disputes.

  • Developer’s transfer of control of planned communities to residents.

  • Director fiduciary duty.

  • Contracting for association services.

  • General community governance.

Homeowner and condominium association governance requires wise decision making. At Minot Law, we work closely and proactively with our clients assisting them with day-to-day governance, enforcement of community rules and regulations, and litigation when needed. As a condominium owner himself and former president of a condominium association, Michael Minot understands the unique legal issues that surface within associations. Contact us today to schedule a conference to assess your needs.

LAND USE & ZONING

In today’s regulatory environment property owners must contemplate a multitude of regulations when developing or subdividing their land. Local governments determine how the land can be used through comprehensive planning, zoning, and building regulations. Some of the restrictions on development include permitted uses, height of buildings, setbacks, density, noise levels, drainage requirements, and parking. 

 

Obtaining the appropriate zoning classification and permits for your property can prove challenging. Retaining a knowledgeable and experienced attorney can heighten your chances of success. 

 

At Minot Law, we hold a broad range of experience developing and implementing land use visions for clients throughout east-central Florida. Additionally, prior to entering private practice, Michael Minot represented Brevard County as an Assistant County Attorney. During that time Michael participated in public hearings concerning land use matters and drafted county ordinances which amended portions of the county zoning code, Comprehensive Plan, and building code. Michael gained additional land use experience as a policymaker while serving as an elected city councilman. 

 

Relationships are sometimes key to resolving land use matters. At Minot Law, we have developed extensive relationships with municipal and county government staff, planning commissioners, and elected officials.  We also strive to create collaborative relationships with neighboring property owners and community members.  If required we will organize meetings with neighbors, presenting them with the benefits your new development will bring to the area. 

 

Let us help you navigate the administrative processes to bring the vision for your property to life.

REAL ESTATE LITIGATION

CASES WE HANDLE

FLORIDA REAL ESTATE LITIGATION

At Minot Law, we are committed to solving your real estate problems. Our depth of knowledge in the area has allowed us to successfully represent clients in hundreds of complex real estate disputes involving substantial economic claims. 

 

Disputes involving real estate often involve specific legal concepts not present in other areas of the law. But at Minot Law, we believe our track record of success in the courtroom specifically in these types of disputes allows us to formulate solutions that achieve your objectives and implement those solutions in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

WHO WE REPRESENT

Our real estate litigation clients include developers, contractors, owners, landlords, commercial tenants, real estate management companies, real estate brokers, institutional investors, commercial lenders, homeowners and condominium boards, and neighborhood groups.

REAL ESTATE

YOU DESERVE A FAIR TRIAL

WHY CHOOSE MINOT LAW

As a skilled civil litigation lawyer, Mike Minot represents clients in a wide range of practice areas. This includes all issues that may arise in real estate, construction, contracts, business activities, subdivisions and condominiums, zoning, environmental, and foreclosures. We also assist those needing help in family law matters. Whatever your need, Mike Minot is the civil litigator you want on your side to first provide an accurate assessment of your case and then battle for the outcome you deserve. With more than three decades of valuable experience, Michael is prepared for any scenario. You will recognize his devotion and ability from your first meeting.