The three words above mean a new trial and more cost and expense to the estate.
Shelia Foxley Radford gave her daughter Mary Radford $200,000 to purchase a new house. The gift was made in May 2007. At the time of the gift Mary signed a handwritten note that the money was recognized by her “as inheritance.”
Three years later mom updated her will and restated her trust. In the trust’s restatement there was no mention of the $200,000 gift to Mary. Under the terms of the restated trust Mary was to receive one-sixth of the residuary estate.
After Shelia died in 2014 Provident Trust Company administered the estate and filed an application in Douglas County Court asking “for direction” as to whether the doctrine of ademption by satisfaction applied to the gift of $200,000 to daughter Mary.
Mary represented herself at the hearing. She was not, however, sworn under oath. There was some discussion between her and the trustee’s lawyer but the Nebraska Supreme Court did not consider it to be a stipulation. It also was not definite and certain.
The only record on appeal was the pleadings. No exhibits were offered and received into evidence and no witnesses testified under oath. Given the inadequate record made by the trustee’s lawyer, the case was sent back to the trial court for another hearing. Regardless of the eventual outcome (and the case may return again a second time), the estate has incurred significant expenses borne by all beneficiaries.
There was no evidence from the attorney who drafted the pour-over will and restated trust in 2010 regarding whether Shelia wanted to take the $200,000 gift into account.
Some interesting legal issues were not decided because there was an inadequate record.
Tell your attorney about all gifts to your children and don’t wait three years to update your will and trust after a significant gift.
In re Estate of Radford, 297 Neb. 748 (September 15, 2017).