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California Trust and Probate Litigation

This book is essential for litigating any trust and estate issue.

 

 

This book is essential for litigating any trust and estate issue.

  • Dozens of attorney-drafted forms
  • Dispute analysis
  • Sample spreadsheets to assess a claim’s value
  • No contest clauses and other obstacles
  • Grounds for setting aside a will or trust
  • Negotiating and drafting settlements
  • Accounting, surcharge, and removal
  • Will and trust contests and Prob C §850 petitions

Read commentary by author Dominic Campisi.

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This book is essential for litigating any trust and estate issue.

  • Dozens of attorney-drafted forms
  • Dispute analysis
  • Sample spreadsheets to assess a claim’s value
  • No contest clauses and other obstacles
  • Grounds for setting aside a will or trust
  • Negotiating and drafting settlements
  • Accounting, surcharge, and removal
  • Will and trust contests and Prob C §850 petitions

Read commentary by author Dominic Campisi.

1

Introduction and Overview

Dominic J. Campisi

  • I.  INTRODUCTION  1.1
  • II.  SUBJECT AREAS  1.2
    • A.  Intake and Analysis  1.3
    • B.  Accounting, Surcharge, and Removal  1.4
    • C.  Probate  1.5
    • D.  Trusts  1.6

2

Dispute Avoidance

Dominic J. Campisi

  • I.  INITIAL CASE ANALYSIS: PUTTING TRUST AND PROBATE DISPUTES IN CONTEXT
    • A.  Dispute May Involve Multiple Issues  2.1
    • B.  Factors to Consider When Dispute May Arise  2.2
  • II.  PREDEATH STRATEGIES TO AVOID DISPUTES
    • A.  Disclosure  2.3
    • B.  Family Meetings
      • 1.  Agreement to Estate Plan  2.4
      • 2.  No-Contest Clause as Threat
        • a.  Use of Clause as Settlement Vehicle  2.5
        • b.  Wording of Clause  2.6
      • 3.  Other Financial Pressures
        • a.  Conditional Gifts  2.7
        • b.  Cutting Off Income or Remainder Interests  2.8
        • c.  Providing That Trust Funds Will Be Used to Defend Challenges  2.9
        • d.  Counseling Client About Punitive Trust Terms  2.10
    • C.  Signing Ceremony
      • 1.  Witnesses to Signing  2.11
      • 2.  Witnesses to Capacity  2.12
      • 3.  Conduct of Ceremony
        • a.  Timing of Ceremony  2.13
        • b.  Recitals and Documentation of Ceremony  2.14
      • 4.  Ceremony for Trust Execution  2.15
      • 5.  Videotapes as Evidence of Capacity
        • a.  Advantages and Use of Videos  2.16
        • b.  Disadvantages of Videos  2.17
      • 6.  Note Taking  2.18
    • D.  Probate of Will as Estopping Challenge to Trust  2.19
    • E.  Sequential Transfer Documents  2.20
    • F.  Predeath Contests  2.21
    • G.  Preserving Witness Testimony Before Contest  2.22
    • H.  Conservatorship Proceedings
      • 1.  Use to Avoid Disputes  2.23
      • 2.  Correcting Conservatee’s Estate Plan  2.24

3

Attorney-Client Relations

Dominic J. Campisi

  • I.  ESTABLISHING ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP
    • A.  General Considerations  3.1
    • B.  Identifying Parties Involved in Estate or Trust  3.2
    • C.  Who Is the Client?  3.3
    • D.  Receipt of Confidential Information  3.4
    • E.  Attorney as Percipient Witness  3.5
    • F.  Professional Competence
      • 1.  Compliance With Cal Rules of Prof Cond 3–110  3.6
      • 2.  What Probate or Trust Litigator Needs to Know  3.7
      • 3.  Sharing Client Relationship  3.8
        • a.  Association  3.9
        • b.  Referral  3.10
  • II.  CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
    • A.  Conflicts Among Clients  3.11
      • 1.  Rules of Professional Conduct  3.12
      • 2.  Possible Conflict Situations  3.13
      • 3.  Dealing With Conflicts  3.14
      • 4.  Problems With Multiple Clients  3.15
    • B.  Conflicts Between Attorney and Client  3.16
  • III.  ATTORNEY FEES  3.17
    • A.  Economic Considerations
      • 1.  Estimating Litigation Fees and Expenses  3.18
      • 2.  Additional Considerations  3.19
      • 3.  Cash Flow Evaluation; Hybrid Fee Arrangements  3.20
    • B.  Statutory Requirements  3.21
      • 1.  Noncontingency Fee Contracts  3.22
      • 2.  Contingency Fee Contracts  3.23
        • a.  Services Covered by Agreement  3.24
        • b.  Variable Contingency Fee Agreements  3.25
        • c.  Collectibility of Fee  3.26
        • d.  Limitations for Minors in Local Rules  3.27
    • C.  Potential for Reimbursement From Third Parties  3.28
      • 1.  Reimbursement From Estate Based on Preservation of Common Fund  3.29
      • 2.  Reimbursement From Trust  3.30
      • 3.  Reimbursement From Party Acting Improperly  3.31
      • 4.  Risk of Adverse Judgment for Costs and Fees  3.32
    • D.  Representing Fiduciaries  3.33
      • 1.  Limitation on Fees of Personal Representative  3.34
      • 2.  Ordinary Fees in Trust Proceedings  3.35
      • 3.  Litigation Fees  3.36
      • 4.  Advance Authorization for Attorney Fees and Costs
        • a.  Hourly Fees  3.37
        • b.  Advance Approval of Contingency Fee Agreements  3.38
      • 5.  Compensation in Dry Probate  3.39
  • IV.  DEDUCTIBILITY OF ATTORNEY FEES
    • A.  Income and Estate Tax  3.40
    • B.  Tax Considerations in Structuring Judgments and Settlements  3.41
  • V.  FORM: VARIABLE CONTINGENCY FEE AGREEMENT—WILL AND TRUST CONTEST  3.42

4

Dispute Analysis

Dominic J. Campisi

David G. Knitter

James P. Lamping

  • I.  FACT-GATHERING
    • A.  Necessity of Factual Basis for Incapacity  4.1
    • B.  Interviewing Medical Personnel  4.2
    • C.  Debriefing Client About Opponent  4.3
    • D.  Determining Client’s Standing
      • 1.  Family Tree  4.4
      • 2.  Interested Persons  4.5
      • 3.  Intestate Heirs and Other Persons With Standing  4.6
    • E.  Searching Probate Files  4.7
    • F.  Obtaining Asset Information
      • 1.  Knowledge of Relatives  4.8
      • 2.  Title Searches and Computer Programs  4.9
  • II.  INITIALLY ASCERTAINING CLIENT’S POTENTIAL INTERESTS
    • A.  Dispositive Documents  4.10
    • B.  Spousal Property Rights  4.11
    • C.  Jointly Held Assets  4.12
      • 1.  Multiple-Party Accounts  4.13
      • 2.  Joint Tenancy Assets  4.14
    • D.  Other Nonprobate Assets  4.15
    • E.  Durable Powers of Attorney  4.16
    • F.  Attacks on Disqualified Transferees  4.17
  • III.  Quantifying Client’s Potential Financial Interests
    • A.  Adopting Quantified Approach
      • 1.  Need to Quantify Interests  4.17A
      • 2.  Four-Step Approach to Quantifying Claims  4.17B
    • B.  Common Issues to Consider
      • 1.  Scope of Examples  4.17C
      • 2.  Are Missing Assets Recoverable?  4.17D
      • 3.  Time Value of Money  4.17E
      • 4.  Shifting Interests Under Dispositive Documents  4.17F
      • 5.  Effect on Alliances With Other Beneficiaries  4.17G
      • 6.  Possible Legal Fees and Expenses  4.17H
      • 7.  Who Will Pay Litigation Fees and Expenses?  4.17I
        • a.  Trust or Estate Funds Financing Fiduciary Participation  4.17J
        • b.   Beneficiary’s Payment of Attorney Fees  4.17K
        • c.  Payment by Residuary Beneficiaries  4.17L
        • d.  Fee-Shifting Issues  4.17M
      • 8.  Choice of Law  4.17N
      • 9.  Available Remedies  4.17O
      • 10.  Appeals and Unsettled Issues of Law  4.17P
      • 11.   Impact of Taxes  4.17Q
      • 12.  Spousal Rights  4.17R
    • C.  Sample Spreadsheets  4.17S
      • 1.  Challenge to Trust Amendment Changing Beneficiaries’ Percentages
        • a.  Table: Larger Estate; Interests of Beneficiaries   4.17T
        • b.  Table: Larger Estate; Interests of Beneficiaries After Taxes, Costs, and Administration Expenses   4.17U
        • c.  Table: Smaller Estate; Interests of Beneficiaries   4.17V
      • 2.  Valuing Assets in Fluctuating Market
        • a.  Table: Larger Estate   4.17W
        • b.  Table: Smaller Estate   4.17X
      • 3.  Table: Challenge to Trust Amendment Increasing Spousal Gift   4.17Y
      • 4.  Table: Challenge to Low-Basis, High-Value Inter Vivos Gift   4.17Z
      • 5.  Table: Undisputed Charitable Bequest; Challenge to Trust Amendment   4.17AA
      • 6.  Table: Challenge to Charitable Bequest   4.17BB
      • 7.  Table: Property in Multiple States; No-Contest Clause   4.17CC
  • IV.  TIME BARS ON POTENTIAL CLAIMS  4.18
  • V.  WHEN PROCEEDING REQUIRES SPECIAL EXPERTISE  4.19
    • A.  Ethical Duty to Act Competently  4.20
    • B.  Malpractice for Failure to Refer to Specialist  4.21
    • C.  Need for Tax Expertise  4.22
    • D.  Need for Medical and Capacity Expertise  4.23
  • VI.  FINDING ALLIES
    • A.  Importance of Identifying Allies  4.24
    • B.  Beneficiaries: Danger of Triggering No-Contest Clauses  4.25
    • C.  Fiduciaries
      • 1.  The Goal: Support or Neutrality  4.26
        • a.  Is There a Challenge to Estate?  4.27
        • b.  Does Fiduciary Have Duty to Act?  4.28
      • 2.  Eliminating Fiduciaries as Opponents  4.29
      • 3.  Appointment of Conservator to Recover Property  4.30
    • D.  Guardian Ad Litem
      • 1.  Appointment  4.31
      • 2.  Practical Considerations  4.32
    • E.  Attorney General When Charitable Interests Are Involved  4.33
    • F.  District Attorney, IRS Agent, Elder Law Agencies, and Other Law Enforcement Officials  4.34

