Baskin Fleece, Attorneys at Law

Baskin Fleece, Attorneys at Law

BaskinFleece primarily deals with controversies involving estates, trusts, wills and guardianships in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, Florida. Areas of focus: estate planning, as well as trust, probate, and guardianship litigation.

Firm Overview

BaskinFleece is a trusts and estates law firm centrally located in Pinellas County, just minutes from the courthouses in St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Tampa. BaskinFleece routinely deals with estate planning and litigation matters, including issues concerning the validity of wills and trusts, breach of fiduciary duty, lack of capacity, spousal rights, creditors' rights and anything related to wills, trusts and guardianships. The vast experience in dealing with and resolving these specific issues has given the firm a wealth of knowledge - which other less involved firms may not have. It is that knowledge base that sets BaskinFleece apart from the other firms and attorneys practicing in estate planning and wills, plus trust and probate litigation and related areas of law.

BaskinFleece handles trust litigation, probate litigation, and guardianship litigation cases in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa and throughout Florida, from the pre-suit stages - including mediation - all the way through trial, both jury and non-jury, and at the appellate level, if necessary. In addition, the firm assists clients with estate planning from the drafting of a simple will to complex tax planning and wealth transfer matters for high-asset estates. BaskinFleece handles all aspects of probate and trust administration as well, accomplishing the process capably, competently, and in a timely fashion for the benefit of heirs, beneficiaries and all parties involved.

BaskinFleece also provides legal services related to real estate and business law, both transactional and litigation.

In all matters, the client is and remains the firm's main focus. Aspects of litigation such as cost, emotional impact and timeliness are all important to the client, and the firm strives for an end result which leaves the client feeling that justice was accomplished in an efficient and effective manner.
Main Office

Main Office
13535 Feather Sound Drive
Suite 200
Clearwater  FL  33762

Phone
  • (727) 572-4545
Fax
  • (727) 572-4646
Estate Planning
The firm primarily deals with controversies involving estates, trusts, wills and guardianships in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. BaskinFleece routinely deals with estate planning as well as estate, trust and guardianship litigation matters.
At BaskinFleece, our firm's primary focus is on litigation contested estate, trust and guardianship matters in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Pinellas County and throughout the state of Florida. While we do have lawyers that engage in the important tasks of estate planning, wills and estate and trust administration, the vast majority of our cases involve contested wills, estate, trust and guardianship matters.

We have handled a multitude of litigation and contested cases involving wills and trusts based on undue influence, lack of capacity, improper execution and even insane delusions. We have successfully defended fiduciaries who have been sued for breaching their fiduciary duties, and we have also successfully prosecuted cases against fiduciaries that have breached their duties of loyalty and impartiality to beneficiaries. As well, we have sued fiduciaries for failing to account for the estate or trust assets.

We have represented beneficiaries, spouses, children, charities, creditors and anyone else who has had an interest in an estate or trust and found they needed legal representation in litigation matters.

Not only do we have an intimate knowledge of probate and trust law, but we have the courtroom experience to effectively advocate for our clients' positions in probate and trust litigation. We have handled cases all over the state of Florida and even out of state. We know how to focus our pre-trial discovery to develop the facts that are needed to win. We know how to weave those facts with the law to tell a convincing story at trial to the judge or jury.

We also understand the stress most clients endure when they are involved in litigation. While we like to try cases, sometimes an early resolution through mediation and settlement is preferred by the client or is in the client's best interests. Our clients' needs and desires are paramount in any probate, trust or guardianship litigation that we handle.

Many lawyers tout themselves as "probate litigators," but few have the experience and depth of knowledge possessed by the attorneys at BaskinFleece in Clearwater.

How did your firm decide on the primary area of practice(s)?

The trusts and probate lawyers at BaskinFleece take the responsibility of being a lawyer very seriously. We practice law as a profession and possess a great deal of knowledge and experience in contested estate, guardianship, probate and trust law litigation. We are proud to be committed to the very highest standards expected of the legal profession, and to practice with integrity, innovation, and a commitment to public service.

Both Mr. Fleece and Mr. Baskin's primary focus in their practices had been in the wills, estate and trust litigation areas of law. In 2004 they decided to combine their extensive knowledge and experience to create a unique law firm that was focused mainly on contested wills, estate, trust and guardianship matters. Their philosophy was simple: leverage trial skills with the knowledge of probate and trust law to provide consistent, efficient and effective representation for their clients resulting in positive outcomes.

The firm quickly developed a reputation as the "go to" firm in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Pinellas County and throughout the state of Florida for highly complex and contested matters such as post-death fights regarding wills, trusts and estates, or pre-death disputes which many times involve guardianships and litigation.

