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Probate

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A fiduciary owes a duty to disclose material facts to the beneficiary.  The beneficiary is under no duty to investigate whether the fiduciary has told the truth or disclosed all the material facts.  Hence, when a conservatee moves to set aside an order approving the conservator's accounting on the ground of misrepresentations in the conservator's accounting and petition for approval,… Read More

An order settling the account of a fiduciary is appealable.  (Prob. Code 1300(b).)  Ordinarily, an order denying a motion to vacate an order settling the fiduciary's account is not appealable so as to avoid giving a party two appeals from the same order.  However, here, the conservator's misrepresentations in the accounting prevented the conservatee from fully litigating the accounting and… Read More

Wife executed will that purported to sever joint tenancy ownership of real property held in the name of wife and husband.  The will directed that wife's estate be distributed equally to her five children.  Husband never probated wife's will after her death, and his will and trust distributed his estate to three of wife's five children who were his biological… Read More

This decision holds that a suit filed by the decedent's heirs under CCP 377.32 was timely since it was filed within the limitations period even though the heirs didn't file the required declarations until after the limitations period expired and even though after probate proceedings were begun on the decedents' estates, the complaint was amended to name as an added… Read More

Although California and Indiana both generally enforce spendthrift trusts, the law of both states allow creditors to collect from the trust's assets when required by strong public policy--for example, to pay child support owed by the spendthrift beneficiary.  This decision holds that under the law of both states, the trust's assets are accessible to pay attorney fees that an opposing… Read More

Under Probate Code 6100.5(a)(2), a person lacks testamentary capacity if at the time of making a will or trust, he or she suffers from a mental health disorder with symptoms including delusions or hallucinations, and those delusions or hallucinations lead the person to make a disposition of property he or she otherwise would not have made.  Here, the court affirms… Read More

Probate Code 2640.1 allows a trial court to award attorney fees against the estate of the conservatee and in favor of the person who petitioned for appointment of a conservator if the court appoints a conservator different from the one the petitioner requested.  Here, however, the conservatorship petition was dismissed in a settlement before any conservator was appointed.  In that… Read More

Following n Hill v. Superior Court (2016) 244 Cal.App.4th 1281 and Kerley v. Weber (2018) 27 Cal.App.5th 1187, and disagreeing with Levin v. Winston-Levin (2019) 39 Cal.App.5th 1025, this decision holds that double damages may be awarded under Probate Code 859 without a finding of bad faith if the defendant has taken or concealed property of a dependent adult, a… Read More

A probate judge has authority to enter orders or take other action necessary or proper to dispose of matters before it.  (Prob. Code 12706.)  Those incidental powers include the power to order parties to the proceeding to a mandatory mediation session.  Here, the probate court did just that.  Persons who claimed an interest in the trust but who did not… Read More

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