5

No-Contest Clauses and Other Obstacles to Litigation

John A. Duncan

Andrew Zabronsky

  • I.  INTRODUCTION  5.1
  • II.  NO-CONTEST CLAUSES
    • A.  Introduction
      • 1.  Effect of No-Contest Clauses  5.2
      • 2.  Deterrence Effect  5.3
      • 3.  Traditional Enforcement of No-Contest Clauses  5.4
      • 4.  Divergent Enforcement Regimes For No-Contest Clauses  5.5
    • B.  Law Applicable to Instruments That Became Irrevocable on or After January 1, 2010 (Which Is Presumptively Applicable to Instruments That Became Irrevocable on or After January 1, 2001, but Before January 1, 2010)
      • 1.  Operative Date of New Law  5.6
      • 2.  Under The Current Law, No-Contest Clauses Are Enforceable Against Only Three Types of Contests  5.7
      • 3.  Direct Contests Without Probable Cause
        • a.  General Rule  5.8
        • b.  Direct Contest  5.9
        • c.  Protected Instrument  5.10
        • d.  Probable Cause  5.11
      • 4.  Challenges to Ownership of Property  5.12
      • 5.  Filing or Prosecuting Creditor’s Claim  5.13
      • 6.  No Statutory Safe Harbor Procedure  5.14
    • C.  Law Applicable to Instruments That Became Irrevocable on or After January 1, 2001 but Before January 1, 2010  5.15
    • D.  Law Applicable to Instruments That Became Irrevocable Before January 1, 2001  5.16
      • 1.  General Enforceability of No-Contest Clauses  5.17
      • 2.  Statutory Definition of “Contest”  5.18
      • 3.  Actions That Thwart Estate Plan  5.19
      • 4.  Proceedings to Characterize Property  5.20
      • 5.  Amendments and Other Instruments  5.21
      • 6.  Exceptions to Enforcement of No-Contest Clauses
        • a.  Public Policy Exceptions  5.22
        • b.  Other Statutory Exceptions  5.23
        • c.  Nonstatutory Exceptions  5.24
      • 7.  Declaratory Relief: “Safe Harbor” Provisions  5.25
        • a.  Limitations on Petition for Declaratory Relief  5.26
        • b.  Appeal of “Safe Harbor” Order  5.27
    • E.  Triggering No-Contest Clause
      • 1.  Avoidance of Inadvertent Triggering of No-Contest Clause  5.28
      • 2.  Intentional Triggering of Potential No-Contest Clause  5.29
      • 3.  Interrelationship With Statute of Limitations for Persons Receiving Trustee Notice (Prob C §16061.7)  5.30
  • III.  PROCEDURAL OBSTACLES TO ACTION
    • A.  Statutes of Limitation and Other Time Requirements  5.31
      • 1.  Will Contests  5.32
      • 2.  Trust Contests  5.33
      • 3.  Creditor Claims  5.34
      • 4.  Distribution and Ownership Actions  5.35
      • 5.  Breach of Trust Litigation  5.36
      • 6.  Time to Respond to Probate and Trust Petitions  5.37
      • 7.  Time to Object to Account or Report  5.38
    • B.  Statute of Frauds and Other Writing Requirements
      • 1.  Contracts to Make Wills  5.39
      • 2.  Spousal Property Transmutation Agreements  5.40
      • 3.  Spousal Waivers  5.41
    • C.  Evidentiary Issues
      • 1.  Attorney-Client Privilege  5.42
        • a.  Privilege of Decedent Client  5.43
        • b.  Privilege of Trustee or Personal Representative  5.44
      • 2.  Availability of Witnesses  5.45
      • 3.  Voluminous Documents  5.46
      • 4.  Evidentiary Problems With Audiotapes and Videotapes  5.47
  • IV.  SUBSTANTIVE BARRIERS TO ACTION
    • A.  Fiduciary Protections  5.48
      • 1.  Exculpatory Provisions  5.49
      • 2.  Limited Review of Discretionary Decisions  5.50
      • 3.  Personal Representative Taking Property in Good Faith  5.51
      • 4.  Court May Excuse Breach of Fiduciary Duty  5.52
    • B.  Arbitration Provisions  5.53
    • C.  ERISA Preemption  5.54
  • V.  PRACTICAL PROBLEMS
    • A.  Shifting of Defense Costs  5.55
      • 1.  Payment of Defense Costs by Estate or Trust  5.56
      • 2.  Deductibility of Attorney Fees and Costs  5.57
        • a.  Limitations on Deductibility of Fees and Costs  5.58
        • b.  Deductibility of Beneficiary’s Fees and Costs  5.59
    • B.  Award of Fees for “Unreasonable” Litigation  5.60
      • 1.  Contests of Accounts  5.61
      • 2.  Creditor Claims  5.62
    • C.  Complexity of Challenges to Accountings  5.63
    • D.  Retaliatory Malicious Prosecution Actions  5.64
    • E.  Nonlegal Retaliatory Actions
      • 1.  Generally  5.65
      • 2.  Family Discord  5.66
      • 3.  Disinheritance  5.67
      • 4.  Hostile Fiduciaries  5.68
  • VI.  POTENTIAL TAX CONSEQUENCES OF LITIGATION  5.69
    • A.  Income Taxation of Recoveries  5.70
    • B.  Deductibility of Payments and Distributions  5.71
      • 1.  Sham Contests  5.72
      • 2.  Nonqualified Disclaimers  5.73
      • 3.  Reformation of Wills and Trust Instruments to Obtain More Favorable Tax Result in Litigation  5.74

6

Grounds for Setting Aside Will or Trust

James A. Barringer

Noël M. Lawrence

  • I.  INTRODUCTION  6.1
  • II.  LACK OF CAPACITY  6.2
    • A.  Testamentary Capacity  6.3
    • B.  Capacity to Create Trust  6.4
    • C.  Presumptions and Burden of Proof  6.5
    • D.  Due Process in Competence Determinations Act  6.6
      • 1.  Purpose and Applicability  6.7
      • 2.  What Constitutes Lack of Capacity  6.8
      • 3.  Evidentiary Requirements  6.9
      • 4.  Implications for Psychiatric Testimony  6.10
    • E.  Evidence Regarding Capacity  6.11
      • 1.  Medical and Psychiatric Testimony  6.12
      • 2.  Testimony of Attorney  6.13
      • 3.  Testimony of Subscribing Witness  6.14
      • 4.  Adjudication of Incompetence  6.15
      • 5.  Ability to Transact Business  6.16
      • 6.  History of Mental Disorder  6.17
      • 7.  Foibles and Eccentricities  6.18
      • 8.  Senile Dementia  6.19
      • 9.  Alcohol and Drug Abuse  6.20
  • III.  UNDUE INFLUENCE
    • A.  Underlying Law  6.21
    • B.  Proof by Circumstantial Evidence  6.22
    • C.  Shifting Burden of Proof  6.23
      • 1.  Confidential Relationship  6.24
      • 2.  Active Participation  6.25
      • 3.  Undue Profit  6.26
  • IV.  FRAUD  6.27
    • A.  Elements and Pleading  6.28
    • B.  Comparison and Overlap With Undue Influence  6.29
  • V.  DURESS OR MENACE  6.30
  • VI.  MISTAKE  6.31
  • VII.  LIMITATIONS ON TRANSFERS TO DRAFTERS AND OTHERS
    • A.  Disqualified Transferees  6.32
    • B.  Statute of Limitations  6.33

6A

Statutorily Disqualified Donees and Trustees

David W. Baer

Michael B. McNaughton

  • I.  INTRODUCTION
    • A.  General Operation and Purpose  6A.1
    • B.  Legislative History  6A.2
    • C.  Advantages Over Will or Trust Contest  6A.3
  • II.  SCOPE OF STATUTE
    • A.  “Instruments” and “Donative Transfers” Subject to Statute  6A.4
    • B.  Effective Date  6A.5
    • C.  Invalidity of Waivers  6A.6
    • D.  Grounds for Removal of Sole Trustee  6A.7
  • III.  INVALIDATED DONATIVE TRANSFERS  6A.8
    • A.  Prohibited Transferees  6A.9
      • 1.  Drafter  6A.10
      • 2.  Drafter’s Relatives, Spouse, Domestic Partner, Cohabitant, and Employees  6A.11
      • 3.  Drafter’s Law Partners and Employees  6A.12
      • 4.  Fiduciary Who Transcribes Instrument or Causes Its Transcription  6A.13
      • 5.  Fiduciary-Transcriber’s Relatives, Spouse, Domestic Partner, Cohabitant, and Employees  6A.14
      • 6.  Care Custodian of Dependent Adult  6A.15
    • B.  Exceptions  6A.16
      • 1.  Transferor’s Blood Relatives, Spouse, Cohabitant, or Domestic Partner  6A.17
      • 2.  Certificate of Independent Review  6A.18
      • 3.  Form: Certificate of Independent Review Under Prob C §21384  6A.19
      • 4.  Instruments Approved by Substituted Judgment  6A.20
      • 5.  Evidence Clearly and Convincingly Disproving Fraud or Undue Influence  6A.21
        • a.  Disproving Undue Influence  6A.22
        • b.  Liability for Costs  6A.23
      • 6.  Donative Transfers to Public Entities or Charities  6A.24
      • 7.  De Minimis Donative Transfers  6A.25
      • 8.  Donative Transfers by Nonresidents  6A.26
    • C.  Statute of Limitations  6A.27
    • D.  Standing to Bring Proceeding  6A.28
    • E.  Applicability of No-Contest Clause  6A.29
  • IV.  LIABILITY FOR MAKING INVALID TRANSFERS  6A.30
  • V.  FORM: WILL CONTEST AND GROUNDS FOR OPPOSITION TO PROBATE OF PURPORTED WILL UNDER PROB C §21380  6A.31
  • VI.  REMOVAL OF SOLE TRUSTEE
    • A.  Grounds for Removal  6A.32
    • B.  Exceptions  6A.33
      • 1.  Spouse, Cohabitant, and Blood Relatives  6A.34
      • 2.  Certificate of Independent Review  6A.35
      • 3.  Trust Instrument Created by Substituted Judgment  6A.36
    • C.  Applicability of No-Contest Clause  6A.37
    • D.  Award of Attorney Fees  6A.38
    • E.  Form: Petition for Removal of Trustee  6A.39
  • VII.  GROUNDS FOR ATTORNEY DISCIPLINE  6A.40

