Bieley v. Bieley

398 So. 2d 932 (1981)

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Bieley v. Bieley

Florida District Court of Appeal
398 So. 2d 932 (1981)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

In 1972, Peggy Bieley (defendant) and Alfred Bieley (plaintiff) created an irrevocable trust for their son, Harlan Bieley, to cover his educational expenses. Peggy and Alfred were co-trustees, settlors, and remainder beneficiaries of the trust but waived their ability to revoke or modify the trust. The trust specified that it would terminate in November 1983 or upon Harlan’s death, whichever occurred earlier, and upon termination of the trust, Harlan or Harlan’s estate, as applicable, would receive all accumulated, undistributed trust income. The trust principal would be distributed to Peggy and Alfred. In 1977, Peggy and Alfred divorced. As part of the divorce-dissolution decree, Harlan’s irrevocable trust was amended to allow invasion of the trust principal to cover Harlan’s educational expenses. Peggy and Alfred agreed in writing to release their remainder interest in the trust corpus. Subsequently, when Alfred refused to sign the documents necessary to allow invasion of the trust corpus for Harlan’s education, Peggy sued to enforce the 1977 amendment. Alfred challenged, arguing that the divorce court did not have authority to amend the trust because Harlan, as beneficiary, was not a party to the divorce proceeding. Peggy countered, arguing that Harlan’s consent to the amendment was not required because the amendment benefitted him. The trust’s income was insufficient to cover Harlan’s educational expenses. The trial court enforced the amendment and ordered the invasion of the trust corpus to cover Harlan’s educational expenses. Alfred appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Baskin, J.)

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