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Schilling v. Herrera

Court of Appeal of Florida
952 So.2d 1231 (2007)


Facts

Following a diagnosis of renal failure, several hospitalizations and a stay at the Clairidge House for rehabilitation, Mignonne Helen Schilling (Mignonne) received occasional care at home from Maria Herrera (defendant) until her condition worsened and she moved into an apartment in Herrera’s garage. Mignonne paid rent and compensated Herrera for her services until Mignonne’s death on August 6, 2004. Prior to Herrera’s involvement, Mignonne’s will, durable power of attorney and power of attorney for health care made her brother, Edward Schilling (Edward) (plaintiff), her sole heir and sole decision maker regarding her health and finances. While Herrera was caring for Mignonne, Herrera induced Mignonne to execute a new will and power of attorney giving her entire estate and full control of her finances to Herrera. When Mignonne died, Herrera probated the will, but waited until December 6, 2004 after the creditor period expired and after she petitioned for discharge of probate, to tell Edward that his sister had died on August 8, 2004. Edward, who lived in another state but visited his sister and helped pay Herrera for caring for Mignonne during her illness, had been attempting to communicate with his sister through Herrera, but Herrera would not return his calls and did not communicate with him until after the probate process was complete. Edward sued Herrera for intentional interference with an expectancy of inheritance, claiming that she engaged in a fraudulent scheme to prevent him from challenging the will Herrera induced his sister to execute. The trial court dismissed the complaint finding that Herrera had no duty to notify Edward of his sister’s death and for failure to exhaust probate remedies. Edward appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Rothenberg, J.)

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