7

Multiple Proceedings

Dominic J. Campisi

  • I.  TACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS
    • A.  Variety of Actions and Forums Available  7.1
    • B.  Costs and Benefits of Multiple Proceedings and Attendant Delay  7.2
    • C.  Jury Issues  7.3
    • D.  Equitable Issues Generally Tried First  7.4
  • II.  TYPES OF ACTIONS
    • A.  Attack on Pour-Over Will, Inter Vivos Trust, or Both  7.5
      • 1.  Defensive Considerations  7.6
      • 2.  Offensive Considerations  7.7
      • 3.  Tortious Interference With Expected Inheritance  7.8
    • B.  Alternative Claims  7.9
      • 1.  Oral Agreement to Make Will  7.10
      • 2.  Palimony (Marvin) Claims  7.11

8

Remedies Under Elder Abuse Provisions

Irene L. Silverman

  • I.  INTRODUCTION
    • A.  Generally  8.1
    • B.  Nonexclusivity of Remedies Under EADACPA  8.2
    • C.  Statute of Limitations  8.3
    • D.  Definitions
      • 1.  Persons Protected by EADACPA  8.4
      • 2.  Financial Abuse  8.5
      • 3.  Elder or Dependent Adult Who Lacks Capacity  8.5A
    • E.  Threshold for Recovery Under EADACPA  8.6
    • F.  Medical Negligence Causes of Action  8.7
  • II.  ENHANCED REMEDIES UNDER EADACPA
    • A.  Postmortem Damages for Pain and Suffering  8.8
    • B.  Mandatory Attorney Fees  8.9
      • 1.  Value of Attorney Services  8.10
      • 2.  Defendant’s Efforts to Determine Liability  8.11
      • 3.  Written Offers in Compromise  8.12
    • C.  Conservator’s Fees  8.13
    • D.  Earnings Withholding Orders  8.13A
    • E.  Jurisdiction
      • 1.  Concurrent Probate and Civil Court Jurisdiction  8.14
        • a.  Benefits of Concurrent Probate Court Jurisdiction  8.15
        • b.  Questions Concerning Concurrent Applicability of Conservatorship and Civil Action Procedures  8.16
        • c.  Contractual Arbitration  8.17
  • III.  ELDER ABUSE CLAIMS WITHIN TRUST AND ESTATE LITIGATION
    • A.  Client Information and Factual Analysis  8.18
    • B.  Cautions About Threats of Elder Abuse Litigation  8.19
    • C.  Setting Up Elder Abuse Case in Trust and Estate Litigation  8.20
    • D.  Risk of Malicious Prosecution Charge  8.21
    • E.  Standing
      • 1.  Standing to Bring Elder Abuse Action While the Elder Is Living  8.22
      • 2.  Standing to Commence or Maintain Elder Abuse Action After the Elder Has Died  8.22A
      • 3.  Special Concerns in Trust and Estate Litigation  8.23
      • 4.  Potential Liability for Surcharge  8.24
    • F.  Examples of Fact Situations That Give Rise to Trust and Estate and Elder Abuse Claims  8.25
  • IV.  PLEADINGS IN COMPLAINT FOR RELIEF UNDER EADACPA
    • A.  Generally  8.26
    • B.  Form: Allegations of Abuse Showing Applicability of EADACPA Remedies  8.27

9

Procedural Issues

Stella Pantazis

  • I.  JURISDICTION  9.1
    • A.  Exclusive Jurisdiction
      • 1.  Probate  9.2
      • 2.  Trusts  9.3
    • B.  Concurrent Jurisdiction
      • 1.  Probate  9.4
      • 2.  Trusts  9.5
    • C.  Federal Jurisdiction  9.6
  • II.  VENUE
    • A.  Probate  9.7
    • B.  Trusts  9.8
    • C.  Motion for Change of Venue in Trust Proceedings  9.9
  • III.  STANDING
    • A.  Interested Persons Generally  9.10
    • B.  Heirs and Devisees  9.11
    • C.  Personal Representatives  9.12
    • D.  Trustees  9.13
    • E.  Creditors  9.14
  • IV.  LOCAL COURT RULES AND NOTICE REQUIREMENTS  9.15
  • V.  PETITION FOR INSTRUCTIONS  9.16
  • VI.  NOTICE AND SERVICE
    • A.  By Mail
      • 1.  Probate Proceedings  9.17
      • 2.  Trust Proceedings  9.18
    • B.  Personal Delivery  9.19
    • C.  Citations  9.20
  • VII.  AFFIDAVITS AND DECLARATIONS  9.21
  • VIII.  VERIFICATION OF PLEADINGS  9.22

10

Litigation Tools: An Overview

Michael G. Desmarais

Kristofer W. Biorn

  • I.  INTRODUCTION  10.1
  • II.  BEGINNING LITIGATION  10.2
  • III.  LAW AND MOTION PRACTICE
    • A.  Type of Pleading  10.3
      • 1.  Drafting Motion Papers  10.4
      • 2.  Caption  10.5
      • 3.  Form: Sample Caption  10.6
    • B.  Where Is Law and Motion Heard?  10.7
    • C.  Tentative Ruling Procedures  10.8
    • D.  Demurrer  10.9
    • E.  Motion to Strike  10.10
    • F.  Motion for Judgment on Pleadings  10.11
    • G.  Motion to Dismiss for Failure to Serve Summons or to Bring Case to Trial  10.12
    • H.  Motion for Summary Judgment or Summary Adjudication  10.13
  • IV.  CONDUCTING DISCOVERY  10.14
    • A.  Informal Discovery  10.15
      • 1.  Inspecting Records  10.16
      • 2.  Retaining Expert Witnesses  10.17
    • B.  Formal Discovery
      • 1.  Order of Discovery  10.18
      • 2.  Time for Commencement of Discovery  10.18A
      • 3.  Where Discovery Motions Are Heard  10.19
      • 4.  Judge or Commissioner  10.20
      • 5.  Civil Discovery Devices
        • a.  Production Demands; Subpoena Duces Tecum  10.21
          • (1)  Decedent’s Medical History  10.22
          • (2)  Business Records  10.23
        • b.  Depositions  10.24
        • c.  Interrogatories
          • (1)  Number and Use  10.25
          • (2)  Recommended Form Interrogatories  10.25A
        • d.  Requests for Admission  10.26
        • e.  Exchange of Expert Information  10.27
        • f.  Discovery Before or After Action  10.28
        • g.  Exhuming Body in Will Contest  10.29
      • 6.  Discovery Procedures Unique to Probate Proceedings  10.30
        • a.  Citation to Answer Interrogatories or Appear for Examination  10.31
        • b.  Propounding and Answering Interrogatories  10.32
        • c.  Conduct of Examination  10.33
        • d.  Appearance to Account for Estate Property  10.34
          • (1)  Form: Petition for Issuance of Citation Requiring Citee to Appear and Account for Estate Property  10.35
          • (2)  Form: Declaration Supporting Petition for Issuance of Citation  10.36
        • e.  Nonexclusivity of Probate Discovery Procedures  10.37
  • V.  TRIAL SETTING
    • A.  Probate Department Trial Date  10.38
    • B.  Trial Without Evidentiary Hearing  10.39
    • C.  Right to Evidentiary Hearing  10.39A
    • D.  Case Management Rules in Civil Department  10.40
    • E.  Trial Date Motions  10.41
    • F.  Jury Trial Demand  10.42
    • G.  Disqualifying Judge  10.43
  • VI.  PRETRIAL PRACTICE
    • A.  Settlement
      • 1.  Mandatory Settlement Conference  10.44
      • 2.  CCP §998 Settlement Offer  10.45
      • 3.  If Case Settles  10.46
    • B.  Trial Preparation  10.47
      • 1.  Witnesses  10.48
        • a.  Compelling Attendance and Production  10.49
        • b.  Preparing Witnesses for Trial  10.50
      • 2.  Documents  10.51
      • 3.  Other Exhibits  10.52
      • 4.  Pretrial Motions
        • a.  Motions to Consolidate, Sever, and Change Order of Trial  10.53
        • b.  Motions in Limine  10.54
      • 5.  Trial Briefs and Trial Memorandums  10.55
  • VII.  TRIAL
    • A.  Chambers Conference  10.56
    • B.  Courtroom Attendance  10.57
    • C.  Jury Selection  10.58
    • D.  Opening Statement  10.59
    • E.  Order of Proof  10.60
    • F.  Phases of Examination  10.61
    • G.  Introducing Evidence  10.62
      • 1.  Witness Testimony  10.63
      • 2.  Opinion Testimony
        • a.  Lay Witnesses  10.64
        • b.  Expert Witnesses  10.65
          • (1)  Qualifying Expert  10.66
          • (2)  Examining Expert  10.67
      • 3.  Documentary Evidence
        • a.  Uses  10.68
        • b.  Authentication and Proof  10.69
        • c.  Secondary Evidence  10.70
      • 4.  Material Objects and Other Things  10.71
      • 5.  Judicial Notice  10.72
      • 6.  Hearsay  10.73
      • 7.  Evidence Excluded by Extrinsic Policies  10.74
      • 8.  Privileges  10.75
      • 9.  Attorney-Client Privilege  10.76
      • 10.  Attorney Work Product Privilege  10.76A
      • 11.  Objecting to Evidence  10.77
    • H.  Motions During Trial
      • 1.  Motion for Judgment  10.78
      • 2.  Motion for Nonsuit  10.79
      • 3.  Motion for Directed Verdict  10.80
      • 4.  Motion for Continuance  10.81
      • 5.  Motion to Reopen Case  10.82
      • 6.  Motion for Mistrial  10.83
      • 7.  Motion to Amend Pleadings to Conform to Proof  10.84
    • I.  Instructing Jury  10.85
    • J.  Closing Argument  10.86
    • K.  Decision, Verdict, and Judgment  10.87
  • VIII.  POSTTRIAL PRACTICE
    • A.  Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding Verdict  10.88
    • B.  Motion for New Trial  10.89
    • C.  Motion to Vacate and Enter Different Judgment  10.90
    • D.  Attorney Fees and Costs  10.91
    • E.  Civil Writs
      • 1.  Introduction  10.92
      • 2.  Procedure  10.93
  • IX.  ENFORCEMENT PRACTICE  10.94
  • X.  APPENDIXES
    • A.  Form: Sample Special Interrogatories in Will Contest Proceeding  10.95
    • B.  Form: Sample Requests for Admission in Will Contest Proceeding  10.96
    • C.  Form: Sample Request for Production in Will Contest Proceeding  10.97

