J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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Daughter disinherited from father's trust property

Property matters always carry an element of dispute, especially when relating to property division through trusts and wills. Many Florida residents may have heard of the recent Supreme Court decision in a northeastern state regarding disinheritance of a daughter from her father's trust arising from a trust administration dispute.

According to sources, the matter relates to the trust created by a millionaire entrepreneur. Some 400 properties in the name of the family in Florida and New Hampshire were in the estate at the time of the entrepreneur's death in 1995. The millionaire had made provisions for the division of his estate, having a net worth of $20 million, into 12 equal trusts among 6 children.

Each of the entrepreneur's children, according to the trust, received a "generation-skipping trust" and a trust in his or her name. All these trusts were to be managed by a single trustee. According to sources, the ousted daughter had immediately challenged the terms of the trust as well as that it was to be managed by two of her brothers.

Under Florida law, anyone challenging the provisions of the trust is not entitled to benefit from it. In light of this principle, the Supreme Court decided to disinherit the daughter and the trustee appointed by her for trust administration. The disinherited daughter as a result of the ruling will not be entitled to receive anything from the trust fortune.

In this case, disinheritance from a trust property resulted from a dispute regarding the terms of the trust. Disputes of property divided through trusts and wills are complex matters and may require expert professional advice. It is important that all the terms in the trust are clearly stipulated and understood by the beneficiaries. If the beneficiaries have any doubt or dispute regarding a particular provision, it may be helpful to take advice from a professional before taking any legal action.

Source: The Telegraph, "Supreme court rules against former Tamposi heir cut out of late developer's trust," Patrick Meighan, Feb. 1, 2013

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