Florida Estate Planning and Probate Law Blog focused on recent case law and planning ideas.

TRUST BENEFICIARY CHALLENGES ADOPTED SIBLINGS ENTITLEMENT TO BENEFITS

Family inheritance disputes have become common place throughout the world. The recent case of Edwards and Kuiper v. Maxwell, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D742a (1st DCA, March 31, 2017) evidences that it know impacts adopted siblings. In this case, an adult son was a discretionary beneficiary (distributions to him were at the sole discretion of the trustee) of his great-grandparents Trust. His father later adopted another child (which also made him a beneficiary of the Trust). After the adopted son was dispersed thousands of dollars from the Trust, the adult son challenged the adoption since he was never provided with notice of the adoption or the opportunity to challenge it. In reversing the lower court, the 1st DCA found that the adult son's "interest as a beneficiary was only “contingent” since subject to the discretion of the trustee," and he did not possess a direct, financial and immediate interest in the trusts.