Seifert v. Southern Nat. Bank of South Carolina, No. 23456

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtTOAL; GREGORY
Citation409 S.E.2d 337,305 S.C. 353
PartiesAgnes T. SEIFERT, Appellant, v. SOUTHERN NATIONAL BANK OF SOUTH CAROLINA, Barbara S. Meyers, and Charlotte S. Knaub, Respondents. . Heard
Decision Date05 March 1991
Docket NumberNo. 23456

Page 337

409 S.E.2d 337
305 S.C. 353
Agnes T. SEIFERT, Appellant,
v.
SOUTHERN NATIONAL BANK OF SOUTH CAROLINA, Barbara S. Meyers,
and Charlotte S. Knaub, Respondents.
No. 23456.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Heard March 5, 1991.
Decided Aug. 12, 1991.
Rehearing Denied Oct. 24, 1991.

Page 338

[305 S.C. 354] Earle McGee Rice and Louisa Rice Lund, of Rice & Lund, Anderson, for appellant.

William H. Moorhead and Carolyn G. Baird, of Jones, Spitz, Moorhead, Baird & Maddox, Anderson, for respondents.

TOAL, Justice:

Widow (Agnes T. Seifert, appellant) instituted this declaratory judgment action alleging that a revocable inter-vivos trust, established by Husband (Harry E. Seifert) in favor of respondents Barbara S. Meyers and Charlotte S. Knaub, should be included in Husband's estate. We agree and reverse the Master's finding to the contrary.

FACTS

Widow and Husband were married approximately ten (10) years. On August 5, 1987, Husband created a revocable inter-vivos trust in favor of respondents, Husband's daughters from a former marriage, to which he transferred the better part of his estate. At his death, the value of the trust was approximately $800,000.

Under the terms of the trust, upon Husband's death, a separate trust containing $150,000, known as the Agnes T. Seifert [305 S.C. 355] Trust, was carved from respondents' trust. Widow received a life interest in the income of the Agnes T. Seifert Trust and could invade the principal for medical purposes only. Under Husband's will, Widow received a one-half life interest in the marital home, half of which she already owned. The will also provided that the residue of the estate be transferred to respondents' trust.

Widow made a timely request for her elective share pursuant to S.C.Code Ann. § 62-2-201 (1990 Supp.); however, Husband's will was designed so that there were no other assets in the estate, other than the life interest in the house, his personal property, and what was contained in the residue.

Widow challenged Husband's dispositions by filing a complaint in Anderson County probate court. The matter was removed to circuit court. From there it was transferred to the Master-in-Equity with direct appeal to this Court.

The Master found that the revocable, inter-vivos trust should not be included in the probate estate. Widow then instituted this appeal.

LAW/ANALYSIS

Widow contends that Husband's revocable inter-vivos trust is void because it is illusory, since he used it to reduce her elective share, and that the trust assets should be included in Husband's estate for purposes of valuing her elective share. This is a question of first impression in this Court. Other jurisdictions have held that a trust was invalid where the settlor retained powers over the trust assets so extensive that he had until his death the same rights in the assets of the trust after creating it that he had before its creation. See, e.g., Moore v. Jones, 44 N.C.App. 578, 261 S.E.2d 289 (1980); Newman v. Dore, 275 N.Y. 371, 9 N.E.2d 966 (1937).

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11 practice notes
  • Briggs v. Wyoming Nat. Bank of Casper, Nos. 91-106
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 23 Junio 1992
    ...N.C.App. 578, 261 S.E.2d 289 (1980); Newman v. Dore, 275 N.Y. 371, 9 N.E.2d 966 (1937). Seifert v. Southern Nat. Bank of South Carolina, 409 S.E.2d 337, 338 (S.C.1991). Several other jurisdictions have applied a similar "retention of control" test to invalidate inter vivos trusts ......
  • Bongaards v. Millen, SJC-08868.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • 12 Agosto 2003
    ...Sullivan approach. See Taliaferro v. Taliaferro, 252 Kan. 192 (1992); Knell v. Price, 318 Md. 501 (1990); Seifert v. Southern Nat'l Bank, 305 S.C. 353 (1991). As with Sullivan itself, all of the cases cited in the Reporter's Note involved the spouse creating the trust and transferring into ......
  • Bongaards v. Millen
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • 4 Febrero 2003
    ...Sullivan approach. See Taliaferro v. Taliaferro, 252 Kan. 192 (1992); Knell v. Price, 318 Md. 501 (1990); Seifert v. Southern Nat'l Bank, 305 S.C. 353 (1991). As with Sullivan itself, all of the cases cited in the Reporter's Note involved the spouse creating the trust and transferring into ......
  • In re Estate of Amundson, No. 21015
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • 14 Febrero 2001
    ...assertedly used to defeat a spouse's elective share. See Dunnewind v. Cook, 697 N.E.2d 485 (Ind.App.1998); Seifert v. Southern Nat'l Bank, 305 S.C. 353, 409 S.E.2d 337, 338-39 (1991) (living trust was "illusory," and therefore invalid, where grantor defeated spousal elective share......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
11 cases
  • Briggs v. Wyoming Nat. Bank of Casper, Nos. 91-106
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 23 Junio 1992
    ...N.C.App. 578, 261 S.E.2d 289 (1980); Newman v. Dore, 275 N.Y. 371, 9 N.E.2d 966 (1937). Seifert v. Southern Nat. Bank of South Carolina, 409 S.E.2d 337, 338 (S.C.1991). Several other jurisdictions have applied a similar "retention of control" test to invalidate inter vivos trusts ......
  • Bongaards v. Millen, SJC-08868.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • 12 Agosto 2003
    ...Sullivan approach. See Taliaferro v. Taliaferro, 252 Kan. 192 (1992); Knell v. Price, 318 Md. 501 (1990); Seifert v. Southern Nat'l Bank, 305 S.C. 353 (1991). As with Sullivan itself, all of the cases cited in the Reporter's Note involved the spouse creating the trust and transferring into ......
  • Bongaards v. Millen
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • 4 Febrero 2003
    ...Sullivan approach. See Taliaferro v. Taliaferro, 252 Kan. 192 (1992); Knell v. Price, 318 Md. 501 (1990); Seifert v. Southern Nat'l Bank, 305 S.C. 353 (1991). As with Sullivan itself, all of the cases cited in the Reporter's Note involved the spouse creating the trust and transferring into ......
  • In re Estate of Amundson, No. 21015
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • 14 Febrero 2001
    ...assertedly used to defeat a spouse's elective share. See Dunnewind v. Cook, 697 N.E.2d 485 (Ind.App.1998); Seifert v. Southern Nat'l Bank, 305 S.C. 353, 409 S.E.2d 337, 338-39 (1991) (living trust was "illusory," and therefore invalid, where grantor defeated spousal elective share......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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