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Although California recognizes the legitimacy of Japanese yoshi-engumi (a traditional adoption process), California law governs intestate succession for a person who died in California; so the adoption is treated as severing the adoptee's ties to his natural family and his natural parents' descendants are not entitled to inherit through him. Read More

Only a current beneficiary or trustee may petition to set aside amendments to a trust on the ground of lack of mental capacity and undue influence based on Probate Code 17200. Read More

Decedent’s will stating "I exercise any Power of Appointment which I may have over that portion of the trust or trusts established by my parents for my benefit ...."  was a sufficient indicator that the decedent knowingly and intentionally exercised the power given him by his parents’ trust; the will do not have to identify the exact title of the… Read More

In this contested hearing on trustee’s accounting, the trust did not confer absolute discretion on the trustee, so his exercise of discretion was to be judged by a "reasonableness" standard, pursuant to which the trial court properly surcharged the trustee for using trust funds to pay for the beneficiary's ordinary living expenses, when the trust said the corpus was to… Read More

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in assessing against a trust beneficiary's share and against the beneficiary personally the attorney fees incurred by the trustee in defending against the beneficiary's unreasonable and bad faith objections to the trustee's third accounting. Read More

A will’s bequest of 35% of residue including a specific ranch is a residuary, not a specific, bequest and so the distribution to the donee of the bequest is measured by the ranch’s post-death sale price. Read More

Probate court lacks jurisdiction to determine who is entitled to the proceeds of decedent’s life insurance policy since the proceeds are not a property of the decedent’s estate. Read More

An order removing an executor is not a final and appealable order if the trial court, in issuing the order, states that a written statement of decision providing the findings and reasoning supporting the order will be issued later. Read More

A no contest clause cannot apply to future amendments to the instrument containing the no contest clause unless the amendment itself contains a no contest clause or incorporates the original instrument's no contest clause by reference to that clause. Read More

When a party to a joint account dies, the surviving accountholder takes the account proceeds in preference to the deceased party’s estate unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the decedent had a different intent. Read More

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