Ausley McMullen

Sarah S. Butters

Sarah S. Butters | Shareholder

Areas of Practice

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Contact

sbutters@ausley.com
123 S. Calhoun St.
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Voice: 850-425-5447
Fax: 850-222-7560




Biography

Sarah S. Butters has extensive experience in estate, trust and related litigation; the preparation of wills, trusts and sophisticated estate planning techniques; and the administration of probates and trusts. Ms. Butters frequently serves as an expert witness and consultant on high stakes disputes.

Ms. Butters serves on the Executive Committee of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar and is the current Probate Division Director. She frequently testifies before the Florida House and Senate on legislation impacting the law of wills, trusts and guardianships. Ms. Butters is a Past President of the Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council, and an Adjunct Professor at Florida State University's College of Law where she has taught the law of wills and trusts since 2010.

Ms. Butters is a Fellow of the American College of Trusts and Estate Counsel, where she serves on the Fiduciary Litigation and State Laws Committees and Co-Chairs the Legal Education Committee.

Admitted to Practice

  • Florida

Professional & Community Involvement

  • The Florida Bar, Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section, Probate Division Director (2019-2021)
  • The Florida Bar, Executive Council and Executive Committee; Probate Law, Trust Law Committee and the Probate and Trust Litigation Committee (2008 to date)
  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Fellow since 2014 - Co-Chair of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel Legal Education Committee
  • Community Foundation of North Florida, Board of Directors (2020) and Planned Giving Advisor (2010 to date)
  • Professional Fiduciary Council of Florida - Founding Member, 2020 - Inaugural Chair of the Board of Directors, 2020-2022
  • Florida Legal Elite, Florida Trend Magazine, 2013, 2015-2020, in Wills, Trusts and Estates
  • Super Lawyer's Magazine Top 50 Female Attorneys 2019 and 2020; Super Lawyer 2016-2020; Rising Star – Wills and Trusts Litigation 2016-2020
  • The FSU Foundation - Professional Advisor and Member of the Planned Giving Council (2008 to date)
  • The FSU Seminole Boosters - Professional Advisor (2008 to date)
  • Florida State University, College of Law – Student mentor; conducts frequent resume and interviewing workshops for the Office of Career Placement (most recently in January 2017 and February 2017)
  • Be The Solution, Inc. (a 501(c)(3) charity that provides free spay/neuter vouchers to pet owners in the Big Bend community) - Founding Board Member and Secretary(2007 to 2015) - Director Emeritus (2016 to date)
  • Tallahassee Museum - Board Member (2008-2011) -Secretary (2010)
  • Big Bend Business Leadership Network (a co-op of businesses and community leaders who advocate for the employment of persons with disabilities) - Founding Board Member (2006 - 2010) - President (2010)
  • The Children's Home Society - Member of the Planned Giving Council (2012 to 2014)

