Estate of Maher v. Iglikova

Estate of Maher v. Iglikova, -- So.2d -- (Fla. 3d DCA 2014), 2014 WL 1386660

This case centered around whether a minor child was a pretermitted child of the decedent.

The decedent had two children during his lifetime, but he did not become aware of the existence of his second child until that child was approximately three years old (after he executed his last will).  After becoming aware of the child's existence, the paternity of that child was confirmed.  Once paternity was established, the decedent began making child support payments and continued to make those payments until his death.

Upon his death, the child's mother filed her Petition to Determine Status as Pretermitted Child, Challenge Construction of Will and Determine Beneficiaries.  The mother of the decedent's other child filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the child was not a pretermitted child under F.S. 732.702 because (1) the child was not omitted from the will since she would take as part of a class gift to the decedent's children and (2) the child was not born or adopted after the execution of the will.

The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment and found the child to be pretermitted.

The Court reversed the trial court's opinion, basing its determination upon the plain language of F.S. 732.702.  It held that for a child to be pretermitted under F.S. 732.702, it must satisfy the following three requirements: (1) the child must be omitted from the will, (2) the child must have been born or adopted after the making of the will and (3) the child must not have received any part of the decedent's property equivalent to a child's part by way of advancement.  The Court held that the child was not a pretermitted child of the decedent for the following three reasons: (a) the child inherited through a class gift in the decedent's will, (b) the child was born before the will was executed and (c) a determination of paternity after the decedent's will was executed was not equivalent to an adoption after the decedent's will was executed


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