Janien v. Janien

939 So. 2d 264 (2006)

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Janien v. Janien

Florida District Court of Appeal
939 So. 2d 264 (2006)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

Frances Janien, a Florida resident, owned a home in Massachusetts. In Frances’s original 1982 will, she left her husband, Cedric Janien (defendant), a life estate in the Massachusetts home. Subsequently, Frances placed the Massachusetts home in a nominee real estate trust for which she was the sole beneficiary and her son, Christopher Janien (plaintiff), was the trustee. Frances then executed a new will in 1997 limiting Cedric’s interest in the Massachusetts home. Under Article Second of Frances’s 1997 will, Christopher inherited Frances’s beneficial interest in the Massachusetts home and Cedric was given the right to exclusively occupy the home for his lifetime. During his occupancy, Cedric was required to pay the expenses to maintain the Massachusetts home; if Cedric could not, Christopher was authorized to mortgage the Massachusetts home to cover its upkeep. After Frances died and her 1997 will was submitted to probate in Florida, Cedric timely filed to take an elective share of Frances’s estate. Christopher, as the personal representative of Frances’s estate, petitioned to determine the elective share, arguing that Article Second created an elective-share trust that fully satisfied Cedric’s elective share entitlement. The trial court held that Article Second did not create an elective-share trust. Christopher appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gross, J.)

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