Geddings v. Geddings
319 S.C. 213, 460 S.E.2d 376 (1995)

  • Pinkie Geddings married her second husband. They both signed a document called a “Waiver of Right to Elect and of Other Rights”
    • The document acknowledged that each spouse had made a will, that each spouse wanted the bulk of their estates to go to their children from previous marriages, and that each disclaimed interest in the other spouse’s estate, outside of what was granted in the wills.”
    • It also said that each spouse had made a complete disclosure of their presently-owned assets.
  • Mr. Geddings died, and Pinkie attempted to invoke her right to an elective share of the estate.
  • The Probate Court found the waiver to be invalid and awarded Pinkie an elective share. Mr. Gedding’s children appealed.
    • The Probate Court found that the waiver was void because Mr. Geddings did not provide a complete disclosure of his assets.
  • The Appellate Court affirmed. Mr. Gedding’s children appealed.
  • The South Carolina Supreme Court affirmed.
    • The South Carolina Supreme Court acknowledged that under South Carolina State law, the right to election of a surviving spouse may be waived by a written contract signed by the party waiving after a fair disclosure.
    • Evidence presented at trial showed that Mr. Geddings had not provided any disclosure about his assets and in fact had kept Pinkie out of the loop.
  • Uniform Probate Code § 2-123 allows the waiver of the right to election, but it does list issues that could make the waiver unenforceable.