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Gordon v. Fishman

253 So. 3d 1218 (2018)

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Gordon v. Fishman

Florida District Court of Appeal

253 So. 3d 1218 (2018)

Facts

Ron Priever, decedent, executed his will in 2005, leaving property to his then-fiancée, Silvia Gordon (plaintiff). If Silvia predeceased Ron, then her bequest would pass to her two children. Approximately two years after the will’s execution, Silvia and Ron married. Silvia and Ron then divorced in 2013. After Ron’s death, Robert Fishman (defendant), the guardian for Ron’s father, Bernard Priever, petitioned to administer Ron’s estate as an intestate estate, arguing that (1) Silvia and Ron’s divorce voided the provisions benefitting Silvia under Ron’s will; and (2) Silvia’s bequest should be voided because Ron executed his will in contemplation of his marriage to Silvia. As to the second point, Fishman reasoned that because Florida’s pretermitted-spouse statute does not apply if the surviving spouse was included in the decedent’s will in contemplation of marriage, the same rationale should apply to void bequests to divorced spouses even if the will granting the bequest was executed prior to the divorced spouses’ marriage. Silvia countered, arguing that her bequest under Ron’s will was not voided by their divorce because the will was executed prior to their marriage. The trial court held that Silvia’s bequest under Ron’s will was voided by their divorce and held that Bernard, along with Silvia’s two children, were the estate’s three beneficiaries. Silvia appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (LaRose, C.J.)

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