100 years + of collective legal malpractice experience

Handelsman children sue father’s mistress for legal malpractice

by | Oct 2, 2019 | Legal Malpractice |

The drama over a multi-million-dollar Palm Beach real estate company continues after the owner’s children sued the lawyer, who their mother said destroyed her and her husband’s 70-year marriage.

The children claim Jane Rankin, an attorney from Fort Lauderdale took advantage of her role as the family’s trusted legal adviser to become intimately involved with their 91-year-old father, Burt Handelsman while positioning herself to take control of his multi-million-dollar estate when he dies.

News reports say the children are seeking $250,000 from Rankin in damages for breaking her fiduciary responsibility with the family and multiple discrepancies regarding family-owned properties.

The Handelsman’s are known for owning several storefronts in on Worth Avenue.

Rankin was more than just the Handelsmans lawyer

Burt’s now ex-wife Lucille filed for divorce in 2016 and then sued him shortly after when he professed his love for Rankin, who was also a close family friend. Rankin and her former husband even vacationed with Handelsman family when they were still married.

Financial dispute over properties

Rankin reportedly helped Mr. Handelsman commit “fraud upon the court” by creating a long-term lease which aimed to financially punish his three children by stripping them of millions of dollars in property. Rankin also allegedly helped Burt negotiate a lease with another person for the family office on Fifth Street in West Palm Beach, which the children own.

The fight is far from over

As litigation proceedings continue, the Handelsman children plan on filing more lawsuits against their father’s lawyer and his mistress. The children are also a part of a legal campaign to get their father out of their lives. They plan on evicting him from his apartment and office buildings.