Category: Appeal

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Standing Up to Your Siblings: Who Can Bring a Financial Elder Abuse Claim?

While financial elder abuse is a serious problem in California, not just anyone can sue to protect an abused elder.  This is especially true if the elder does not want to bring suit in the first place.  On April 19, 2017, the California Court of Appeal reinforced an important issue related to standing to bring … Continue Reading

California Trust Litigation 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Beneficiaries beware: don’t dive in to trust litigation too quickly.  That lesson was learned the hard way, ironically, by a diving heiress in Williamson v. Brooks (2017) 7 Cal.App.5th 1294.  The California Court of Appeal decision, which related to a trust created by the founder of Kirby Morgan Dive Systems, Inc., addresses the question of … Continue Reading

Sacramento Appellate Court Rejects Personal Liability for Legal Fees in Trust Disputes

Since California trustees generally can use trust funds to pay lawyers to handle disputes, litigation can drain away the funds available for distribution to beneficiaries.  Hence, an overaggressive beneficiary can pursue litigation that penalizes all beneficiaries, even those who have no responsibility for the fight. Last week the California Third District Court of Appeal, based … Continue Reading

It’s Rigged: How Our California Trust and Estate Litigation Blog Was Dragged into Election 2016

As a trust litigation attorney in Sacramento, I seldom see overlap between bare knuckle political campaigns and family inheritance disputes. So, on the eve of a big election, it seems fitting to report on a new case that bridges political and family conflicts.… Continue Reading

Stepmother Prevails on Accounting Issues at Court of Appeal

Sometimes stepmothers are just misunderstood. Babbitt v. Superior Court (2016) 246 Cal.App.4th 1135, recently decided by the California Court of Appeal, involves one of the fact patterns that we often see in California trust litigation: children from a decedent’s prior marriage have conflict with their biological parent’s surviving spouse. In other words, after dad passes away, … Continue Reading

Double Damages, Even In Death

In addition to bark, the Probate Code can have bite too. Some Probate Code sections have provisions that are punitive in nature and are designed to keep fiduciaries and others dealing with trust property in line. These statutes have sharp teeth. Take, for example, California Probate Code section 859, which concerns property taken from a … Continue Reading

Court of Appeal Clips Sterling

The California Court of Appeal blocked Donald Sterling’s last second shot at undoing the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers. Donald sought to overturn the results of an eight day trial that occurred in July 2014. The opinion, issued on November 16, 2015, should be of interest to settlors, trustees, and beneficiaries of “ordinary” trusts … Continue Reading
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