In the afterglow of a wedding, the spouses probably don’t immediately start thinking how the bliss they feel may end spectacularly and expensively. Chances are they may even start estate planning, thinking how they can seamlessly transfer assets to the other. In Nelson v. Nelson, a Florida appellate court reminded us that the estate planning choices spouses make, however, have far-reaching consequences if before death they doth part.
Husband and wife bought a house together in California and titled it in both of their names. They then transferred the home into an irrevocable trust established for the benefit of the wife and her descendants, and named the wife as the sole trustee of the trust. Husband and wife divorced and a Florida trial court characterized the house as a marital asset subject to equitable distribution. The Florida appellate court, however, found that the house