What experience or education distinguishes your lawyers from others

Integrity: A lawyer's good reputation is everything. Our relationship and reputation with our clients, the courts, our colleagues and even our adversaries are based upon honesty, trust, candor and upholding the highest ethical standards of the Florida Bar. We believe our actions enhance our reputation with all whom we encounter. Our adversaries may not like us, but they do respect us.

Courage: We we welcome representation of clients in difficult, sometimes seemingly hopeless cases. Having large national or regional firms as adversaries does not intimidate us. We are not afraid to represent the underdog. Many times we have represented the weak and frail, victimized by unscrupulous persons who have taken undue advantage of their superior position.

Public Service: We have strong ties to our local communities and believe it is our responsibility to support our local charitable organizations by providing financial support, leadership and participation on boards and committees.

What distinguishes your law firm from others?

Innovation: We are willing try new ideas, including the advancement and advocacy of novel legal theories to achieve the results sought by our clients.

Dedication: We are dedicated to providing the very best legal advice and services to our clients through collaboration, innovation and communication to effectively advocate and advance our clients' interests in wills, probate, trust and guardianship litigation.

Experience: Not only do we have an intimate knowledge of probate and trust law, but we have the courtroom experience to effectively advocate for our clients' positions in probate and trust litigation. We have handled cases all over the state of Florida and even out of state. We know how to focus our pre-trial discovery to develop the facts that are needed to win. We know how to weave those facts with the law to tell a convincing story at trial to the judge or jury.

Hamden H. Baskin, III

Partner

Hamden was born in Clearwater, Florida, and is a third generation lawyer. Hamden attended Florida State University, where he obtained his Bachelors of Science degree in 1976, followed by his Master's Degree in Criminology in 1979. Hamden attended Oklahoma City University Law School, and graduated with Honors, in 1983, and after serving as a staff attorney, to the Honorable Patricia Robinson, First District Court of Appeal, he attended the University of Florida, where he obtained his Master's Degree in taxation, in 1985. Hamden's practice areas are primarily in the area of trust, estate litigation and fiduciary litigation, including Guardianship litigation, estate planning and probate and trust administration.

In 2004 he became associated with the Terry Schiavo case, where he served as trial counsel to Michael Schiavo for several years, appearing on numerous local and national news and information shows, including CNN and Scarborough Country to name a few. Hamden is an AV rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell, and is a member of the Litigation Counsel of America. He served as a Special Master for the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court, hearing cases under Florida's Baker Act, was appointed Special Prosecutor by Circuit Judge Thomas E. Pennick, to prosecute court-appointed guardians for criminal contempt. Hamden has extensive trial experience handling jury and non-jury trials, and has handled complex transactional corporate and commercial matters.

Hamden is admitted to the Oklahoma and Florida Bars, as well as the United States District Court, Middle District, U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit, U.S. Tax Court and the US Supreme Court. Hamden is a frequent speaker at Law Seminars, Bar Association meetings, and numerous other groups. He served as Chairman of the Florida Bar Grievance Committee, and currently serves on the Florida Bar Unlicensed Practice of Law Committee. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for John Hopkins - All Children's Hospital, and is former Chairman of the Board, and Current Trustee of Directions for Mental Health, Clearwater, Florida, and is a member of the Rotary Club of Clearwater, and is a member of the Dean's Executive Council, for the Oklahoma City University Law School. Hamden is a Master with the Barney Masterson Inns of Court, and has held numerous other voluntary positions, throughout the community.

Practice Focus:
Trusts and Estates Litigation, Fiduciary Litigation, Probate and Trust Administration, Estate Planning; Business Law and Commercial Litigation

Noteworthy
- Inducted into the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA) as a Fellow
- Florida Super Lawyers, 2015
- AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell
- Oklahoma City University Law School - Alumni of the Year 2013
Education
  • Oklahoma City University
    Juris Doctorate, with honors , 1983
  • University of Florida
    LL.M., Taxation , 1985

Joseph W. "Jay" Fleece, III

Partner

Joseph W. "Jay" Fleece, III, is a native Floridian having been born and raised in St. Petersburg. Mr. Fleece started practicing law in 1980 with the firm of Belcher & Fleece, P.A., and subsequently joined Holland & Knight, where he was a partner heading up the litigation department of the St. Petersburg office. In 2004, Mr. Fleece joined with Hamden H. Baskin, III, and founded the law firm of BaskinFleece, located in Clearwater, Florida.

