Brown v. Miller
District Court of Appeal of Florida
2 So. 3d 321 (Fla. App. 2008)
Elinor Miller established a trust (Trust A-2), naming Thomas W. Miller, Jr. (Bill) as trustee. The trust language specified that Bill would receive all net income for his lifetime, and allowed for payments from the trust principal to Bill upon his request. It also gave Bill the power to appoint, through his will, the beneficiary of the remaining balance of the trust property upon his death. Any balance not appointed was to be held in trust for Elinor’s son, Thomas W. Miller, III (Tom). Elinor passed away in 1999. Up until January 25, 2002, Bill transferred about $420,000.00 to himself and others. On January 25, 2002, Bill transferred the remaining balance of about $7 million to the Thomas W. Miller, Jr., Trust (Bill Miller Trust). Bill passed away in 2004. Tom brought suit against Bill’s estate and the trustees of the Bill Miller Trust, seeking to invalidate the $7 million transfer. The trial court granted Tom summary judgment, finding the transfer was improper because: (1) the trust language limited transfers to her husband; (2) it was not consistent with the trust language allowing transfers “from time to time;” and (3) it violated Bill’s duty to act in good faith by protecting the interests of the trust’s remaindermen.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Evander, J.)
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