11

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Thomas W. Latham

  • I.  ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR)
    • A.  Modern Trend Toward ADR  11.1
    • B.  Benefits of ADR: Greater Control Over Case Management  11.2
      • 1.  Selecting Appropriate ADR Method  11.3
        • a.  Cases With Strong Emotional Issues  11.4
        • b.  Cases With Complicated Accounting  11.5
        • c.  Cases Involving Disputed Control of Family Business  11.6
        • d.  Cases With Complex Factual or Legal Issues  11.7
        • e.  Cases With Undisputed Facts and Simple Legal Issues  11.8
        • f.  Cases With Small Amount at Stake, Simple Facts, and Simple Legal Issues  11.9
      • 2.  Selecting Neutral Person  11.10
      • 3.  Control Over Timing  11.11
  • II.  ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION FORMATS: COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGES IN PROBATE AND TRUST LITIGATION
    • A.  Variables Among ADR Formats  11.12
      • 1.  Negotiation Directly by Parties  11.13
      • 2.  Negotiation Through Counsel  11.14
      • 3.  Party-Initiated Nonevaluative Mediation  11.15
        • a.  Factors in Selecting Nonevaluative Mediation  11.16
        • b.  Role of Party Participation and Controlled “Venting” in Nonevaluative Mediation  11.17
        • c.  Mediator Qualifications  11.18
      • 4.  Party-Initiated Evaluative Mediation  11.19
        • a.  Factors in Selecting Evaluative Mediation  11.20
        • b.  Mediator Qualifications  11.21
      • 5.  Court-Initiated Mediation  11.22
      • 6.  Court-Supervised Settlement Conference  11.23
      • 7.  Court-Ordered Nonbinding Arbitration  11.24
      • 8.  Voluntary Binding Arbitration  11.25
      • 9.  Voluntary General Reference to Referee  11.26
      • 10.  Court-Ordered Special Reference to Referee  11.27
      • 11.  Stipulated Reference to Judge Pro Tem for Summary Determination  11.28
      • 12.  Stipulated Trial to Judge Pro Tem  11.29
      • 13.  Trial by Probate Court  11.30
    • B.  Flexibility, Innovation, and Control  11.31

11A

Negotiating and Drafting Settlement Agreements

Shirley L. Kovar

  • I.  INTRODUCTION  11A.1
  • II.  BEFORE NEGOTIATIONS BEGIN  11A.2
    • A.  Facilitation Agreements  11A.3
      • 1.  Standstill Agreements  11A.4
      • 2.  Tolling Agreements  11A.5
      • 3.  Other Preconditions  11A.6
    • B.  Planning for Taxes
      • 1.  Issues to Consider  11A.7
      • 2.  Tax Strategies  11A.8
  • III.  CONDUCTING NEGOTIATIONS TO ENHANCE AND SUSTAIN SETTLEMENT
    • A.  Avoiding Conduct That Invites Anger  11A.9
    • B.  Ensuring Parties Are Agreeing to Same Deal  11A.10
    • C.  Ensuring Attorney Has Legal Authority to Settle  11A.11
    • D.  Negotiating Entire Form of Agreement  11A.12
    • E.  Avoiding Misrepresentations  11A.13
    • F.  Avoiding Pressure Tactics  11A.14
    • G.  Acting Promptly If Opponent Reneges
      • 1.  Consider Tactics to Discourage Reneging and Enforce Settlement  11A.15
      • 2.  Confirm No Obstacles to Enforcement  11A.16
      • 3.  Consider Enforceability of Oral Agreement
        • a.  Oral Agreements on the Record  11A.17
        • b.  Oral Agreements Not on the Record  11A.18
  • IV.  DRAFTING SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT  11A.19
    • A.  Drafting Considerations
      • 1.  Settlement Agreement as Type of “Estate Plan”  11A.20
      • 2.  Drafting for Consequences  11A.21
      • 3.  Organization of Agreement  11A.22
      • 4.  Stating the Obvious  11A.23
      • 5.  Watching for “Premature Settlements”  11A.24
    • B.  Form Provisions  11A.25
    • C.  Signatories to Agreement
      • 1.  Heirs and Beneficiaries  11A.26
      • 2.  Trustees, Personal Representatives, Guardians, and Other Fiduciaries  11A.27
    • D.  Definitions  11A.28
    • E.  Recitals  11A.29
    • F.  Agreements and Releases  11A.30
      • 1.  Form: Agreement Regarding Tax Consequences  11A.31
      • 2.  Form: Exclusion of Specific Clause  11A.32
      • 3.  Form: Agreement Admissible as Evidence  11A.33
      • 4.  Release
        • a.  Scope of Release  11A.34
        • b.  Form: General Release  11A.35
      • 5.  Form: Dismissal of Pending Cases  11A.36
      • 6.  Violation of No Contest Clause  11A.37
      • 7.  Form: Payment of Each Party’s Legal Fees  11A.38
      • 8.  Form: Disclaimer of Liability  11A.39
      • 9.  Form: Liquidated Damages and Venue  11A.40
      • 10.  Form: Disclosure Acknowledgment  11A.41
    • G.  Standard Provisions  11A.42
      • 1.  Form: Comprehension of Agreement  11A.43
      • 2.  Form: Opportunity to Be Represented by Counsel  11A.44
      • 3.  Form: Integration of Agreement  11A.45
      • 4.  Form: Governing Law  11A.46
      • 5.  Form: Interpretation of Agreement  11A.47
      • 6.  Form: Further Documents  11A.48
      • 7.  Covenant Not to Sue  11A.49
      • 8.  Form: Warranty of Capacity to Execute Agreement  11A.50
      • 9.  Form: Authorization to Sign  11A.51
      • 10.  Form: Attorney Fees for Enforcement Proceedings  11A.52
      • 11.  Severability Clause
        • a.  Consider Including Severability Clause  11A.53
        • b.  Form: Severability  11A.54
      • 12.  Form: Disputes to Be Mediated  11A.55
      • 13.  Confidentiality Provision  11A.56
      • 14.  Form: Agreement Is Binding on Successors  11A.57
      • 15.  Form: Counterparts  11A.58
      • 16.  Effective Date  11A.59
  • V.  APPENDIX: SAMPLE MUTUAL GENERAL RELEASE AND SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT  11A.60

12

Trust and Probate Litigation Settlement Issues

Thomas W. Latham

  • I.  INTRODUCTION  12.1
  • II.  SETTLEMENT ISSUES COMMONLY ENCOUNTERED IN PROBATE AND TRUST LITIGATION
    • A.  Dividing Real Property  12.2
    • B.  Dividing Property With Emotional Rather Than Economic Value  12.3
    • C.  Fixed Sum Negotiations Versus Percentage Negotiations  12.4
  • III.  TAX PLANNING TO FACILITATE SETTLEMENTS IN TRUST AND PROBATE LITIGATION
    • A.  Importance of Tax Analysis  12.5
    • B.  Using Spreadsheets  12.6
    • C.  Effect of Settlement Agreement on IRS  12.7
    • D.  Examples of Potential Tax Impacts
      • 1.  Marital Deduction  12.8
      • 2.  Fractional Interest Discount  12.9
      • 3.  Joint Tenancy Versus Community Property  12.10
  • IV.  COURT APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENTS  12.11
    • A.  Probate Settlements  12.12
      • 1.  Personal Representative Without IAEA Powers  12.13
      • 2.  Personal Representative With IAEA Powers  12.14
        • a.  Notice of Proposed Action by Personal Representative With IAEA Powers  12.15
        • b.  Procedure for Obtaining Court Authorization  12.16
      • 3.  Minors and Persons With Disabilities  12.17
    • B.  Trust Settlements  12.18
      • 1.  Procedure for Obtaining Court Authorization  12.19
      • 2.  Binding Minor and Unborn Beneficiaries  12.20