Mr. Fleece is a graduate of Tulane University and Stetson University College of Law. Mr. Fleece is an AV rated lawyer by Martindale Hubbell and has been named as a Florida Super Lawyer since 2007 and as one of the Best Lawyers in America since 2010. Mr. Fleece's practice has focused on estate, trust, and fiduciary litigation for the past 34 years and he has been involved in many complex cases throughout Florida, both at the trial and appellate levels, and has appeared as counsel in matters in California and South Carolina.

Mr. Fleece is a Fellow of the Litigation Council of America and is admitted to practice in the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit; U.S. Tax Court; and the United States Supreme Court.

Mr. Fleece has also been active in his community, having previously served as president of the Police Athletic League, PARC, Sunshine City Jaycees, and he has previously served on the boards of the local YMCA and Red Cross. Mr. Fleece is a former Chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida and a past Commodore of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club. Currently, Mr. Fleece serves as a member of the Board of All Children's Hospital.

Professional Honors and Distinctions:
AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell
Best Lawyers in America, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Florida Super Lawyers, 2007-2015
Florida Trend Legal Elite, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2015
Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
2011 Recipient of the Distinguished Citizens Award by the West Central Florida Council Boy Scouts of America

Bar Admissions:
Florida
United States District Court, Middle District of Florida
U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Tax Court

Previously admitted pro hac vice:
2008 United States District Court, Central District of California
2011 Greenville County Probate Court, South Carolina

Community and Civic Affiliations:
All Children's Hospital - current member of the Board of Trustees
Pinellas County Community Foundation - Member, Board of Directors
PARC - Past Chairman of the Board
Police Athletic League - Past President
Sunshine City Jaycees - Past President
Canterbury School of Florida - Past Member, Board of Trustees
American Red Cross, Tampa Bay Chapter - Past Member, Board of Directors
YMCA - Past Member, Board of Directors
St. Petersburg Yacht Club - Past Commodore
Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida - Former Chancellor; Member, The Standing Committee
St. Thomas Episcopal Church - Life Member; Former Vestry Member
Education
  • Stetson University College of Law
    Juris Doctorate , 1980

Colleen A. Carson

Partner

A native Floridian, Colleen A. Carson was born in Gainesville and raised in Tampa. In 2003, Ms. Carson graduated from Furman University with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, after which she attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Ms. Carson went on to earn her Master's degree in taxation from Boston University in 2007. That same year, Ms. Carson joined the Baskin Fleece team.

Ms. Carson is affiliated with several community and civic organizations. She is a frequent speaker at seminars for financial advisors, among numerous other groups. Currently, Ms. Carson is Treasurer of the Clearwater Bar Association and is a member of the Florida Probate Rules Committee of the Florida Bar. Ms. Carson is on the Board of Directors for the Lighthouse of Pinellas, she is a member of the Pinellas Park Rotary Club, a member of the Suncoast Estate Planning Council, and a member of the Furman University Planned Giving Advisory Board. Ms. Carson is a Past-President of the Pinellas County Estate Planning Council and remains active on their Board of Directors. Ms. Carson has also been a Trustee for the Clearwater Bar Foundation.

Ms. Carson's practice areas include estate planning, trust and estate administration, guardianship administration, business formations, and real estate transactions. She is licensed to issue title insurance through The Attorneys' Title Insurance Fund, Inc. and Old Republic National Title Insurance Company.


Practice Focus
-Estate Planning
-Corporate Law
-Probate and Trust Administration
-Guardianship Administration
-Real Estate Law


Noteworthy

Committee Member, Florida Probate Rules Committee of the Florida Bar, 2014-2017 term

Florida Super Lawyers Rising Star, 2013, 2014, 2015

Held a strong leadership role in the Young Lawyers Division of the Clearwater Bar Association as a Past President, Treasurer and Secretary.

Ms. Carson was an integral part in writing a grant to the Young Lawyers Section of the Florida Bar Association seeking a grant to start an "Interview for Success" program in Pinellas County, Florida. Ms. Carson's team, through the Clearwater Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division, won top grant funding.
Education
  • Thomas Jefferson School of Law
    Juris Doctorate , 2006
  • Boston University
    LL.M., Taxation , 2007

Jeffrey A. Eisel

Partner

Jeffrey A. Eisel is a two-time graduate of University of Florida. In 2004, Mr. Eisel earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and began working as an Analyst on the Pricing Team at Tech Data, a Fortune 500 company dealing in IT product and service distribution. Three years later, he returned to his alma mater, this time graduating from University of Florida's Levin College of Law, with honors, in 2011. During law school, Mr. Eisel spent a summer as a Law Clerk in the General Counsel's office at Jabil Circuit, a Fortune 500 manufacturing services company.


