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St. Petersburg Estate Planning Lawyer > Our Team > Joseph W. “Jay” Fleece, III

Joseph W. “Jay” Fleece, III

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 formed the estate and trust litigation firm of BaskinFleece located in Clearwater, Florida. In 2018, Mr. Fleece returned his practice to St. Petersburg to join his longtime friend, Bill McQueen, at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP.

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 42 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 Senior Fellow of the Litigation Council of America and is admitted to practice in Florida as well as 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. He is certified by the Supreme Court of Florida as a Circuit Mediator.

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 past Commodore of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, former Chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese for South West Florida, and past Chairman of the Pinellas Community Foundation.

Currently, Mr. Fleece serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, having previously served as Chairman of the Board.


  • St. Petersburg, Florida, May 27, 1955


  • Tulane University, B.A., 1977
  • Stetson University College of Law, J.D., 1980

Practice Areas

  • Trusts and Estates Litigation
  • Fiduciary Litigation
  • Estate and Trust Administration
  • Supreme Court of Florida Certified Civil Mediator

Professional Memberships

  • The Florida Bar
  • St. Petersburg Bar Association
  • Clearwater Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the American Bar Association
  • Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar
  • Member, Trial Lawyers Section of The Florida Bar
  • Trial Law Institute
  • Diversity Law Institute

Honors and Distinctions

  • AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell
  • Best Lawyers in America® 2010-2024
  • Florida Super Lawyers in 2007-2024
  • Florida Trend Legal Elite in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2015, 2016, and 2021
  • Recipient, Distinguished Citizen Award by the West Coast of Florida Council Boy Scouts of America
  • Senior Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America

Bar Admissions

U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida and U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth and Eleventh Circuits; 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

  • Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, current member of the Board of Trustees
  • Pinellas Community Foundation, past Chairman of the Board
  • PARC past Chairman of the Board
  • St. Petersburg Police Athletic League, past President
  • Sunshine City Jaycees, Past President
  • Canterbury School of Florida, past member of the Board of Trustees
  • American Red Cross, Tampa Bay Chapter, past member of the Board of Directors
  • YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg, past member of the Board of Directors
  • Dragon Club, Past President
  • St. Petersburg Yacht Club, Past Commodore
  • Former Chancellor, Episcopal Diocese of South West Florida

Reported Decisions of cases by Joseph W. “Jay” Fleece, III

Mr. Fleece’s long involvement with trust and estate litigation can also be seen in the appellate cases that have been reported in which he was involved. These cases have dealt with issues such as trustee removal for breach of fiduciary duty, undue influence in the making of a will, Florida’s elective share statutes and the rights of surviving spouses, the unconstitutionality of Florida’s Mortmain Statute, and many other legal issues and disputes surrounding estate and trust administration. If you are involved in a probate, will or trust dispute in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Pinellas County or throughout the state of Florida, contact Joseph W. “Jay” Fleece, III at Legacy Protection Lawyers for experienced and effective advocacy.

Reported Decisions:

  • Unum v. Guyer, 2021 WL 849838 M.D. Fla. 2021
  • Ebeling v. SunTrust Bank as trustee of Richard W. Kohler Tr., 275 So. 3d 716 (Fla. 2d DCA 2019)
  • Casey v. Jensen, 189 So. 3d 924 (Fla. 2d DCA 2016)
  • Grasso v. Grasso, 143 So. 3d 1050 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014)
  • Lee v. Estate of Payne, 148 So. 3d 776 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013)
  • Grasso v. Grasso, 113 So. 3d 855 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012)
  • Boren v. SunTrust Bank, 46 So. 3d 1156 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010)
  • Burgess v. Prince, 25 So. 3d 705 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010)
  • Liebreich v. Trial Strategies, Inc., 40 So. 3d 1 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010)
  • Carey v. Rocke, 18 So. 3d 1266 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009)
  • The Estate of Robert W. Magee, 988 So. 2d 1 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007)
  • Scott v. Reyes, 913 So. 2d 13 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005)
  • Gahn v. Holiday Property Bond, LTD, 826 So. 2d 423 (Fla. 2d DCA 2002)
  • Helm v. United Trust Company, 820 So. 2d 449 (Fla. 2d DCA 2002)
  • First Union National Bank of Florida v. Mizell, 807 So. 2d 78 (Fla. 5th DCA 2001)
  • All Children’s Hospital v. Owens, 754 So. 2d 802 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000)
  • Galego v. Robinson, 695 So. 2d 443 (Fla. 2d DCA 1997)
  • Gridley v. Galego, 698 So. 2d 273 (Fla. 2d DCA 1997)
  • Rutherford v. Gascon, 679 So. 2d 329 (Fla. 2d DCA 1996)
  • Via v. Putnam, 656 So. 2d 460 (Fla. 1995)
  • Bowen v. City of St. Petersburg, 642 So. 2d 837 (Fla. 2d DCA 1994)
  • Jacobs v. Vaillancourt, 634 So. 2d 667 (Fla. 2d DCA 1994)
  • Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children v. Zrillic, 563 So. 2d 64 (Fla. 1990)
  • Johnson v. Bay Pines Federal Credit Union, 544 So. 2d 296 (Fla. 2d DCA 1989)
  • Ehmann v. Florida National Bank at Ocala, 515 So. 2d 1063 (Fla. 5th DCA 1987)
  • Rubin v. Centerbanc Federal Savings and Loan Association, 487 So. 2d 1193 (Fla. 2d DCA 1986)


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