13

Accountings and Surcharge

Thomas W. Latham

Nancy M. Levin

  • I.  TRUSTEE’S DUTY TO ACCOUNT AND REPORT INFORMATION
    • A.  Scope of Duty  13.1
      • 1.  Revocable Trust  13.2
      • 2.  Irrevocable Trust  13.3
      • 3.  Testamentary Trust Subject to Continuing Court Supervision  13.4
    • B.  Effect of Beneficiary Waiver of Account  13.5
    • C.  Exculpatory Provision in Trust Instrument  13.5A
    • D.  Trust Account to Beneficiaries
      • 1.  Contents  13.6
      • 2.  Statute of Limitations  13.7
      • 3.  Proof of Service  13.8
      • 4.  Beneficiary Approval and Release  13.9
    • E.  Trust Account to Court  13.10
      • 1.  Contents, Format, and Notice  13.11
      • 2.  Court Review and Res Judicata  13.12
    • F.  Trustee’s Protective Strategies: Factors in Deciding Whether to Seek Court Approval  13.13
      • 1.  Privacy  13.14
      • 2.  Beneficiary Approval  13.15
      • 3.  Length of Exposure Period  13.16
    • G.  Compelling Trustee to Account
      • 1.  Standing and Grounds to Compel Account
        • a.  Requirements of Written Request, 60-Day Wait, and No Account Within Previous 6 Months  13.17
        • b.  No Requirements on Showing of Reasonable Likelihood of Material Breach  13.18
        • c.  Statute of Limitations  13.19
      • 2.  Notice  13.20
      • 3.  Form: Petition to Compel Trustee to Account  13.21
      • 4.  Opposition to Petition  13.22
      • 5.  Form: Order Compelling Trustee to Account  13.23
      • 6.  Remedies if Trustee Fails to Comply With Order Compelling Trustee to Account  13.24
  • II.  PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE’S DUTY TO ACCOUNT AND REPORT
    • A.  Scope of Duty  13.25
    • B.  Effect of Beneficiary Waiver of Account  13.26
    • C.  Estate Account to Court
      • 1.  Contents, Format, and Notice  13.27
      • 2.  Court Review and Res Judicata; Limitations  13.28
        • a.  Matter Must Have Been Raised and Passed on  13.29
        • b.  No Material Misrepresentation or Material Omission in Petition, Account, or Judgment  13.30
        • c.  No Extrinsic Fraud  13.31
    • D.  Compelling Personal Representative to Account
      • 1.  Standing and Grounds to Compel Account  13.32
      • 2.  Procedure and Notice  13.33
      • 3.  Form: Petition for Order Compelling Personal Representative or Other Named Person to Account  13.34
      • 4.  Opposition to Petition  13.35
      • 5.  Form: Order Compelling Personal Representative or Other Named Person to Account  13.36
      • 6.  Remedies if Personal Representative Fails to Comply With Order Compelling Personal Representative to Account  13.37
      • 7.  Form: Petition for Issuance of Citation Requiring Personal Representative to Appear and Show Cause Why He or She Should Not Be Punished for Contempt  13.38
  • III.  OBJECTIONS TO ACCOUNT AND REQUEST FOR SURCHARGE OF FIDUCIARY AND OTHER REMEDIES
    • A.  Res Judicata Effect of Failure to Object  13.39
    • B.  Standing to Object
      • 1.  Trusts  13.40
      • 2.  Estates  13.41
    • C.  Scope of Objection
      • 1.  Plenary Review of Fiduciary’s Acts or Omissions  13.42
      • 2.  Breach of Trustee’s Duties  13.43
      • 3.  Breach of Personal Representative’s Duties  13.44
    • D.  Measure of Liability for Breach of Duties
      • 1.  Compensatory Damages  13.45
      • 2.  Punitive Damages  13.46
    • E.  Surcharge and Other Remedies  13.47
    • F.  Attorney Fee Shifting
      • 1.  Fees Incurred by Fiduciary  13.48
      • 2.  Fees Incurred by Contestant  13.49
    • G.  Procedure
      • 1.  When to File Objections  13.50
      • 2.  Content, Format, and Notice to Surety  13.51
    • H.  Form: Objections to Account and Request for Surcharge of Fiduciary and Other Remedies  13.52
    • I.  Hearing on Objections
      • 1.  No Jury Trial  13.53
      • 2.  Timing  13.54
      • 3.  Evidence  13.55
      • 4.  Burden of Proof  13.56
    • J.  Order  13.57
    • K.  Appeal
      • 1.  Appealable Order  13.58
      • 2.  Time to Appeal  13.59
    • L.  Recovery Against Surety  13.60

14

Fiduciary Resignation or Removal

Thomas W. Latham

  • I.  TRUSTEE RESIGNATION  14.1
    • A.  Methods of Resignation  14.2
      • 1.  By Terms of Trust  14.3
      • 2.  By Consent of Holder of Power to Revoke  14.4
      • 3.  By Consent of Certain Beneficiaries  14.5
      • 4.  By Court Order When Trustee Needs to Invoke Statutory Right to Resign  14.6
        • a.  Lack of Beneficiary Consent  14.7
        • b.  No Successor Willing to Serve  14.8
        • c.  Problems Involved With Exercising Right to Resign
          • (1)  What to Do With Trust Assets  14.9
          • (2)  Search for Successor Trustee or Receiver  14.10
          • (3)  Termination When Search for Successor Trustee or Receiver Is Unsuccessful  14.11
          • (4)  Liability for Bad Faith Exercise of Right to Resign  14.12
        • d.  Form: Petition for Order Accepting Resignation of Trustee and for Appointment of Successor Trustee or Receiver  14.13
        • e.  Form: Order Accepting Resignation of Trustee and for Appointment of Successor Trustee or Receiver  14.14
    • B.  Obtaining Release or Discharge  14.15
      • 1.  Court Accounting  14.16
      • 2.  Private Accounting and Request for Release  14.17
      • 3.  Private Accounting and Reliance on Statute of Limitations  14.18
      • 4.  Warning Against Self-Help Holdback  14.19
    • C.  Timing Resignation  14.20
  • II.  TRUSTEE REMOVAL
    • A.  Removal in Accordance With Trust Instrument  14.21
    • B.  Removal by Court  14.22
      • 1.  Grounds  14.23
        • a.  Breach of Trust
          • (1)  Removal Is Only One of Several Remedies  14.24
          • (2)  Breach From Conflict of Interest  14.25
        • b.  Trustee Insolvent or Unfit  14.26
        • c.  Hostility Among Cotrustees That Impairs Administration  14.27
        • d.  Sole Trustee Would Be Disqualified Person Under Prob C §21380(a)  14.28
        • e.  Inability to Manage Financial Resources, Execute Duties of Office, or Resist Fraud or Undue Influence  14.28A
        • f.  Other Good Cause
          • (1)  Hostility Between Trustee and Beneficiary That Impairs Administration  14.29
          • (2)  Transfer of Trust From One Corporate Fiduciary to Another  14.30
          • (3)  Transfer of Irrevocable Trust to Trust Company on Request of Current Beneficiaries  14.31
      • 2.  Attorney Fees
        • a.  Successful Trustee  14.32
        • b.  Unsuccessful Trustee  14.33
        • c.  Successful Petitioner  14.34
        • d.  Unsuccessful Petitioner  14.35
      • 3.  Petition for Removal
        • a.  Procedure  14.36
        • b.  Form: Petition for Removal of Trustee  14.37
        • c.  Form: Order for Removal of Trustee  14.38
  • III.  REMOVAL OF PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE
    • A.  Statutory Grounds  14.39
    • B.  Discretionary Removal Power  14.40
    • C.  Suspension of Powers and Special Administration  14.41
    • D.  Petition for Removal
      • 1.  Procedure  14.42
      • 2.  Form: Petition for Removal of Representative  14.43
      • 3.  Form: Order for Issuance of Citation  14.44
      • 4.  Form: Order Removing Representative  14.45

15

Actions by and Against Personal Representative

Thomas W. Latham

  • I.  ROLE OF REPRESENTATIVE AS LITIGANT  15.1
    • A.  Conflicts of Interest  15.2
    • B.  Duty of Impartiality  15.3
    • C.  Personal Representative Is Litigant on Behalf of Estate  15.4
    • D.  Prior Court Approval to Engage in Litigation Not Required But Advisable  15.5
      • 1.  Protection Against Hindsight Complaints  15.6
      • 2.  Payment of Attorney Fees and Costs on Current Basis  15.7
  • II.  SELECTED PROBATE ADMINISTRATION ISSUES
    • A.  Disputes Concerning Bonds  15.8
    • B.  Litigation Concerning Inventory and Appraisal
      • 1.  Representative’s Failure to File Inventory and Appraisal  15.9
      • 2.  Challenges to Inventory  15.10
      • 3.  Challenges to Appraisal  15.11
    • C.  Disputes Involving Claims by Family Members, Putative Spouses, and Former Spouses  15.12
      • 1.  Disputes Concerning Community/Separate Property  15.13
      • 2.  Claims for Spouse’s Breach of Fiduciary Duty  15.14
      • 3.  Liability for Spousal Debts  15.15
    • D.  Proration of Taxes  15.16
    • E.  Surcharge of Personal Representative for Breach of Fiduciary Duties
      • 1.  Negligence in Managing and Controlling Estate  15.17
      • 2.  Negligence Concerning Payment of Taxes  15.18
    • F.  Action Against Surety for Acts of Personal Representative  15.19
      • 1.  Requirements: Notice and Surcharge Order  15.20
      • 2.  Proceeding by Motion or Complaint  15.21
  • III.  CLAIMS OF ESTATE AGAINST THIRD PARTIES  15.22
    • A.  Standing to Pursue Claim  15.23
    • B.  Statute of Limitations  15.24
    • C.  Damage Limitations  15.25
    • D.  Commencing or Continuing Action
      • 1.  In General  15.26
      • 2.  Form: Complaint in Action by Representative  15.27
  • IV.  WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIMS  15.28
    • A.  Joinder of Claims and Claimants  15.29
    • B.  Statute of Limitations  15.30
  • V.  CLAIMS OF THIRD PARTIES AGAINST ESTATE
    • A.  Survival of Third Party Claims Against Decedent  15.31
    • B.  Statute of Limitations  15.31A
    • C.  Creditor Claim Procedures  15.32
    • D.  Personal Representative as Defendant When No Action Pending at Death  15.33
    • E.  Form: Complaint Against Representative When No Action Pending at Death  15.34
    • F.  Personal Representative as Defendant When Action Pending at Death  15.35
    • G.  Form: Notice of Motion and Motion for Order Substituting Personal Representative as Defendant and for Leave to File Supplemental Complaint  15.36
    • H.  Claims That Do Not Require Creditor Claim  15.37
      • 1.  Claims Covered by Insurance  15.38
      • 2.  Liability of Distributee or Successor in Interest Under Limited Circumstances  15.39

16

Contesting Appointment of Personal Representative

Thomas W. Latham

  • I.  DISPUTES CONCERNING APPOINTMENT OF PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE
    • A.  Strategy  16.1
    • B.  Immediate Appointment of Special Administrator  16.2
    • C.  Right to Appointment as Personal Representative  16.3
      • 1.  Executors  16.4
      • 2.  Administrators  16.5
      • 3.  Administrators With Will Annexed  16.6
      • 4.  Waiver of Right to Appointment  16.7
    • D.  Grounds for Disqualification  16.8
      • 1.  Minor  16.9
      • 2.  Conservatee, or Person Otherwise Incapable or Unfit  16.10
      • 3.  Persons Subject to Removal
        • a.  In General  16.11
        • b.  Conflict of Interest as Basis for Disqualification  16.12
      • 4.  Nonresident of United States  16.13
      • 5.  Decedent’s Surviving Business Partner  16.14
      • 6.  Homicide  16.15
      • 7.  Abuse of Elder or Dependent Adult  16.16
    • E.  Standing to Object  16.17
  • II.  PROCEDURES AND FORMS
    • A.  Petition for Appointment  16.18
    • B.  Notice of Hearing  16.19
    • C.  Contest of Petition  16.20
    • D.  Memorandum in Support of Contest  16.21
    • E.  Contested Hearing  16.22
    • F.  Form: Contest of Appointment of Personal Representative  16.23
    • G.  Form: Order Denying Petition for Appointment of Personal Representative  16.24
    • H.  Appeal  16.25

