The Florida Bar filed a complaint on December 8, 2023, seeking professional discipline against attorney Norberto Sergio Katz. The complaint alleges Katz failed to provide competent legal representation and was unaware of key changes to Florida’s probate statutes.
The case is entitled “The Florida Bar v. Norberto Sergio Katz,” with case number 2023-30,598 (09C).
The charges cited Rules Regulating the Florida Bar 3-4.3, 4-1.1, 4-8.4(a)(d).
The case stems from an estate planning matter Katz handled. According to the complaint, Katz’s law partner David Veliz drafted wills in 2019 and 2021 for a client, Blanca Kokot, which named Veliz’s relatives as beneficiaries and his mother as personal representative. This was impermissible under Florida law. When other beneficiaries learned of Veliz’s family members’ standing to inherit, they raised concerns with Katz in 2021. The complaint says Katz did not recognize the issues with the will until the other beneficiaries’ lawyer brought it to his attention. Katz then advised Veliz’s mother and sister to waive their interests under the will.
While their appointment was not formally challenged, Veliz’s mother received $19,241.43 in compensation for serving as a personal representative. However, the complaint alleges she was not entitled to compensation because Veliz failed to comply with disclosure requirements under a 2020 amendment to Florida’s probate statute that Katz was unaware of.
As a result, The Florida Bar claims Katz failed to provide competent legal representation regarding the will’s defective provisions. It also accuses Katz of lacking knowledge of key changes to Florida probate law, even though half his practice involves such matters.
The Complaint states:
“WHEREFORE, The Florida Bar prays respondent will be appropriately disciplined in accordance with the provisions of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar as amended.”
According to avvo.com, Mr. Katz is a probate attorney in Orlando, Florida. He attended the Mississippi College School of Law, graduating in 1984. He acquired his law license in Florida in the same year.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.