What Can We Learn From the Bulgari Heirs?

Two of the three sisters and heirs of the Italian fashion company, Bulgari, have been fighting in the
courts for years over the family trust, estimated at $129M. The dispute is literally all over the place as
one sister, Ilaria lives in Switzerland and the other sister, Veronica resides in Manhattan. The fight is so ugly, Veronica recently accused Ilaria’s boyfriend of being involved in the fight, prompting Ilaria and her dude to declare themselves married under Swiss law and claim spousal privilege (lol), even if they never actually exchanged vows. The things we do for an inheritance…

“We consider ourselves a married couple,” the boyfriend said in a Manhattan Federal Court filing,
adding he expected any help he provided Ilaria to be confidential. The dude was deposed in Court
anyway. So, what can we learn from the blingy dispute and marriage status?
We can discuss the Florida views on marriage. In general, Florida views marriage like a light switch. It’s either on or it’s off. We don’t have a notion of “common law” marriage after living together for so many years. Florida also doesn’t have a notion of “legally separated”. If you’re married legally, it matters not if you live together.

However, given that some states do recognize common law marriage, should a couple move to Florida and were considered married under the laws of another state, Florida would recognize that union and if the couple want to split up, they would need a formal divorce.

And there you have it. Declaring yourself as common-law-married to enjoy spousal privileges during a heavily contested litigation would not work in Florida, but I very much enjoy the creativity!

Portrait of Odelia Goldberg, Esq.

With over 50 years of combined experience, our probate, estate planning, real estate, elder law and asset protection attorneys provide peace of mind for our clients throughout South Florida.

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