Practice Focus

Mr. Eisel's practice areas include guardianship administration and litigation, probate administration and litigation, trust administration and litigation, fiduciary litigation, estate planning, commercial litigation, civil litigation, and business law.


Noteworthy

Mr. Eisel serves on the Executive Committee for the St. Petersburg Bar Foundation's Holidays in July, a charity event focused on enriching the lives of foster children in Pinellas County. He is also a member of the Young Lawyers Section of the St. Petersburg Bar Association and the Clearwater Bar Association, as well as a member of the Thomas E. Penick, Jr. Elder Law American Inn of Court.
Education
  • University of Florida Levin College of Law
    Juris Doctorate, with honors , 2011

Joseph W. Fleece

Of Counsel

Education:
-University of Florida, B.S.B.A., 1953
-Stetson University, J.D., 1967, replaced LL.B. conferred, 1956

Practice Areas:
-Probate
-Estate Planning
-Estate and Trust Administration

Professional Memberships:
-St. Petersburg Bar Association (Real Property, Probate and Trust Law and Senior Lawyers Division)
-American Bar Association (Real Property, Probate and Trust Law and Senior Lawyers Division)
-Florida Bar (Executive Council, Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, 1976-2008; Chairman, Trust Law Committee, 1984-1993).

Bar Admissions:
-Florida, 1956
-U.S. Supreme Court, 1968

Professional Honors and Distinctions:
-Recipient of the William S. Belcher award for service to hospital, 2003
-Board Certified by The Florida Bar of Legal Specialization and Education; Wills, Trusts and Estates
-Prior to joining Baskin Fleece, he was a partner at the St. Petersburg office of Holland & Knight LLP.

Community and Civic Affiliations:
-Rotary Club of St. Petersburg
-Suncoasters
-Centerbanc Savings Assn, (formerly St. Petersburg Savings & Loan Assn.) - Past Chairman, Board of Directors
-St. Petersburg Yacht Club - Past Commodore
-St. Petersburg University of Florida Alumni Club - Past President
-Gator Booster, Scholarship Club and the University of Florida Foundation Advisory Council
-All Children's Hospital - Past Trustee and Chairman
-All Children's Hospital Systems - Past Trustee and Chairman
-Suncoast Estate Planning Council - Member, Board of Directors
-St. Thomas' Episcopal Church - Former Vestryman and Chancellor
Education
  • Stetson University
    Juris Doctorate, 1967, replaced LL.B. conferred, 1956

Samantha "Sam" Tracy

Samantha "Sam" Tracy attended Appalachian State University, graduating summa cum laude with Bachelor of Science degrees in Psychology and Criminal Justice. During her undergraduate career, she served as a Research Assistant to Psychology professor Dr. Kenneth Steele, and was an intern at the North Carolina Attorney General's Law Enforcement Liaison Section. Ms. Tracy attended Florida State University College of Law, during which time she was a Law Clerk at the Law Office of Lee Meadows and a Law Clerk at the Florida Office of the Attorney General.


Practice Focus

Ms. Tracy's practice areas include trust and estate litigation, fiduciary litigation, probate administration, trust administration, estate planning, and civil litigation.
Education
  • Florida State University College of Law
    Juris Doctorate, with honors , 2014

Randall D. Baskin

Fourth-generation lawyer Randall D. Baskin was born and raised in Clearwater, Florida. Mr. Baskin earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration at Auburn University, during which time he interned for a summer at the Lee County, Alabama Clerk of Court. While pursuing his Master of Public Administration degree at Florida Atlantic University, Mr. Baskin worked as a Filing Clerk at a litigation law firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Baskin also spent two summers as a Summer Clerk at Baskin Fleece, Attorneys at Law.

While attending Florida Coastal School of Law, Mr. Baskin was the Treasurer of the Real Property, Probate, Trusts Law Club in 2013. During law school, Mr. Baskin spent a summer as a Judicial Intern for The Honorable Bruce Boyer, Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pinellas County, Florida. He also worked as a Legal Intern at Regency Centers in Jacksonville, Florida, a company which owns, operates, and develops retail centers, and at Adecco, N.A., one of the largest staffing companies in the world, also in Jacksonville, Florida.

Practice Areas:
Mr. Baskin's practice areas include estate planning, corporate law, probate and trust administration, guardianship administration, and real estate law.
Education
  • Florida Coastal School of Law
    Juris Doctorate , 2015

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