Publications

  • “Danger Will Robinson: The New Frontier of Remote Online Notarization and Electronic Wills”, Co-Authored with Jenna Rubin, The Florida Bar Journal, November/December 2019
  • What’s Hot in Florida? Recent Developments in Florida Law (Co-Lecturers Shane Kelley and Elaine Bucher): University of Miami, Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, Orlando, FL, January 14 18, 2019
  • Probate Professionalism: Florida Bar’s Probate Law Seminar, Tampa, FL, November 2, 2018
  • Traps, Pitfalls and Problems that Go Bump in the Night: FLEA The Probate Team, Orlando, FL, October 5-6, 2018
  • 2018 Legislative Update: Attorney Trust Officer Liaison Conference, Palm Beach, FL, August 24-26, 2018
  • 2018 Legislative Revisions to the Florida Trust Code: 38th Annual Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section's Legislative Update and Case Law Seminar, Palm Beach, FL, July 27, 2018
  • Electronic Wills Symposium: Florida Bar, Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section’s Annual Convention, St. Petersburg, FL, June 1, 2018
  • Annual Florida Legislative Update: Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council, Tallahassee, FL, May 23, 2018
  • Planned Giving Under the 2018 Transfer Tax Rules: Florida State University Foundation, Tallahassee, FL, April 13, 2018
  • Estate and Trust Litigation: The Florida Bar’s Wills and Trusts Certification Review Course, Orlando, FL, April 6, 2018
  • Nonprofit Planning Giving Workshop, Co-Panelist: United Partners for Human Services, Tallahassee, FL, October 4, 2017
  • Electronic Wills and the Modernization of the Statute of Wills (Panel Presentation with Co-Panelist Suzanne Brown Walsh and Michael Delgado, Moderated by Peter Matwiczyk): The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel's Fall Meeting, Nashville, Tennessee, October 20, 2017, Fiduciary Litigation Committee
  • 2017 Legislative Update: Attorney Trust Officer Liaison Conference, Palm Beach, FL, August 25 27, 2017
  • Basic Estate Planning, Tallahassee Bar Association’s Legal Community Conference, Tallahassee, FL, May 12, 2017
  • 2017 Florida Legislative Update, Capital City Trust Company, Tallahassee, FL, May 10, 2017
  • Estate and Trust Litigation, The Florida Bar’s Wills and Trusts Certification Review Course, Orlando, FL, April 7, 2017
  • Overview of the New Professional Guardian Regulations, The Florida Bar’s Annual Guardianship Seminar, Miami, FL, April 28, 2017
  • Annual Florida Legislative Update, Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council, Tallahassee, FL June 2017
  • Probate and Trust Appeals, The Florida Lawyers Support Service, Probate Team Seminar, Orlando, FL, October 28-29, 2016
  • A Primer on Estate and Trust Litigation, The Florida Bar Wills and Trusts Certification Review Course, Orlando, FL, April 9, 2016
  • 2016 Hot Topics and the Best of the ACTEC List Serve, Co-Authored with Charles A. Redd and Steven E. Tryten
  • "Powers of Appointment in the Current Planning Environment," Co-Authored with Prof. Thomas P. Gallanis and Turney P. Berry, in The Forty-Ninth Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, edited by Tina Portuondo. New Providence, NJ: LexisNexis, 2015
  • The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel 2016 Annual Meeting, March 20, 2016, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Trust & Estate Litigation, Chapter Co-Author, Strategies for Trusts and Estates in Florida, 2015 ed.
  • Powers of Appointment in the Current Planning Environment, Co-Author, The Forty-Ninth Annual Heckerling, 2015
  • Institute on Estate Planning, 2015
  • E-Z Legal Forms May Not Be So Easy After All, ActionLine, Summer 2014
  • Do You Have a CDA Plan?, Wealth Strategies Journal, March 14, 2014
  • Key Factors of a Computer Digital Account (CDA) Plan to Protect Your Legacy, Holland & Knight Newsletter, December 2013
  • January 31 Deadline to Transfer IRA Funds to Charities and Have It Count for 2012, Holland & Knight Alert, January 23, 2013
  • In Summary (Administration), There Are Problems, ActionLine, Winter 2013
  • The Kids Are Fine, But Who Are the Parents?, Holland & Knight Alert, November 1, 2012
  • Intellectual Capital for the Wealth Management Community, Family Office Exchange Newsletter, November 2010
  • Technological Advances Create New Obstacles for Personal Representatives, Holland & Knight Newsletter, November 2009
  • PRESENTATIONS

