Tag: Probate Code Section 16061.7

Late Trust Contest May Trigger Enforcement of No Contest Clause

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) ___ Cal.App.5th ____, a Court of Appeal opinion issued last week. An … Continue Reading

And the Rocket’s Red Glare – Trustee Removal Petitions May Be Costly to Those Who Launch Them

Trustee removal petitions, like Centennial Fountains, are one of the more common fireworks in California trust litigation.  We’ve explored how such petitions are litigated in prior post and a podcast. In Bruno v. Hopkins (2022) ___ Cal.App.5th ___, the California Court of Appeal broke new ground by finding that a beneficiary who in bad faith … Continue Reading

Why Contingency Fee Representation Is Hard to Obtain in Trust and Will Contests

We often receive inquiries about whether we will represent parties in California trust and will contests on a contingency basis.  In contingency representation, the lawyer does not collect a fee unless the client obtains a favorable settlement or court judgment.  Contingency fees usually are structured on a percentage basis, with the lawyer receiving perhaps 25-40 … Continue Reading

Stepmother vs. Stepchild, Now Playing in a California Probate Court Near You

Stepmothers are frequent characters in California trust and estate litigation, as they are in fairy tales and Disney movies.  With about half of all marriages ending in divorce, there are many stepmother/stepchild relationships.  Mostly they work out fine, but some go south. After blogging on sibling conflicts as a driver of trust and estate disputes, … 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

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

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
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