Rimmer v. Tesla
Florida District Court of Appeal
201 So. 2d 573 (1967)
Mildred Rimmer and her husband, George Rimmer, decedents, were killed in a car accident on May 1, 1965. Within minutes of the crash, a medical doctor came upon the scene of the accident and examined both George and Mildred. The doctor testified George was already dead by the time he examined him but that Mildred was still breathing and had a pulse. Mildred survived for approximately an additional 15 minutes. Both George and Mildred were deceased by the time the ambulance arrived. The death certificates for both Mildred and George listed the time of death as approximately 9:00 a.m. on May 1, 1965. George and Mildred owned real property and numerous bank accounts, all held in joint title with right of survivorship. Marina Tesla (defendant), as administrator of Mildred’s estate, argued that (1) Mildred and George had not died simultaneously as defined in the Uniform Simultaneous Death Act; (2) Mildred was George’s surviving spouse and inherited full title to all joint assets upon George’s death; and (3) therefore, all formerly joint assets were part of Mildred’s estate for probate purposes. Frank Rimmer (plaintiff), as administrator for George’s estate, countered, arguing that the death certificates were prima facie evidence that Mildred and George had died simultaneously and that their respective estates should therefore equally share in all joint assets. The trial court held that George had predeceased Mildred and that all joint assets were part of Mildred’s estate. Frank appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Wigginton, C.J.)
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