  • Remote Notarization - Orange County Bar Association, Orlando, FL, August 28, 2020
  • Remote Online Notary and E-Notarization in the Virtual Environment - Broward County Bar Association, Broward County, FL, June 30, 2020
  • Covid-19’s Impact on Legal Education (Panel Presentation with Co-Panelist Ron Scalise)
  • The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel's Summer Meeting, June 19, 2020, Legal Education Committee
  • Annual Florida Legislative Update - Boca Raton Estate Planning Council, Tallahassee, FL, May 28, 2019
  • Annual Florida Legislative Update - Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council, Tallahassee, FL, April 22, 2019
  • Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (Panel Presentation with Co-Panelist Turney Berry and Ronald Aucutt)
  • The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel's Annual Meeting, Boca Raton, FL, March 2020, State Laws Committee
  • Florida’s Electronic Wills and Remote Notarization - The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel's Annual Meeting, Boca Raton, FL, March 2020, State Laws Committee
  • Fiduciary Duties - First Annual Florida Fiduciary Conference, St. Petersburg, FL, February 6, 2020
  • Challenges and Experiences of Trust and Estate Adjunct Professors (Panel Presentation with Co-Panelists David Pratt and Elizabeth Bawden)
  • The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel's Fall Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 19, 2019, Legal Education Litigation Committee
  • Electronic Wills - FLEA The Probate Team, Orlando, FL, October 11, 2019
  • The Dos and Don’ts of Dot Com Estate Planning - 39th Annual Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section's Legislative Update and Case Law Seminar, Palm Beach, FL, July 26, 2019
  • 2019 Legislative Update – Second Circuit Legislative Update, present the RPPTL Section of the Florida Bar and the Capital Regional Real Estate Council, Tallahassee, FL, July 11, 2019
  • Annual Florida Legislative Update - Pensacola Estate Planning Council, Pensacola, FL, June 18, 2019
  • Electronic Legal Documents (Co-Presented with Burt Bruton) - Florida Bar, Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section’s Annual Convention, Clearwater, FL, May 31, 2019
  • Annual Florida Legislative Update - Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council, Tallahassee, FL, May 22, 2019
  • What’s Hot in Florida? Recent Developments in Florida Law (Co-Lecturers Shane Kelley and Elaine Bucher) - University of Miami, Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, Orlando, FL, January 14-18, 2019
  • Probate Professionalism - Florida Bar’s Probate Law Seminar, Tampa, FL, November 2, 2018
  • Traps, Pitfalls and Problems that Go Bump in the Night - FLEA The Probate Team, Orlando, FL, October 5-6, 2018
  • 2018 Legislative Update - Attorney Trust Officer Liaison Conference, Palm Beach, FL, August 24-26, 2018
  • 2018 Legislative Revisions to the Florida Trust Code - 38th Annual Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section's Legislative Update and Case Law Seminar, Palm Beach, FL, July 27, 2018
  • Electronic Wills Symposium - Florida Bar, Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section’s Annual Convention, St. Petersburg, FL, June 1, 2018
  • Annual Florida Legislative Update - Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council, Tallahassee, FL, May 23, 2018
  • Planned Giving Under the 2018 Transfer Tax Rules - Florida State University Foundation, Tallahassee, FL, April 13, 2018
  • Estate and Trust Litigation - The Florida Bar’s Wills and Trusts Certification Review Course, Orlando, FL, April 6, 2018
  • Nonprofit Planning Giving Workshop, Co-Panelist - United Partners for Human Services, Tallahassee, FL, October 4, 2017
  • Electronic Wills and the Modernization of the Statute of Wills (Panel Presentation with Co-Panelist Suzanne Brown Walsh and Michael Delgado, Moderated by Peter Matwiczyk)
  • The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel's Fall Meeting, Nashville, Tennessee, October 20, 2017, Fiduciary Litigation Committee
  • 2017 Legislative Update - Attorney Trust Officer Liaison Conference, Palm Beach, FL, August 25-27, 2017
  • Basic Estate Planning - Tallahassee Bar Association’s Legal Community Conference, Tallahassee, FL, May 12, 2017
  • Estate and Trust Litigation - The Florida Bar’s Wills and Trusts Certification Review Course, Orlando, FL, April 7, 2017
