TAMPA — Gayle Guagliardo, better known as television news anchor Gayle Guyardo, is suing over her father’s estate, saying an error with a trust interfered with her inheritance of his Davis Islands home.
The lawsuit accuses attorney Randell Miller and his successors of failing to obtain a waiver from Guyardo’s late mother that would have allowed the home on Riviera Drive to be inherited by Guyardo, 52, and her daughters.
"The house has been in the family for 50 years, and the wishes of her father were not executed properly," said Michael McLaughlin, Guyardo’s attorney.
Her father, Joseph Guagliardo, wanted to pass the longtime marital home to Guyardo and his grandchildren, according to the lawsuit. In order to do that, Miller helped him create a means to transfer his wealth in 2000, according to the lawsuit. At the time, Miller, now 67 and retired, was an attorney with Hines Norman Hines, an estate-planning law firm based in Tampa.
Miller and lawyers at the firm advised Guagliardo to write a will and put the home into a revocable trust agreement, according to the complaint. Upon his death, Guyardo and her two oldest daughters would get the home and her mother, Joann, would live there until she died.
But when the father died at age 85 in 2016, Guyardo learned that the deed transferring her late father’s estate did not have the necessary signature. The property could not pass into the trust.
Because Joseph Guagliardo had died, and the deed was incomplete, it was worthless, according to McLaughlin.
Joann Guagliardo died a year later.
"The family had to waive any homestead interest in the property, which would have allowed (Guyardo) and her daughters to inherit the home after her mother’s death," McLaughlin said.
Instead, the home was passed on to Guyardo and her brother Paul.
As a result, Guyardo’s daughters — Kathryn Boushall, 20, and Lindsay Boushall, 19 — have lost their stake in the home, the suit says. Zillow currently values the home at $3.8 million.
"Lawyers at Hines Norman Hines had a duty to check the warranty on the deed and it’s clear no one did," McLaughlin said.
Guyardo accuses Miller and successors of malpractice and negligence.
Also named in the suit is Judy Karniewicz, the managing partner of Karniewicz Law Group. Earlier in her career, she worked at Hines Norman Hines. She did not respond to a request for comment. Co-defendant Mark Mohammed is a licensed attorney with the Mark L. Mohammed Law Group. He declined to comment. Miller and the estate-planning firm did not respond to requests for comment.
Guyardo has been an on-air personality at WFLA-TV for more than 25 years. She co-anchors News Channel 8 Today each morning from 4:30 to 7 a.m.
This story has been updated to correct the ending time of the Channel 8 morning program and the spelling of Joann Guagliardo’s name.
Contact Tim Fanning at [email protected] Follow at @TimothyJFanning.