17

Will Contests

Clark R. Byam

Marc L. Sallus

  • I.  INTRODUCTION
    • A.  Nature of Proceeding  17.1
    • B.  Interview and Fact-Gathering  17.2
    • C.  Checklist: Client Information  17.3
    • D.  Evaluating Costs of Contest  17.4
  • II.  LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
    • A.  Governing Law  17.5
    • B.  Standing to Contest  17.6
      • 1.  Personal Representative
        • a.  Proposed Executor Under Will Offered for Probate  17.7
        • b.  Contest of Subsequent Will  17.8
      • 2.  Heirs  17.9
      • 3.  Beneficiaries Under Prior or Later Will  17.10
      • 4.  Estate of Person Interested  17.11
      • 5.  Assignment of Right to Contest  17.12
      • 6.  Creditors of Heirs  17.13
      • 7.  Debtors of Estate  17.14
      • 8.  State of California  17.15
      • 9.  Public Administrator  17.16
    • C.  Limitation on Right to Revoke Probate  17.17
    • D.  Methods of Contest  17.18
      • 1.  Advantages of Preprobate Versus Postprobate Contests  17.19
      • 2.  Jurisdiction  17.20
      • 3.  Fraud or Misrepresentation  17.21
      • 4.  Probate of Another Will  17.22
      • 5.  Persons Under Disability  17.23
      • 6.  Will Contest or Action Based on Invalidity of Transfer Described in Prob C §21380  17.24
    • E.  Grounds for Direct Contest  17.25
      • 1.  Validity of Will; Burden of Proof  17.26
      • 2.  Compliance With Legal Requirements: Due Execution  17.27
        • a.  Before Probate  17.28
        • b.  After Admission to Probate  17.29
        • c.  Proof of Due Execution
          • (1)  Testimony of Subscribing Witnesses  17.30
          • (2)  Questioned Handwriting  17.31
          • (3)  Punctuation  17.32
      • 3.  Lack of Testamentary Intent  17.33
      • 4.  Revocation  17.34
  • III.  OTHER REMEDIES
    • A.  Actions Without Contest  17.35
    • B.  Declaratory Relief Actions Under Law Applicable to Instruments That Became Irrevocable Before January 1, 2001
      • 1.  Authority to Use Declaratory Relief  17.36
      • 2.  Proper Court to Bring Declaratory Action  17.37
      • 3.  Notice Requirements  17.38
      • 4.  Form: Sample Application for Determination Under Former Prob C §§21320–21322  17.39
      • 5.  Tolling of Statute of Limitations  17.40
    • C.  Determination of Ownership in Spousal and Putative Spousal Arrangements  17.41
    • D.  Actions on Contract to Make Wills
      • 1.  Requirements of Contract to Make Will  17.42
      • 2.  Breach of Agreement  17.42A
        • a.  Oral Agreements
          • (1)  Equitable Estoppel  17.43
          • (2)  Burden of Proof  17.44
        • b.  Enforcement by Third-Party Beneficiaries  17.45
        • c.  Statute of Limitations  17.46
        • d.  Effect on Probate Proceedings  17.47
        • e.  Superior Equities  17.48
      • 3.  Personal Service Contracts
        • a.  Action in Quantum Meruit  17.49
        • b.  Tax Liability  17.50
        • c.  Action for Quasi-Specific Performance  17.51
    • E.  Prenuptial Agreement  17.52
    • F.  Marvin Agreement  17.53
    • G.  Action Against Drafter
      • 1.  Attorney’s Malpractice Liability  17.54
        • a.  Duty of Care  17.54A
        • b.  Standard of Care  17.54B
        • c.  Causation and Damages  17.54C
      • 2.  Lay Person as Drafter  17.55
  • IV.  CONTEST BEFORE PROBATE
    • A.  Contestant’s Pleadings  17.56
      • 1.  Required Allegations  17.57
      • 2.  Issuance and Service of Summons  17.58
      • 3.  Form: Objection to Probate of Will  17.59
      • 4.  Form: Sample Allegation of Undue Influence  17.60
      • 5.  Form: Verification by Declaration  17.61
      • 6.  Form: Summons (Probate) (Judicial Council Form DE125)  17.62
    • B.  Diligent Prosecution and Proponent’s Order to Show Cause  17.63
    • C.  Responsive Pleading  17.64
      • 1.  Preparing Demurrer  17.65
      • 2.  Service of Answer or Demurrer  17.66
      • 3.  Time to Amend or Answer After Ruling on Demurrer  17.67
      • 4.  Form: Notice of Hearing on Demurrer to Objection to Probate of Will  17.68
      • 5.  Form: Demurrer to Objection to Probate of Will  17.69
      • 6.  Form: Notice of Ruling on Demurrer  17.70
      • 7.  Form: Answer to Objection to Probate of Will  17.71
  • V.  CONTEST AFTER PROBATE
    • A.  Time for Filing Petition for Revocation  17.72
    • B.  Parties  17.73
    • C.  Form: Petition for Revocation of Probate of Purported Will  17.74
    • D.  Service of Summons  17.75
    • E.  Demurrer; Answer  17.76
  • VI.  PRETRIAL AND TRIAL PROCEDURES
    • A.  Motions  17.77
    • B.  Trial Procedure  17.78
    • C.  Trial by Court; Order of Proof  17.79
    • D.  Statement of Decision  17.80
    • E.  Judgment and Orders  17.81
    • F.  Costs
      • 1.  Statutory Authority for Payment  17.82
      • 2.  Obtaining Costs  17.83
  • VII.  COMPROMISE AND SETTLEMENT  17.84
    • A.  Settlement Procedures in Will Contests  17.85
    • B.  Settlement Agreement
      • 1.  Contents of Settlement Agreement  17.86
      • 2.  Form: General Release and Release of Rights  17.87
    • C.  Compensation of Attorney  17.88
    • D.  Court Approval of Settlement  17.89
      • 1.  Form: Petition for Approval of Will Contest Settlement Agreement  17.90
      • 2.  Form: Order Approving Will Contest Settlement Agreement  17.91
    • E.  Effect of Compromise  17.92
  • VIII.  INTERVENTION  17.93
  • IX.  APPEAL
    • A.  Scope of Review  17.94
    • B.  Review of Evidence  17.95

18

Proceedings to Determine Entitlement to Estate Distribution

Charles P. Wolff

  • I.  OVERVIEW  18.1
  • II.  APPLICABILITY OF PROB C §11700 PROCEEDING
    • A.  Broad Scope of Statute  18.2
    • B.  Examples of Use of Prob C §11700 Proceedings  18.3
    • C.  Limits on Use of Procedure  18.4
  • III.  WHO MAY PETITION  18.5
    • A.  Personal Representative  18.6
    • B.  Beneficiaries or Persons Otherwise Entitled to Distribution  18.7
    • C.  Persons Who Do Not Have Standing to Petition  18.8
  • IV.  TIME FOR FILING  18.9
  • V.  PROCEDURE
    • A.  Local Rules  18.10
    • B.  Petitioner: File Petition and Obtain Hearing Date
      • 1.  Content of Petition  18.11
      • 2.  Form: Petition for Determination of Entitlement to Estate Distribution  18.12
      • 3.  Assignment of Hearing Date  18.13
      • 4.  Serve Notice  18.14
    • C.  Respondent: File Statement of Interest in Estate
      • 1.  Who May File; Content  18.15
      • 2.  Practical Considerations  18.16
      • 3.  Contents of Statement of Interest  18.16A
      • 4.  Form: Statement of Interest  18.17
    • D.  The Hearing: An Overview  18.18
      • 1.  When to Seek Evidentiary Hearing: Strategic Considerations  18.19
      • 2.  Evidence: Rules of Civil Procedure Apply  18.20
  • VI.  PROVING CLAIMS UNDER PROB C §11700  18.21
    • A.  Litigating Entitlement Claim Based on Will  18.22
      • 1.  Testator’s Words Versus Testator’s Intent  18.23
      • 2.  Statutory Rules of Construction of Language in Instrument  18.24
      • 3.  Some Applicable Rules of Evidence  18.25
      • 4.  Proceedings in Absence of Extrinsic Evidence  18.26
      • 5.  Extrinsic Evidence  18.27
        • a.  Use of Extrinsic Evidence to Resolve Ambiguities  18.28
        • b.  Procedure for Determining Admissibility of Extrinsic Evidence  18.29
        • c.  Issues on Which Extrinsic Evidence Has Been Admitted  18.30
        • d.  Strategic Concerns Involving Use of Extrinsic Evidence  18.31
      • 6.  Reformation  18.31A
    • B.  Litigating Entitlement Claim Not Based on Will  18.32
      • 1.  Intestacy Rights of Heirs of Predeceased Spouse or Domestic Partner  18.33
      • 2.  Intestacy Rights of Omitted Spouse, Domestic Partner, or Child  18.34
      • 3.  Intestacy Rights of Remote Relatives  18.34A
      • 4.  Proof of Issues
        • a.  Issues Involving Relationship to Decedent or Predeceased Spouse or Domestic Partner
          • (1)  Spouse or Domestic Partner  18.35
          • (2)  Putative Spouse
            • (a)  Extent of Rights  18.36
            • (b)  Issues of Proof  18.37
          • (3)  Effect of Annulment, Dissolution, Separation, or Termination of Domestic Partnership  18.38
          • (4)  Child  18.39
          • (5)  Adoptee  18.40
        • b.  Issues Involving Characterization of Property at Issue  18.41
          • (1)  General Characterization Rules  18.42
          • (2)  Tracing  18.43
          • (3)  Rents, Issues, and Profits—Pereira/Van Camp  18.44
          • (4)  Transmutation  18.45
          • (5)  Effect of ERISA on Community Property Determinations  18.46
  • VII.  ORDER DETERMINING ENTITLEMENT
    • A.  Order  18.47
    • B.  Form: Order Determining Entitlement to Estate Distribution  18.48
  • VIII.  ATTORNEY FEES AND COSTS  18.49
  • IX.  EFFECT OF ORDER  18.50
  • X.  CHALLENGING ORDER
    • A.  Appeal  18.51
    • B.  Relief Based on Mistake, Inadvertence, Surprise, or Excusable Neglect  18.52
    • C.  Relief Based on Extrinsic Fraud  18.53