  • Overview of the New Professional Guardian Regulations - The Florida Bar’s Annual Guardianship Seminar, Miami, FL, April 28, 2017
  • Annual Florida Legislative Update - Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council, Tallahassee, FL June 2017
  • A Primer on Probate and Guardianship Appeals - The Florida Legal Education Association (FLEA) 2016 Probate Team, Orlando, FL, October 28-29, 2016
  • A Primer on Estate and Trust Litigation - The Florida Bar’s Wills and Trusts Certification Review Course, Orlando, FL, April 9, 2016
  • Annual Florida Case Law and Legislative Update - Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council, Tallahassee, FL April 27, 2016
  • Charitable Planned Giving Basics (Co-Lecturers Joy Watkins, Director of the Community Foundation of North Florida and Dione Guest, Director of Planned Giving at the FSU Foundation) - Association of Planned Giving Professionals, Tallahassee, FL, February 11, 2016
  • Summary, Ancillary and Intestate Administrations (Co-Lecturer William Lane) - The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel's Florida Fellow Institute, Tampa, FL, November 20, 2015
  • Probate: 50 Exciting Ways to Mess it Up! - The Probate Team/Florida Legal Education Association (FLEA), Orlando, FL, October 9, 2015
  • The Basics of Generation Skipping Tax Transfers (Co-Lecturer Prof. Lee-Ford Tritt, University of Florida, College of Law) - Attorney Trust Officer Liaison Conference, Palm Beach, FL, August 28, 2015
  • The New and Improved Health Care Surrogate - 35th Annual Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section's Legislative Update and Case Law Seminar, Palm Beach, FL, July 30 - August 1, 2015
  • Impact of Same Sex Marriage on Probate and Inheritance Rights - The Florida Bar’s Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section's Annual Meeting, Miami Beach, FL, June 5, 2015
  • Fiduciary Litigation - The Florida Bar Wills and Trusts Certification Review Course, Orlando, FL, Spring 2015
  • Powers of Appointment in the Current Planning Environment - Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council, Tallahassee, FL, January 28, 2015
  • A Closer Look at Powers of Appointment in the Current Planning Environment (Co-Lecturers Turney Berry and Prof. Thomas Gallanis, University of Iowa, College of Law) - University of Miami, Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, Orlando, FL, January 12-16, 2015
  • Proposed Legislation Regarding Revisions to the Charitable Trust Code - The Florida Bar’s Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section Meeting, Palm Beach, FL, July 31, 2014
  • The Uniform Probate Code's Harmless Error Rule - Florida Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Annual Meeting, Palm Beach, FL, July 30, 2014
  • Estate and Trust Litigation - The Florida Bar’s Wills and Trusts Certification Review Course, Tampa, FL, April 4-5, 2014
  • Hot Topics: A Review of the Most Recent Developments, Cases and Rulings in the Estate Planning Area (Co-Lecturers Charles “Skip” Fox IV and Ellen Harrison) - The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel's Annual Meeting, Tucson, Arizona, March 9, 2014
  • In Summary, There are Problems with Summary Administration - The Florida Bar’s Real Property Probate & Trust Law Section’s Probate Law Seminar, Tampa, FL, February 21, 2013
  • Turbocharging the Estate Plan - The ABA Midyear Meeting, Tax Section, Orlando, FL, January 26, 2013
  • Annual Case Law and Legislative Update - Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council, Tallahassee, FL, 2009- date
  • Common Issues in Probate Litigation - National Business Institute, Tallahassee, FL, June 12, 2008
  • The New Florida Trust Code - Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council, Tallahassee, FL, April 28, 2008
  • Probate: The Essential Basics - National Business Institute, Tallahassee, FL, March 26, 2008
  • Florida's New Trust Code - Merrill Lynch Trust Company, Jacksonville, FL, October 16, 2007
  • Obtaining and Maintaining 501(c)3 Charitable Organization Status - U.S. Business Leadership's Annual Conference, Orlando, FL, September 26, 2007
  • Probate Process from Start to Finish - National Business Institute, Tallahassee, FL, September 18, 2007 and September 29, 2006
  • Charitable Gifting Techniques - Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council (Co-Lecturer Edward F. Koren), Tallahassee, FL, May 12, 2006

