An appellate court reviews the interpretation of a will or trust de novo even when conflicting inferences can be drawn from the facts. Here, at the trustor’s death, his revocable trust provided for distribution of his assets at his death. After a number of specific bequests, the trust provided for distribution of the remainder of the trust estate in various percentages to the trustor’s children, including “35% to Raymond, provided that Raymond’s share shall include any interest [the trustor] owns [in a specific ranch].” The decision holds that this wording is a gift of a 35% portion of the residue of the trust estate after the specific bequests are satisfied and that the ranch is merely a means of funding that gift. So that Raymond would be entitled to 35% of the residue even if the trustor did not own the ranch at his death. Also, since the ranch is merely a funding mechanism, the distribution to Raymond is made based on the ranch’s post-death sale price, rather than its value on the date of death.
California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 3 (Goodman, J.); August 6, 2018 (partial publication); 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 687