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Timmons v. Ingrahm

Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal
36 So. 3d 861 (Fla. App. 2010)


Facts

Frank Timmons, Sr. (Frank Sr.) was married to Myrtle Timmons Ingrahm (defendant). Frank Sr. had two adopted children, Frank G. Timmons, Jr. and Jacquelyn Timmons Forman (the Timmons) (plaintiffs). Myrtle had four children of her own. Frank Sr. passed away in 1999. His will created the Timmons Family Trust (Family Trust) and the Timmons Marital Trust (Marital Trust). Upon Myrtle’s death, the remaining assets of the Marital Trust were to be poured over into the Family Trust. The Family Trust would then be divided among Frank Sr.’s children. The will expanded the definition of “children” to include both his adopted children and Myrtle’s children. The Family Trust granted Myrtle a limited power of appointment, which allowed her to grant any amount of the trust assets to Frank Sr.’s “lineal descendants.” In accordance with this power of appointment, Myrtle executed a document that granted all the principal and income of the Family Trust to her four natural children, effectively disinheriting the Timmons. The Timmons brought suit against Myrtle, alleging she breached her fiduciary duty as the Timmons’ co-trustee. Both parties moved for summary judgment. The trial court granted summary judgment to Myrtle. The Timmons appealed, arguing that Myrtle’s attempt to disinherit them was ineffective because the Family Trust only allowed Myrtle to exercise her power of appointment in favor of Frank Sr.’s lineal descendants.

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Holding and Reasoning (Evander, J.)

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