Many California trusts confer a lifetime right to income on a person (often the surviving spouse) with the remainder passing to designated survivors upon the income beneficiary’s death. When the income beneficiary dies, is it too late for the executor of the beneficiary’s estate to request an accounting for the purpose of evaluating whether the deceased beneficiary received all income to which he or she was entitled?
No, says the California Court of Appeal in Dunlap v. Mayer (2021) ___ Cal.App.5th ___. A decedent’s successor in interest, such as an executor, can hold the trustee to account. In addition to clarifying this point of law, the court held that a probate court cannot dismiss a petition at a case management conference when disputed factual issues require an evidentiary hearing, extending case law in this area.