Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Eleventh Circuit: Florida Real Estate Law Prevented Collection of Federal Estate Taxes

CourtIn 1940, The Supreme Court held that “when the United States becomes entitled to a claim, acting in its governmental capacity and asserts its claim in that right, it cannot be deemed to have abdicated its governmental authority so as to become subject to a state statute putting a time limit upon enforcement.” The Eleventh Circuit court was tasked recently with defining the relationship between that ruling and Florida statute § 95.231.

The statute allows a defective deed to be cured after five years. Such a deed was executed in Florida in 1998 when a father attempted to transfer property to a trust for the benefit of his son. After the father’s death in 2005, the United States imposed a series of liens on the property in an attempt to assess estate taxes.

Was the statute "putting a time limit upon enforcement" or was the defective deed effectively cured in 2003, 5 years after the execution of the deed? The middle Florida court held that the statute did not create good title because the deficiency was not among the technical defects within the statute’s scope. The Eleventh Circuit reversed, finding that the statute was “not a traditional statute of limitation but . . . a curative act with a limitation provision.”

See Lindsey Catlett, Eleventh Circuit: Florida Real Estate Law Prevented Collection of Federal Estate Taxes, Balch, February 18, 2019.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.) for bringing this article to my attention.


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