Aldrich v. Basile

136 So. 3d 530 (2014)

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Aldrich v. Basile

Florida Supreme Court
136 So. 3d 530 (2014)

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Facts

In 2004, Ann Dunn Aldrich made a will using a preprinted will form. The will contained several specific devises to Ann’s sister, Mary Jane Eaton, and provided that, should Mary Jane predecease Ann, the specific devises were to go to Anne’s brother, James Michael Aldrich (plaintiff). The specific devises included three bank accounts. Ann’s will did not include a residuary clause or any other language disposing of property acquired after the signing of the will. Mary Jane died in 2007, leaving Ann cash and land. Instead of depositing the cash into one of her existing bank accounts, Ann opened a new account for the inherited cash. In 2008, Ann attached to her will a handwritten, signed document expressing her desire that James inherit all her property, including the inheritance she had received from Mary Jane. Ann did not revise her will before her death in 2009. After Ann’s death, James initiated an adversary proceeding in probate court, arguing that he should receive all of Ann’s property, including the cash and land she had inherited from Mary Jane. Laurie Basile and Leanne Krajewski (the nieces) (defendants), the daughters of a brother who had predeceased Ann, argued that the inherited property should be distributed pursuant to state intestacy law. The nieces reasoned that the lack of a residuary clause in Ann’s will meant that the will provided no means for disposing of after-acquired property or of property not identified in the will and that Anne had therefore died intestate with regard to the inherited property. The trial court entered summary judgment for James. The court of appeal reversed, and James petitioned the state supreme court for review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Quince, J.)

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