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Layne v. Layne

Florida Court of Appeal, First District

November 16, 2011

Terry LAYNE, Appellant,
v.
Nancy Marie LAYNE, In re Estate of Joe N. Layne a/k/a Joe Ned Layne, Deceased, Appellee.

Page 162

Stacy J. Ford of Pohl & Short, P.A., Winter Park, for Appellant.

Timothy P. Atkinson and Preston McLane of Oertel, Fernandez, Cole & Bryant, P.A., Tallahassee; Christopher E. Broome of The Broome Law Firm, Titusville, for Appellee.

THOMAS, J.

Appellant appeals the trial court's Order of Subsequent Summary Administration in which the court found that Appellant had no interest in certain real property held by his late father's estate and, instead, distributed the property to Appellant's sister and his father's former wife. For the reasons explained below, we reverse.

Factual Background

The facts in this case were undisputed. In 1985, Appellant, along with his late father and Appellee, acquired a townhouse via warranty deed. The deed conveyed an undivided one-half interest in the property to Appellee and the father, as husband and wife, and the remaining one-half undivided interest to Appellant, all as joint tenants with right of survivorship. Five years later, Appellant executed a quitclaim deed conveying his interest in the property to his father and Appellee. As acknowledged in that deed, Appellant's father and Appellee were no longer married when the deed was executed.

Nine years after that conveyance, Appellant's father died intestate, leaving Appellant and his sister as his only beneficiaries. Appellee filed a Petition for Subsequent Summary Administration seeking distribution of the estate's interest in the townhouse. The petition asserted

Page 163

that in 1990, Appellant conveyed his one-half interest in the townhouse to his father and Appellee which, upon the father's death, resulted in one-half of the conveyed interest (i.e., one-quarter of the entire townhouse) inuring to the father's estate. Appellee claimed that one-half of that interest should be distributed equally between Appellee and Appellant's sister, with no portion going to Appellant.

Appellant also asserted that the estate holds a one-quarter interest in the property. Appellant contested the petition, asserting that he and his sister, as sole beneficiaries of the estate, were each entitled to one-half of the estate's interest in the property, and Appellee was not entitled to any portion of the estate's interest.

At the hearing below, Appellee argued that Appellant was not entitled to any interest in the property because his quitclaim deed conveyed any and all interest he had in the property, including the right to take by the intestacy laws. Appellee further argued that the doctrine of " after-acquired title" barred Appellant from regaining his interest in the property and entitled Appellee to the interest she claimed.

The trial court issued an Order of Subsequent Summary Administration and distributed the property held by the estate. Appellee received a one-half interest, and Appellant's sister received the other one-half interest. As to Appellant, the court found that he would take nothing " because he conveyed away all of his interest therein to [the father and Appellee] by his Quit-Claim Deed executed" in 1990.

Analysis

The court's ruling on this issue was an application of uncontested facts to the law; thus, our review is de novo. See Aills v. Boemi,29 So.3d 1105, 1108 (Fla.2010) (holding question of ...


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