Calderon v. Vazquez

Calderon v. Vazquez, 251 So.3d 303 (Fla. 3d DCA 2018)

In this decision, the Court considered whether a beneficiary made sufficient allegations regarding the proceeds of a life insurance policy in order to survive a motion to dismiss. In reversing the trial court's dismissal, it found that there was enough evidence to proceed on the beneficiary's complaint.

The beneficiary alleged that his father, the decedent, had a life insurance policy of which he named his brother as the sole beneficiary. Purportedly, he had made it clear to his brother that he wanted his brother to hold the proceeds of the policy in trust for his wife and son for their education and living expenses. The father also left a Bolivian will in which he stated that his wife and son were the beneficiaries of the policy. Following the decedent's death, the uncle used some of the proceeds for the beneficiary's education and living expenses, but then refused to give the beneficiary the balance for his college education.

The Court acknowledge that Florida law provides that a beneficiary under a life insurance policy may only be changed by strict compliance with the conditions set forth in the policy. It held, however, that the issue here was whether the uncle became a trustee with respect to the proceeds paid to him, and found that because: (1) the Trust Code allows for the creation of oral trusts, (2) parol evidence can establish a trust in personal property, and (3) the existence of the Bolivian will evidencing the decedent's intent to benefit the wife and son, the complaint should not have been dismissed, and reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings.

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