Brief Fact Summary. Jean Bongaards’ mother created a trust and made her the life tenant. When Bongaards died, her husband petitioned the court that the trust property be included in his wife’s estate.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A surviving spouse may include the property of a trust within their deceased spouse’s estate if the trust was created by third party for the benefit of the deceased spouse
Circumstances that may give rise to an estoppel are (1) a representation intended to induce reliance on the part of a person to whom the representation is made; (2) an act or omission by that person in reasonable reliance on the representation; and (3) detriment as a consequence of the act or omission.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether a surviving spouse may invade a deceased spouse’s trust and take their elective share, if the trust was established by a third party?
Held. No, a surviving spouse may not invade a deceased’s spouse’s trust and take their elective share if the trust was created by a third party. A third party ahs no obligation sot support someone else’s property. Property owned by a third party ahs never been a part of someone else’s spouse’s elective share “estate.”
Discussion. Most trusts are upheld that make testamentary dispositions at death but do no comply with the Statue of wills on a theory that the beneficiaries have a legitimate expectancy interest. However surviving spouses do not have a legitimate expectancy interests in their deceased’s spouse’s trust benefits.