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
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.