Thursday, June 5, 2014
Spouses executed a joint will leaving all of the property of first to die to the survivor, and on the death of the survivor, equally to their children from prior marriages. The will contained language waiving the right to “alter, amend, or revoke” the will after the death of the first to die. After the death of the first to die, the survivor transferred much of her property to a trust the beneficiaries of which were her three children and one of her late husband’s three children. One of his children who was omitted from the trust objected asserting that the trust property was governed by the will.
In Estate of Hedrick v. Lamach, DA 13-0657, 2014 WL 1820858 (Mont. May 7, 2014), the Supreme Court of Montana held that nothing in the language of the will prohibited the surviving spouse from making lifetime transfers of property received under the will into a trust.
Special thanks to William LaPiana (Professor of Law, New York Law School) for bringing this case to my attention.