Florida Probate & Trust Litigation Blog

Florida Probate & Trust Litigation Blog

By Juan C. Antúnez of Stokes McMillan Antúnez P.A.

Category Archives: Spousal Elective Share Claims

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4th DCA: Can a surviving spouse’s $12.5 million “elective share” be reduced to pay attorney’s fees?

Posted in Marital Agreements and Spousal Rights, Spousal Elective Share Claims
Blackburn v. Boulis, — So.3d —-, 2016 WL 231405 (Fla. 4th DCA January 20, 2016)  Gus Boulis was a spectacularly successful self-made millionaire with a sixth grade education whose life story was as colorful as it was improbable. And it all came to an end in 2001 when he was gunned down gangland style. The “hit”… Continue Reading

2d DCA: When can a second wife subpoena confidential business records of a closely-held corporation founded by her deceased husband?

Posted in Marital Agreements and Spousal Rights, Spousal Elective Share Claims
McDonald v. Johnson, — So.3d —-, 2012 WL 246468 (Fla. 2d DCA January 27, 2012) What divorce attorneys do and what trusts-and-estates lawyers do overlaps all the time. Often that overlap occurs at the planning stage, when working together on drafting a pre-nuptuial or marital settlement agreement, but not always. Sometimes it happens in the… Continue Reading

5th DCA: Can $5 million gift to surviving spouse be conditioned on a prior waiver of her elective-share rights?

Posted in Marital Agreements and Spousal Rights, Spousal Elective Share Claims, Will and Trust Contests
Dinkins v. Dinkins, — So.3d —-, 2013 WL 3834371 (Fla. 5th DCA July 26, 2013) In the right circumstances, no-contest or in terrorem clauses can be effective tools to ward off wasteful inheritance litigation. Here’s the problem: these clauses are unenforceable in Florida for public policy reasons, as explained by the 5th DCA in the… Continue Reading

Bkrtcy: Can you time an elective share claim to gain an advantage in bankruptcy?

Posted in Spousal Elective Share Claims
In re Miller, — B.R. —-, 2010 WL 5184798 (Bkrtcy.S.D.Fla.2010) Assume Husband "A" and "B" are both recent widowers. Husband "A" inherited $100,000 from his wife. Husband "B" was completely cut out of his wife’s will, but after claiming an elective share of his wife’s estate (30% of the elective estate), he too received $100,000… Continue Reading

4th DCA: When does a surviving spouse’s “elective share” take an estate-tax hit?

Posted in Marital Agreements and Spousal Rights, Spousal Elective Share Claims, Tax Cases
Boulis v. Blackburn, — So.3d —-, 2009 WL 2382358 (Fla. 4th DCA Aug 05, 2009) The decedent at the heart of this probate battle, Konstantinos “Gus” Boulis, was a Greek immigrant and self-made millionaire who had started as a dishwasher in Canada and ended up in Florida, where he built an empire of restaurants, hotels and… Continue Reading

2d DCA: Florida’s spousal elective share statute survives constitutional challenge

Posted in Spousal Elective Share Claims
In re Estate of Magee, — So.2d —-, 2007 WL 2781131 (Fla. 2d DCA Sep 26, 2007) When all else fails, one way to win a probate dispute is to challenge the portion of the probate code at issue on constitutional grounds.  A successful example of this approach was the Florida Supreme Court’s 1990 decision in Shriners… Continue Reading

Lateral thinking = probate litigation success

Posted in Spousal Elective Share Claims
Marlowe v. Brown, 944 So.2d 1036 (Fla. 4th DCA Aug 02, 2006) Being an effective probate litigator often requires lateral thinking — the generation of novel solutions to problems using other than straightforward, step-by-step logic. The point of lateral thinking is that many problems require a different perspective to solve successfully. The linked-to case is… Continue Reading

Can you accidentally create an “Elective Share Trust” under Florida law? Probably NOT

Posted in Spousal Elective Share Claims
Janien v. Janien, 2006 WL 2956304 (Fla. 4th DCA Oct 18, 2006) Under Florida law a surviving widow or widower is entitled to at least 30% of the decedent spouse’s estate.  If done properly, an "elective share trust" allows a person to satisfy his or her surviving spouse’s elective share rights, while still retaining the… Continue Reading

Good Facts Rescue “Ambiguous” (Maybe Non-Existent?) Elective Share Waiver in Prenuptial Agreement

Posted in Marital Agreements and Spousal Rights, Spousal Elective Share Claims
Weisfeld-Ladd v. Estate of Ladd, 2006 WL 231481 (Fla. 3d DCA Feb 01, 2006) Clearly, the couple at the center of this dispute thought that when they signed their prenuptial agreement they were waiving any spousal rights they had to each other’s separate property – including rights of a surviving spouse to an elective share… Continue Reading

Florida’s Expanded Elective Share Rights Limited to Persons Dying after October 1, 2001

Posted in Spousal Elective Share Claims
Estate of Heid v. Heid, 863 So.2d 1259 (Fla. 5th DCA Jan. 9, 2004) (TRIAL COURT AFFIRMED) Edward J. Heid died on December 18, 1999. Mr. Heid’s surviving wife, Blanche A. Heid, sought to enforce her elective share rights against a trust holding real and personal property that had benefitted her predeceased husband. Circuit Court… Continue Reading