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Smolen v. Smolen

Supreme Court of Nevada
956 P.2d 128 (Nev. 1998)


In 1970, Martin Smolen and Roslyn Smolen (plaintiff) married. Decades later, Martin developed a brain tumor, and the couple divorced in 1994 in order to protect their assets from the costs of his future medical care. In its divorce decree, the district court ordered that their mutual residence in Las Vegas would remain in joint tenancy. Martin and Roslyn intended that the survivor would own the residence. Later in 1994, Martin’s condition deteriorated. Roslyn obtained legal guardianship of him without his consent, and put him in a group home against his wishes. Martin then contacted his nephew Jason Smolen (defendant), who hired an attorney to assist Martin. The attorney moved for Roslyn’s guardianship to be revoked, and the district court granted the motion in 1995. Martin then established a trust with Jason as the sole beneficiary and successor trustee, and deeded his interest in the Las Vegas residence to the trust. Martin later suffered a stroke and died in October 1995. Two months later, Roslyn moved to cancel the deed transferring Martin’s interest to the trust. Roslyn argued that she and Martin had intended for the survivor to be the sole owner of the residence. Roslyn argued that the divorce decree recognized that the residence was held in joint tenancy, and implicitly prohibited the destruction of the joint tenancy. The district court agreed that the deed violated the divorce decree and was void. Jason then appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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