Cristina Papanikos is a shareholder who focuses her practice on estate, trust and guardianship litigation. She represents fiduciaries and individuals involved in complicated and disputed estate and trust administrations and guardianships.

She counsels her fiduciary clients regarding their duties and her individual clients regarding their rights. She provides a wide array of litigation services to her clients, including representation in will and trust contests, actions to construe will and trust terms, breach of fiduciary duty claims and proceedings to remove and surcharge fiduciaries. She also assists her fiduciary and beneficiary clients in modifying trusts, reforming trusts and wills, as well as terminating trusts.

Cristina advises clients at all stages of guardianship proceedings, including representation during contested and uncontested proceedings to determine incapacity and to appoint guardians. She also counsels her clients serving as guardians regarding their duties, and ensures that these clients comply with accounting and reporting requirements and procedures.

Cristina is actively involved in shaping Florida’s laws, court rules and standards for ethical and competent practice in her field through her work in the Florida Bar’s Real Property, Probate and Trust Litigation Section and Florida Probate Rules Committee. She is also a published author and lecturer on these topics, and a member of the firm’s Women’s Leadership Forum.

Litigation is always stressful for clients; this is especially true in the world of estates, trusts and guardianships. Cristina’s experience and empathy help guide clients through the litigation process.

  • Florida Super Lawyers, “Rising Star,” 2010, 2012-18
  • South Florida Business & Wealth, Up & Comers finalist, 2016
  • University of Florida Levin College of Law “MacFarlane, Ferguson, Allison & Kelly Scholarship,” recipient
  • University of Florida Journal of Law and Public Policy, notes senior, 2003
  • “Anderson Scholar,” University of Florida
  • "Contribution in Breach of Trust Actions: The Uncharted Territory," 2016 Litigation and Trust Law Symposium, Tampa, Florida, March 4, 2016
  • “Select Litigation Developments: Making the Unclear Clear and the Clear Unclear,” 34th Annual RPPTL Legislative & Case Law Update Seminar, Palm Beach, Florida, August 1, 2014
  • “Working with Personal Representatives,” The Probate Process from Start to Finish for Paralegals, West Palm Beach, 2014, 2011, 2009
  • “Understanding the Laws of Intestacy,” The Probate Process from Start to Finish for Paralegals, West Palm Beach, 2014, 2011, 2009
  • “Probate Litigation,” Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc., Treasure Coast Chapter's Annual Seminar, 2010.
  • “Elective Share,” Practice Under Florida Probate Code, The Florida Bar, 6th-9th Ed., Co-Author
  • “Establishing the Guardianship,” Florida Guardianship Practice, The Florida Bar, 7th-9th Ed., Co-Author
  • “Cautionary Tales…Recent Case Law on Fiduciary Liability” written materials, 33rd Annual Attorney/Trust Officer Liaison Conference, Naples, Florida, June 13, 2014, Co-Author
  • “Legislative Developments Impacting Litigation and Arbitration” written materials, 33rd Annual RPPTL Legislative & Case Law Update Seminar, Palm Beach, Florida, July 26, 2013, Co-Author
  • “2012 Estate & Trust Litigation Update” written materials, 47th Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, Orlando, Florida, January 17, 2013, Co-Author
  • Florida Bar
    • Florida Probate Rules Committee
      • Co-chair, 2018-present
      • Co-vice chair, 2017
    • Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section
      • Probate Law & Procedure Committee, co-vice chair
      • Ad Hoc Study Committee on Spendthrift Trust Issues
      • Trust Law Committee
      • Probate & Trust Litigation Committee
      • Elective Share Review Committee
  • American College of Trusts and Estate Counsel, Florida Fellows Institute, Inaugural Class, 2015-16
  • Craig S. Barnard Inn of Court LIV, 2010-11, programming co-chair, 2011
  • JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes, 2011-13

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