California probate courts may appoint guardians ad litem (“GALs”) to represent the interests of those who cannot speak for themselves, including minors. While Probate Code section 1003 provides for the appointment of GALs, it does not speak to their removal. A recently published opinion, Chui v. Chui (2022) ___Cal. App. 5th ___ (“Chui II”)

California courts may appoint guardians ad litem as helping hands to act for those unable to make their own decisions in litigated cases because they are minors or incapacitated adults.  For background, see our prior post.

Senate Bill 1279, effective January 1, 2023, clarifies and improves the rules governing the selection of guardians

[Editor’s Note: This post was revised on January 11, 2023 after the implementing Judicial Council forms became available.]

California trust and estate disputes often include claims that one or more family members have isolated or are isolating an elder for financial gain.  For example, Brother may have difficulty communicating with Mother and blame Sister for

Traditionally, the creation of a valid will, in California and elsewhere, required strict adherence to certain formalities.  Estate law has been tepidly moving away from requiring compliance with those formalities, with a goal of prioritizing the intent of the person creating the will (the “Testator”).  Nine states have gone so far as to enact laws

What pea is in which pod?  California probate disputes often involve questions of property ownership.  Petitions filed under Probate Code section 850 allow judges to determine whether and to what extent an estate is the true owner of specified property.

Yet how far can Section 850 petitions be stretched?  In Parker v. Schwarcz (2022) ___

When an administrator (or executor) of a California estate is named in a judgment, the attorney drafting the judgment must be careful.  A person who acts in a representative capacity should be identified that way in the judgment – otherwise, the attorney may have to pursue a costly fix.

A recent probate case from San

Operators of skilled nursing facilities want their patients to enter into arbitration agreements.  While such agreements don’t eliminate the risk of litigation, they at least reduce the expense and exposure associated with potential jury trials.

California appellate courts, however, have taken an ever narrower view of who can sign arbitration agreements on behalf of patients.  Just

Studies and surveys reveal an equity gap in estate planning.  Americans in communities of color are less likely to have plans in place, a troubling disparity given how important estate planning is for all of us.

Advance health care directives allow elders to choose a decision maker and to express preferences as to palliative care

Plaintiffs who sue for financial elder abuse run the risk that defendants will spend ill-gotten gains before they can be recovered.  To address this problem, the California Legislature gave plaintiffs the opportunity to “attach” or freeze assets at the outset of a case.

The Court of Appeal, in Royals v. Lu (2022) 81 Cal.App.5th 328

No contest clauses generally are not enforceable against beneficiaries of California trusts when there is “probable cause” to challenge the trust instrument.

Yet the probable cause safe harbor may disappear if the contest is untimely.  That’s the upshot of Meiri v. Shamtoubi (2022) 81 Cal.App.5th 606, a Court of Appeal opinion issued last week.