Rentz v. Unborn Grandchildren of Rentz (In re Estate of Rentz)
Florida District Court of Appeal
152 So. 2d 480 (1963)
The residuary clause in Carlton Rentz’s will bequeathed a life interest in Carlton’s residuary estate to his wife, Bobbye Rentz (plaintiff), and their three children, after which the remainder would pass to Carlton’s grandchildren. Carlton had no grandchildren at the time of his death. Bobbye elected to take the dower, leaving the three children as the only life tenants. Carlton’s estate held only money and personal property. Bobbye, as executor of Carlton’s will, petitioned for a determination of beneficiaries. Edwin Simon was appointed to act as guardian ad litem for the unborn grandchildren (defendants). Bobbye argued that (1) pursuant to the rule of destructibility of contingent remainders, the contingent remainder interest in Carlton’s nonexistent grandchildren failed and the failed remainder interest reverted to the children as Carlton’s only intestate heirs; and (2) the merger doctrine therefore terminated the life estate because the children held both the life estate and the reversionary estate. Simon countered, arguing that the contingent remainder interest would not fail as long as a grandchild was born prior to the death of the last life tenant. The trial court held that the contingent remainder interest in Carlton’s future grandchildren survived, and the life estate was therefore not terminated by the merger doctrine. Bobbye appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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