Category: Beneficiaries

Subscribe to Beneficiaries RSS Feed

Take It or Leave It: The Perilous Decision of Whether to Violate a No Contest Clause

One of the most dramatic areas of California trust and estate litigation is no contest clauses.  No contest clauses bring a made-for-tv excitement to the practice of trust and estate law because of the risk of disinheritance.  Yet such clauses are widely misunderstood, even among attorneys.… Continue Reading

Just the FAQs: California Trust and Estate Litigation’s Greatest Hits, Part 1

In our Sacramento trust and estate litigation practice there are several questions that come up over and over again.  In many instances, these questions are the building blocks of our practice that lead to more complicated questions that sometimes require the filing of a lawsuit to answer.  As a starting place, below are some of … 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

Notice of Proposed Action May Quiet Back Seat Driving Beneficiaries

Acting as a trustee can be a thankless and time consuming job, especially when the reward at the end is nothing more than second-guessing from trust beneficiaries.  In our Sacramento-based trust and estate practice, we represent trustees who have strained relationships with beneficiaries, whether their siblings, step-relatives, or otherwise.  One useful tool to help trustees manage … 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

An Accountant and a Lawyer Walk Into a Bar…

At the Sacramento Estate Planning Council’s 2016 Technical Forum on Tuesday an elderly gentleman sitting next to me said “old accountants never die, they just lose their balance” and “old attorneys just lose their appeal(s).”  Sometimes both happen when an unbalanced accounting results in a lost appeal.  The California Court of Appeal issued a rare … Continue Reading

Fee Fi Fo Fum: Trustee Fees Can Be a Giant Issue in Trust Administration

Trustee fees are common flash points in the administration of family trusts. Trustees may put in hundreds of hours cleaning out and selling the family home, dealing with accountants, lawyers, and realtors, and otherwise working to distribute assets out to the beneficiaries. A diligent trustee provides a valuable service and should be compensated for his … Continue Reading

Tick, Tock … When Will I Get My Share of Mom and Dad’s Trust?

Most family trusts call for the outright distribution of assets to specific individuals (i.e., remainder beneficiaries) after the creators of the trust are gone.  In the most common scenario, the assets get doled out to the adult kids after Mom and Dad pass.  Even when a trustee is diligent and the situation is straightforward, it … Continue Reading

The Rising Tide of Trust and Estate Litigation

Inheritance fights are nothing new, nor is public fascination with them. Charles Dickens published Bleak House in 1853, satirizing the English legal system in the context of the fictional case of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce. More recently, John Grisham’s Sycamore Row, released in 2013, was at the top of the New York Times best seller list. … Continue Reading
LexBlog