JARED GELLES, ESQ.
1401 BRICKELL AVE., SUITE 825
MIAMI, FLORIDA 33131
Telephone: (305) 373-0330
Fax: (305) 373-2735
Jared Gelles, Esq., is a founding member and head of the litigation department of the Miami, Florida based law firm Rafferty, Stolzenberg, Gelles, Tenenholtz & Flynn, P.A. Mr. Gelles has been a member in good standing of the Florida Bar since 1993 and has practiced in the area of probate litigation since 1995. Mr. Gelles represents clients in contested matters relating to:
- Contesting the validity of wills, codicils, and other estate planning documents;
- Challenging the beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, retirement accounts, bank accounts, and other paid-on-death accounts;
- Representing family members in disputes among relatives, care-givers and friends, relating to the division of assets; and
- Filing claims against estates for recovery of amounts owed by a person who failed to pay prior to death.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q: How do I know if I have a case to challenge a will or a beneficiary designation?
A: Whether you have a case depends on many factors, including:
While the existence of some or all of the above factors may give rise to a claim, the strength of the case will depend upon the specific facts of your case. Please understand that neither we, nor any attorney, can predict with accuracy how a judge, or jury, will rule on the facts of your particular case.
- whether you were the prior named beneficiary of the document being challenged;
- whether the decedent was competent when the Will, or beneficiary designation, was changed;
- whether the modified or new Will, or change in beneficiary designation, resulted from undue or improper influence or an altered state of mind/health due to medication, illness or other factors;
- whether others witnessed the change in the Will or beneficiary designation and the events leading to such changes;
- whether the decedent was isolated from loved ones and family members by the person benefiting most from the change;
- whether the change to the Will or beneficiary designation was made shortly before the decedent’s passing;
- whether the current beneficiary designation is a natural and expected disposition of assets (for example, it is natural for a parent to make gifts to their children and less natural to make substantial gifts to acquaintances).
Q: If I want to pursue a claim against my relatives, do I have to sue them?
A: Not necessarily. Many cases of this nature are often confidentially resolved prior to filing a lawsuit, sometimes with the assistance of an impartial, professional mediator. However, if all settlement efforts fail and you still wish to pursue your claim, it is likely you will have to file a lawsuit.
Q: How are attorneys’ fees paid in these types of cases?
A: Fee arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis and can be paid on an hourly, contingency, or blended fee basis. An hourly fee is simply the number of hours worked by the attorney on your case multiplied by the attorney’s hourly rate. Contingency fees are usually paid as a percentage of the gross amount recovered for the client in this case. Blended fees are a combination of a reduced hourly fee and contingency fee. In most cases, the client is required to provide a cost retainer, to pay for costs such as deposition transcripts, service of process, investigative fees, etc.
Q: Is there a minimum amount a case must be worth for the lawyer to consider it?
A: We encourage you to contact us regarding any potential case. However, cases involving lower dollar amounts often cost more to pursue than can be recovered. If your case is not suitable for our firm, we will let you know promptly so you may look for more suitable counsel at once.
Q: A long time has passed, can I still call you regarding my case?
A: The passage of time is very important when it comes to making claims and filing lawsuits – especially in the context of estate and probate litigation. If you believe you have a case, you should contact us or the lawyer of your choosing immediately, in order to avoid having your claim barred under applicable statute of limitations or other claims period deadlines. Please be advised, however, that by simply calling us, we are not your counsel. Only upon the entry of a written engagement agreement do we become your counsel.
Q: I do not live in Florida, can I still file a lawsuit there?
A: You do not need to live in Florida to file a lawsuit here. If a suit is filed, you may be compelled to come here to give testimony at a deposition or trial and to attend mediation. Until we hear the facts of your case, we can not determine which state your case should be filed in.
Q: I think my case is in a state other than Florida, can you handle it?
A: We are only authorized to practice law in Florida. In certain cases, we may ask the other state to accept us as your counsel on a limited basis, along with a local lawyer in the other jurisdiction.
All inquiries are considered highly confidential, are subject to conflict clearance and the entry into a written retainer agreement. This web site is provided for informational purposes only. Nothing herein may be construed as providing legal advice to you in your particular case. We are not your counsel unless and until a written retainer agreement is entered into between all parties. You may contact us telephonically or by email inquiry. All email inquires received will be responded to. Please put “Estate Inquiry” as the subject of all emails. If you do not receive a response from us by the end of the next business day, please call so that we may clear your email address from our email filters. We will respond to all inquiries.
The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free, written information about our qualifications and experience.