Miami attorney Patrick J. Lannon just published in interesting article in this month’s Florida Bar Journal entitled Challenging Inter Vivos Transfers Procured by Undue Influence: Factors to Consider. The article is well researched and good stuff to keep on file. I thought the following “nuggets” were especially interesting:
The Florida Supreme Court determined in Rich v. Hallman, 143 So. 292 (Fla. 1932), that “the degree of proof necessary to invalidate a will is much greater than that required to set aside a gift inter vivos.”
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[A] long line of cases in Florida and elsewhere consider a gift made in the course of a meretricious relationship (such as a gift to a mistress) to be essentially per se undue influence.[FN 13]
[FN 13]: See Taylor v. Johnson, 581 So. 2d 1333 (Fla. 1st D.C.A. 1991), and cases cited therein. But see Hill v. Hill, 222 So. 2d 454 (Fla. 2d D.C.A. 1969), finding mere fact of meretricious relationship insufficient to prove undue influence where the donor left his wife and set up residence with his mistress and treated her as his wife). In light of Hill, Taylor limited the application of this line of cases to situations where the mistress gains at the expense of the spouse. See also deFuria, Testamentary Gifts Resulting From Meretricious Relationships: Undue Influence or Natural Beneficence?, 64 Notre Dame L. Rev. 200 (1989) (arguing that different treatment of meretricious relationships in undue influence cases can not be justified in light of modern legal and social developments).