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When a trust becomes irrevocable, the trustee must send a notice to all beneficiaries warning them that they have 120 days to bring any action to contest the trust.  (Prob. Code 16061.7.)  The 120-day limitation period for bringing an action to contest the trust is codified in Prob. Code 16061.8, which applies to any action challenging the validity of the… Read More

Disagreeing in part with King v. Lynch (2012) 204 Cal.App.4th 1186, this decision holds that unless a revocable trust explicitly states that it can be modified only by the method stated in the trust, the trust may be modified by the same method allowed by statute for revocation of the trust; namely by a signed writing delivered to the trustee. … Read More

The probate court did not abuse its discretion in excusing a trustee from liability for breaching a trust, because he acted reasonably and equitably in allowing the trustor’s elderly friend to retain his life estate in the trust property even though he had fallen behind on certain expenses that were supposed to be a condition of the life estate. 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

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

A trust may not allow a former trustee to withhold from a successor trustee all communications between that former trustee and the trust’s legal counsel, since the attorney-client privilege vests in the office of the trustee, not in any particular person. Read More

A federal lien and garnishment attach to the beneficiary’s interest in a spendthrift trust even if the trust gives the trustee sole discretion over distributions and even if the beneficiary disclaims his interest in the trust.  Read More

A bankruptcy trustee may recover principal distributions from a spendthrift trust that are already due and payable to the bankrupt and up to 25% of future anticipated distributions from the trust to the bankrupt, both diminished by sums needed for the bankrupt’s and his/her dependents’ needs for support and education.  Read More

To withhold attorney-client communications from a successor trustee, a predecessor trustee must take affirmative steps, at the time of seeking the attorney advice, to show the consultation was made in the trustee’s personal, not fiduciary, capacity.  Read More

Substantial evidence supported the findings that defendant trustees did not breach their fiduciary duties by failing to tell plaintiff about her subtrust and that plaintiff suffered no damage from her asserted ignorance of the subtrust.  Read More