Education

  • Florida State University College of Law, J.D., summa cum laude 2001
  • Florida State University, B.S., Criminology 1993

Extended Profile

Basic Estate Planning, Tallahassee Bar Association's Legal Community Conference, Tallahassee, FL, May 12, 2017
2017 Florida Legislative Update, Capital City Trust Company, Tallahassee, FL, May 10, 2017
Estate and Trust Litigation, The Florida Bar's Wills and Trusts Certification Review Course, Orlando, FL, April 7, 2017
Overview of the New Professional Guardian Regulations, The Florida Bar's Annual Guardianship Seminar, Miami, FL, April 28, 2017
Annual Florida Legislative Update, Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council, Tallahassee, FL June 2017
Probate and Trust Appeals, The Florida Lawyers Support Service, Probate Team Seminar, Orlando, FL, October 28-29, 2016
A Primer on Estate and Trust Litigation, The Florida Bar Wills and Trusts Certification Review Course, Orlando, FL, April 9, 2016
Hot Topics: A Review of the Most Recent Developments, Cases and Rulings in the Estate Planning Area, Co-Lecturer, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel's Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 20, 2016
Who Gets to Make the Rules – the Settlor or the Beneficiary? A Discussion on the Balancing Settlor Intent and the Benefit the Beneficiary Rule, Co-Lecturer, Litigation and Trust Law Symposium, Tampa, FL, March 4, 2016
Summary, Ancillary and Intestate Administrations, Co-Lecturer, Florida ACTEC Fellow Institute, Tampa, FL, November 20, 2015
Probate: 50 Exciting Ways to Mess it Up!, The Probate Team/Florida Legal Education Association (FLEA), Orlando, FL, October 9, 2015
The Basics of Generation Skipping Tax Transfers., Attorney Trust Officer Liaison Conference, August 27 28, 2015
The New and Improved Health Care Surrogate, 35th Annual RPPTL Legislative Update and Case Law Seminar, July 30 - August 1, 2015
Legislative and Case Law Update, Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council Program, June 24, 2015
Impact of Same Sex Marriage on Probate and Inheritance Rights, Florida Bar's Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section's Annual Meeting, June 5, 2015
Fiduciary Access to a Decedent's Online Accounts and Digital Assets, Florida House of Representative's Civil Justice Committee, February 17, 2015
Florida's Power of Attorney Statutes, Florida Senate's Judiciary Committee, February 17, 2015
Fiduciary Litigation, The Florida Bar Wills and Trusts Certification Review Course, Spring 2015
Powers of Appointment in the Current Planning Environment, Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council, Tallahassee, FL, January 28, 2015
49th Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, A Closer Look at Powers of Appointment in the Current Planning Environment, January 12-16, 2015
Proposed Legislation Regarding Revisions to the Charitable Trust Code, Florida Bar's Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section Meeting, July 31, 2014
The Uniform Probate Code's Harmless Error Rule, Florida Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Annual Meeting, July 30, 2014
Case Law & Legislative Update, Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council, June 25, 2014
Fiduciary Litigation, The Florida Bar Wills and Trusts Certification Review Course, April 4-5, 2014
Hot Topics: A Review of the Most Recent Developments, Cases and Rulings in the Estate Planning Area, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel's Annual Meeting, March 9, 2014
Wills and Trusts - Selected Topics Course, Visiting Lecturer, Florida State University College of Law, Tallahassee, FL, 2006-2014
Gratuitous Transfers, Adjunct Professor, Florida State University College of Law, Fall 2010-2014
Annual Case Law and Legislative Update, Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council, Tallahassee, FL, 2009-2013
In Summary, There are Problems with Summary Administration, The Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education Committee and the Real Property Probate & Trust Law Section Probate Law Seminar, February 21, 2013
Turbocharging the Estate Plan, ABA Section of Taxation Midyear Meeting, January 26, 2013
Common Issues in Probate Litigation, National Business Institute, Tallahassee, FL, June 12, 2008
The New Florida Trust Code, Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council, Tallahassee, FL, April 28, 2008
Probate: The Essential Basics, National Business Institute, Tallahassee, FL, March 26, 2008
Florida's New Trust Code, Merrill Lynch, Jacksonville, FL, October 16, 2007
Obtaining and Maintaining 501(c)3 Charitable Organization Status, US Business Leadership's Annual Conference, Orlando, FL, September 26, 2007
Probate Process from Start to Finish, National Business Institute, Tallahassee, FL, September 18, 2007
Probate Process from Start to Finish, National Business Institute, Tallahassee, FL, September 29, 2006
Charitable Gifting Techniques, Tallahassee Regional Estate Planning Council, Tallahassee, FL, May 12, 2006

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