Lee v. Lee

Lee v. Lee, 263 So.3d 826 (Fla. 3d DCA 2019)

This decision deals with the validity of a disclaimer executed by one of the decedent's daughters. Specifically, the Court considered whether the disclaimer was valid because it did not contain a legal description of the real property being disclaimed. 

Disclaimers are governed by Chapter 739, the Florida Uniform Disclaimer of Property Interests Acts. A valid disclaimer must (1) be in writing, (2) declare that the writing is a disclaimer, (3) describe the interest or power disclaimed, (4) be signed by the person making the disclaimer, (5) be witnessed and acknowledged in the manner provided for by deeds of real estate and (6) be delivered in the manner provided by the statute. F.S. 739.104. 

The statute provides additional requirements if the disclaimer is to be recorded, to provide constructive notice to those conducting a title search regarding real property being disclaimed. It states that a disclaimer "relating to real estate does not provide constructive notice to all persons unless the disclaimer contains a legal description of the real estate to which the disclaimer relates and unless the disclaimer is filed for recording in the office of the clerk of the court in the county ... where the real estate is located." F.S. 739.601.

The Court held that even if a disclaimer is deficient for purposes of providing constructive notice (because it does not contain a legal description of the real property), that does not necessarily mean that the disclaimer is not valid as between the disclaimant and the person to whom the property passes by reason of the disclaimer. Thus, because the disclaimer met the requirements of F.S. 739.104, the Court held that it was valid, even though it was incapable of recordation under F.S. 739.601.


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