19

Resolving Disputed Property Claims

Maria I. Lawless

  • I.  JURISDICTION
    • A.  Historical Development of Probate Court Jurisdiction  19.1
    • B.  Scope of Prob C §850 Jurisdiction  19.2
    • C.  Concurrent Jurisdiction  19.3
    • D.  Tactical Considerations Arising From Concurrent Jurisdiction  19.3A
  • II.  EXAMPLES OF PROPERTY CLAIMS THAT CAN BE TRIED IN PROBATE PROCEEDINGS  19.4
  • III.  GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS
    • A.  Statutes of Limitation  19.5
    • B.  Impact of No-Contest Clauses  19.6
    • C.  Civil Litigation as Alternative [Deleted]  19.7
    • D.  Summary Determination  19.8
    • E.  Lis Pendens  19.9
  • IV.  PROCEDURE
    • A.  Time and Notice  19.10
    • B.  Response to Prob C §850 Petition  19.11
  • V.  TRIAL  19.12
  • VI.  ORDER AND APPEAL  19.13
  • VII.  FORMS
    • A.  Form: Petition by Third Party Claimant to Determine Ownership of Estate Property  19.14
    • B.  Form: Order Determining Ownership of Estate Property and Transferring Property to Claimant  19.15
    • C.  Form: Petition by Personal Representative to Establish Estate’s Ownership of Property  19.16
    • D.  Form: Order Establishing Estate’s Ownership of Property and Directing Transfer  19.17
    • E.  Form: Objections to Petition by Personal Representative to Determine Ownership of Estate Property  19.18

20

Trust Contests

James A. Barringer

Noël M. Lawrence

  • I.  INTRODUCTION: SIMILARITY TO WILL CONTESTS; NO-CONTEST CLAUSES  20.1
  • II.  GROUNDS FOR ATTACK
    • A.  Lack of Capacity and Similar Issues  20.2
    • B.  Failure to Fund  20.3
    • C.  Interpretation of Terms of Trust  20.4
  • III.  WHO MAY ATTACK
    • A.  Parties  20.5
    • B.  Standing  20.6
    • C.  Guardian Ad Litem  20.7
      • 1.  Virtual or Class Representation  20.8
      • 2.  Adequacy of Representation  20.9
      • 3.  Form: Petition for Appointment of Guardian Ad Litem—Probate (Judicial Council Form DE350/GC100)  20.10
      • 4.  Form: Order Appointing Guardian Ad Litem—Probate (Judicial Council Form DE351/GC101)  20.11
  • IV.  STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
    • A.  After Notification by Trustee  20.12
    • B.  Statute of Limitations When Trustee Notification Not Given  20.13
      • 1.  When Action Based on Trustor Incapacity  20.14
      • 2.  When Action Based on Fraud, Mistake, or Imposition of Constructive Trust  20.15
      • 3.  When Statute May Be Stayed  20.16
    • C.  Transfers to Drafters and Other Disqualified Persons  20.17
    • D.  Laches  20.18
  • V.  FORM OF CHALLENGE
    • A.  Forum  20.18A
      • 1.  Civil Action  20.19
      • 2.  Probate Department Proceedings Under Trust Law  20.20
    • B.  Proceedings Under Trust Law
      • 1.  Contents of Petition  20.21
      • 2.  Notice of Petition  20.22
      • 3.  Court’s Powers Under Trust Law  20.23
    • C.  Equitable Remedies  20.24
      • 1.  Constructive Trusts  20.25
      • 2.  Reformation  20.26
        • a.  Who May Seek  20.27
        • b.  Grounds for Reformation  20.28
        • c.  Use of Extrinsic Evidence  20.29
      • 3.  Rescission  20.30
    • D.  Pleadings
      • 1.  Form: Petition to Determine Validity of Purported Trust and for Imposition of Constructive Trust  20.31
      • 2.  Form: Petition by Beneficiary to Determine Validity of Trust Provision  20.32

21

Breach of Trust

Andrew Zabronsky

  • I.  GROUNDS FOR BREACH OF TRUST
    • A.  Breach of Trust Defined  21.1
    • B.  Duty to Comply With Trust Terms  21.2
      • 1.  Duty to Review Trust Terms  21.3
      • 2.  Change in Circumstances  21.4
      • 3.  Directing Power  21.5
    • C.  Breach of Other Fiduciary Duties  21.6
      • 1.  Duty of Loyalty  21.7
        • a.  Breach by Pressuring Beneficiary  21.8
        • b.  Breach by Secret Profits  21.9
      • 2.  Duty to Avoid Conflicts of Interest  21.10
        • a.  Self-Dealing  21.11
          • (1)  Self-Deposits  21.12
          • (2)  Loans From Trustee to Trust  21.13
          • (3)  Loans to Purchaser of Trust Assets  21.14
          • (4)  Other Kinds of Self-Dealing  21.15
        • b.  Conflicting Personal Interests  21.16
        • c.  Conflicting Duties  21.17
      • 3.  Duty of Impartiality  21.18
      • 4.  Duty of Disclosure  21.19
      • 5.  Duty Not to Delegate  21.20
      • 6.  Duty to Keep Trust Assets Separate  21.21
      • 7.  Duty to Enforce or Defend Claims  21.22
        • a.  Duty to Enforce Claims Against Predecessor Trustee  21.23
          • (1)  Predecessor Trustee Must Give All Trust Assets to Successor  21.24
          • (2)  Breach of Trust by Predecessor Trustee  21.25
        • b.  Duty to Enforce Claims Against Cotrustee  21.26
    • D.  Aiding or Abetting Breach of Trust  21.26A
  • II.  STANDARD OF CARE
    • A.  Prudent Trustee Rule
      • 1.  Standard of Care  21.27
      • 2.  Illustrations of Rule  21.28
      • 3.  More Stringent Standard for Expert Trustee  21.29
      • 4.  Standard May Be Altered by Trustor  21.30
    • B.  Prudent Investor Rule
      • 1.  Uniform Prudent Investor Act  21.31
      • 2.  Compliance With Act
        • a.  Requirement of Reasonable Skill, Care, and Caution  21.32
        • b.  Requirement of Initial Review  21.33
        • c.  Exception to Rule When Trust Terms Control  21.34
      • 3.  Duties Under Act
        • a.  Failure to Invest  21.35
        • b.  Failure to Diversify  21.36
        • c.  Failure to Investigate  21.37
        • d.  Improper Delegation  21.38
        • e.  Retention of Investments  21.39
    • C.  Discretionary Acts
      • 1.  Ordinary Discretion  21.40
      • 2.  Absolute Discretion
        • a.  Absolute Discretion Not Reviewable for Reasonableness  21.41
          • (1)  Fiduciary Principles  21.42
          • (2)  Good Faith  21.43
          • (3)  Purposes of Trust  21.44
        • b.  Absolute Discretion Strictly Construed  21.45
      • 3.  Absolute Discretion When Trustee Is Also Beneficiary  21.46
  • III.  BENEFICIARY’S STANDING TO BRING SUIT
    • A.  Against Trustee  21.46A
    • B.  Against Third Parties  21.46B
  • IV.  EVIDENCE
    • A.  Burden of Proof
      • 1.  Beneficiary Has Initial Burden  21.47
      • 2.  When Trustee Obtains Advantage  21.48
    • B.  Expert Testimony  21.49
    • C.  Presumption Arising From Failure to Maintain Records  21.50
    • D.  Attorney-Client Privilege  21.50A
  • V.  TRUSTEE’S LIABILITY FOR ACTS OF OTHERS
    • A.  Acts of Agents  21.51
    • B.  Acts of Cotrustees  21.52
  • VI.  TRUSTEE’S DEFENSES
    • A.  Exculpatory Clauses  21.53
    • B.  Consent or Affirmance of Beneficiaries  21.54
    • C.  Discharge by Release or Contract  21.55
    • D.  Statute of Limitations
      • 1.  Three Years After Written Report or Discovery  21.56
      • 2.  Three Years After Discovery [Deleted]  21.57
      • 3.  Tolling  21.58
    • E.  Laches  21.59
    • F.  Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel  21.60
      • 1.  Narrow Application of Doctrines  21.61
      • 2.  Extrinsic Fraud Exception  21.62
  • VII.  REMEDIES
    • A.  Remedies Available  21.63
    • B.  Damages  21.64
      • 1.  Requirement of Causation  21.65
      • 2.  Measure of Damages
        • a.  Loss Plus Interest  21.66
        • b.  Disgorgement of Profit Plus Interest  21.66A
        • c.  Appreciation Damages  21.67
        • d.  Offsetting Gains Against Losses  21.68
    • C.  Punitive Damages
      • 1.  Availability  21.69
      • 2.  Requirement of Actual Damages  21.70
    • D.  Denial of Compensation  21.71
    • E.  Attorney Fees
      • 1.  Attorney Fees for Beneficiary
        • a.  From Trustee
          • (1)  Generally Unavailable  21.72
          • (2)  Bad Faith Defense of Contest to Account  21.73
        • b.  From Trust
          • (1)  Common Fund Theory  21.74
          • (2)  Based on Settlor’s Intent  21.75
      • 2.  Attorney Fees for Trustee
        • a.  Successful Defense  21.76
        • b.  Unsuccessful Defense  21.77
        • c.  Mixed Success  21.78
    • F.  Form: Petition for Relief From Breach of Trust  21.79

