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2009-UP-370 - Runion v. Runion

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 239(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

Jennifer Runion, as a Personal Representative of the Estate of Dennis Runion, Respondent,

v.

Nancy Runion, Appellant.


Appeal From Chesterfield County
 Paul M. Burch, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2009-UP-370
Submitted June 1, 2009 – Filed June 25, 2009   


AFFIRMED


Richard Edward Conner, Jr., of Hartsville, for Appellant.

William O. Spencer, Jr., of Chesterfield, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  After Dennis Runion died testate, his wife, Nancy Runion, petitioned the probate court to include his two Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) in his estate.  The probate court refused, and the circuit court affirmed this refusal.  Nancy now appeals, arguing the courts below erred in refusing to include these assets in her husband's estate because the IRAs constituted illusory trusts intended to deprive her of her elective share.  We affirm[1] pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities:  S.C. Code Ann. § 62-2-201 (2009) (establishing a spousal elective share of one third of a decedent's probate estate, subject to statutory limitations); S.C. Code Ann. § 62-2-202 (2009) (limiting a decedent's probate estate to "the decedent's property passing under the decedent's will plus the decedent's property passing by intestacy, reduced by funeral and administration expenses and enforceable claims"); S.C. Code Ann. § 62-6-201 (2009) (declining to invalidate any provision in a deposit or trust agreement requiring payment of "money or other benefits theretofore due to, controlled, or owned by a decedent" to the decedent's designee, where the decedent designated the payee in the deposit or trust agreement or in a separate writing and deeming such a provision non-testamentary); Dreher v. Dreher, 370 S.C. 75, 79, 634 S.E.2d 646, 648 (2006) (holding an appellate court is free to review the circuit court's application of law to stipulated or undisputed facts without deference to the circuit court's legal conclusions); Cowburn v. Leventis, 366 S.C. 20, 45, 619 S.E.2d 437, 451 (Ct. App. 2005) (observing the Internal Revenue Code may treat an IRA as a trust for tax purposes but declining to declare an IRA a trust under South Carolina law). 

AFFIRMED.

HEARN, C.J., THOMAS and KONDUROS, JJ., concur


[1] We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.