22

Actions by and Against Trustee

Richard M. Bryan

Caroline K. Hinshaw

  • I.  POWER AND DUTY OF TRUSTEE TO PROSECUTE AND DEFEND ACTIONS
    • A.  Power of Trustee  22.1
    • B.  Duty of Trustee  22.2
      • 1.  Trustee’s Duty to Pursue Claims  22.3
        • a.  Limitations on Duty to Pursue Claim  22.4
        • b.  Document Reasons for Decision  22.5
      • 2.  Trustee’s Duty to Respond to Claims  22.6
        • a.  Consult Trust Instrument  22.7
        • b.  Trustee’s Petition for Instructions  22.8
        • c.  Beneficiaries’ Petition to Compel Trustee to Defend  22.9
  • II.  ACTIONS BY TRUSTEE AGAINST THIRD PERSONS
    • A.  Standing of Trustee  22.10
    • B.  Probate Court Concurrent Jurisdiction  22.11
    • C.  Action to Recover Trust Assets  22.12
  • III.  ACTIONS BY THIRD PERSONS AGAINST TRUST
    • A.  Trustee as Party Defendant  22.13
    • B.  Jurisdiction Over Trust  22.14
    • C.  Forms of Civil Action  22.15
    • D.  Petition Under Probate Code  22.16
      • 1.  Advantages of Petition  22.17
      • 2.  No Jury Trial  22.18
      • 3.  Form: Petition for Order Determining Interest in Property  22.19
      • 4.  Notice of Hearing  22.20
  • IV.  COSTS  22.21
  • V.  LIABILITY OF TRUST PROPERTY VERSUS TRUSTEE’S PERSONAL LIABILITY
    • A.  Trustee Generally Not Liable  22.22
      • 1.  Contracts  22.23
      • 2.  Torts  22.24
      • 3.  Property Ownership  22.25
      • 4.  Negotiable Instruments  22.26
    • B.  Liability of Dissenting Cotrustee  22.27
    • C.  Proceeding to Determine Liability as Between Trust and Trustee  22.28
  • VI.  STATUTORY PROTECTION OF THIRD PERSONS  22.29
    • A.  Assumption of Trustee’s Authority  22.30
    • B.  Trustee’s Application of Property  22.31
    • C.  Transaction With Former Trustee  22.32
    • D.  Trust Omitted From Grant  22.33
    • E.  Beneficiary Undisclosed  22.34
    • F.  Trust Certification  22.35
  • VII.  CLAIMS OF SETTLOR’S CREDITORS
    • A.  Liability of Trust Estate During Settlor’s Lifetime
      • 1.  Revocable Trust  22.36
        • a.  Civil Action  22.37
        • b.  Petition Under Probate Code  22.38
        • c.  Other “Settlors”  22.39
      • 2.  Irrevocable Trust  22.40
        • a.  Spendthrift Provisions Invalid  22.41
        • b.  Enforcement of Money Judgments  22.42
        • c.  Fraudulent Transfers  22.43
    • B.  Liability of Trust Estate After Settlor’s Death
      • 1.  Probate Estate Must Be Exhausted  22.44
      • 2.  Creditor Claim Required Against Estate  22.45
        • a.  Time for Filing Creditor Claim  22.46
        • b.  Action on Rejected Estate Claim  22.47
        • c.  Liability of Distributees of Estate  22.48
      • 3.  Discretionary Trust Claims Procedure  22.49
        • a.  Action on Rejected Trust Claim  22.50
        • b.  Action Against Trustee When No Probate Estate and No Claims Procedure Initiated  22.51
        • c.  Action Against Distributees of Trust  22.52
    • C.  Liability of Trustee for Distribution  22.52A
  • VIII.  CLAIMS OF BENEFICIARIES’ CREDITORS
    • A.  Execution on Spendthrift Trusts and Education or Support Trusts; Discretionary Payments  22.53
    • B.  Procedure for Enforcement of Money Judgment  22.54
    • C.  Form: Petition for Enforcement of Money Judgment  22.55

23

Appeals

Matthew P. Matiasevich

  • I.  INTRODUCTION  23.1
  • II.  CONSIDERATIONS AT THE UNDERLYING HEARING
    • A.  Plan Ahead  23.2
    • B.  Identify the Issues  23.3
    • C.  Preserve Objections  23.4
    • D.  Memorialize Court’s Ruling  23.5
  • III.  CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE FIDUCIARY
    • A.  Duty to Appeal  23.6
    • B.  Duty to Defend  23.7
    • C.  Liability for Relying on Order Before It Is Final  23.8
  • IV.  OVERVIEW OF APPELLATE PROCEDURE
    • A.  Appealable Orders  23.9
    • B.  Standing to Appeal  23.10
    • C.  Filing Timely Notice of Appeal  23.11
      • 1.  Form: Notice of Appeal (Superior Court)  23.12
      • 2.  Filing Fees  23.13
      • 3.  Effect of Posttrial Motions  23.14
    • D.  Designating the Record  23.15
      • 1.  Form: Notice to Prepare Reporter’s Transcript (Appeal From Superior Court)  23.16
      • 2.  Form: Notice to Prepare Clerk’s Transcript  23.17
      • 3.  Form: Request for Correction of Transcript  23.18
      • 4.  Form: Notice of Election to Proceed by Appendix in Lieu of Clerk’s Transcript  23.19
      • 5.  Form: Stipulation Designating Contents of Joint Appendix  23.20
      • 6.  Form: Preliminary Stipulation on Attempt to Prepare Agreed Statement (Cal Rules of Ct 8.134)  23.21
    • E.  Briefs, Calendar Preference, and Oral Argument  23.22
    • F.  Resolution
      • 1.  Opinion and Remittitur  23.23
      • 2.  Petition for Rehearing  23.24
      • 3.  Petition for Review  23.25
    • G.  Attorney Fees on Appeal  23.26
    • H.  Costs  23.27
  • V.  THE STAY OF ENFORCEMENT
    • A.  The Automatic Stay  23.28
    • B.  Exceptions to the Automatic Stay
      • 1.  To Prevent Injury During Pendency of Appeal  23.29
      • 2.  Court Can Require a Bond  23.30
      • 3.  Money Judgments or Orders Directing Payment of Money  23.31
  • VI.  STANDARDS OF REVIEW
    • A.  Importance in the Appellate Process  23.32
    • B.  De Novo Review  23.33
    • C.  Substantial Evidence  23.34
    • D.  Mixed Questions of Law and Fact  23.35
    • E.  Abuse Of Discretion  23.36

 

CALIFORNIA TRUST AND PROBATE LITIGATION

(1st Edition)

March 2018

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

File Name

Book Section

Title

CH03

Chapter 3

Attorney-Client Relations

03-042

§3.42

Form: Variable Contingency Fee Agreement—Will And Trust Contest

CH06A

Chapter 6A

Statutorily Disqualified Donees and Trustees

06A-019

§6A.19

Certificate of Independent Review Under Prob C §21384

06A-031

§6A.31

Form: Will Contest And Grounds For Opposition To Probate Of Purported Will Under Prob C §21380

06A-035

§6A.35

Certificate of Independent Review

06A-039

§6A.39

Petition for Removal of Trustee

CH08

Chapter 8

Remedies Under Elder Abuse Provisions

08-027

§8.27

Allegations of Abuse Showing Applicability of EADACPA Remedies

CH10

Chapter 10

Litigation Tools: An Overview

10-006

§10.6

Sample Caption

10-035

§10.35

Petition for Issuance of Citation Requiring Citee to Appear and Account for Estate Property

10-036

§10.36

Declaration Supporting Petition for Issuance of Citation

10-095

§10.95

Sample Special Interrogatories in Will Contest Proceeding

10-096

§10.96

Sample Requests for Admission in Will Contest Proceeding

10-097

§10.97

Sample Request for Production in Will Contest Proceeding

CH11A

Chapter 11A

Negotiating and Drafting Settlement Agreements

11A-031

§11A.31

Agreement Regarding Tax Consequences

11A-032

§11A.32

Exclusion of Specific Clause

11A-033

§11A.33

Agreement Admissible as Evidence

11A-035

§11A.35

General Release

11A-036

§11A.36

Dismissal of Pending Cases

11A-038

§11A.38

Payment of Each Party’s Legal Fees

11A-039

§11A.39

Disclaimer of Liability

11A-040

§11A.40

Liquidated Damages and Venue

11A-041

§11A.41

Disclosure Acknowledgment

11A-043

§11A.43

Comprehension of Agreement

11A-044

§11A.44

Opportunity to Be Represented by Counsel

11A-045

§11A.45

Integration of Agreement

11A-046

§11A.46

Governing Law

11A-047

§11A.47

Interpretation of Agreement

11A-048

§11A.48

Further Documents

11A-050

§11A.50

Warranty of Capacity to Execute Agreement

11A-051

§11A.51

Authorization to Sign

11A-052

§11A.52

Attorney Fees for Enforcement Proceedings

11A-054

§11A.54

Severability

11A-055

§11A.55

Disputes to Be Mediated

11A-057

§11A.57

Agreement Is Binding on Successors

11A-058

§11A.58

Counterparts

11A-060

§11A.60

Appendix: Sample Mutual General Release And Settlement Agreement

CH13

Chapter 13

Accountings and Surcharge

13-021

§13.21

Petition to Compel Trustee to Account

13-023

§13.23

Order Compelling Trustee to Account

13-034

§13.34

Petition for Order Compelling Personal Representative or Other Named Person to Account

13-036

§13.36

Order Compelling Personal Representative or Other Named Person to Account

13-038

§13.38

Petition for Issuance of Citation Requiring Personal Representative to Appear and Show Cause Why He or She Should Not Be Punished for Contempt

13-052

§13.52

Objections to Account and Request for Surcharge of Fiduciary and Other Remedies

CH14

Chapter 14

Fiduciary Resignation or Removal

14-013

§14.13

Petition for Order Accepting Resignation of Trustee and for Appointment of Successor Trustee or Receiver

14-014

§14.14

Order Accepting Resignation of Trustee and for Appointment of Successor Trustee or Receiver

14-037

§14.37

Petition for Removal of Trustee

14-038

§14.38

Order for Removal of Trustee

14-043

§14.43

Petition for Removal of Representative

14-044

§14.44

Order for Issuance of Citation

14-045

§14.45

Order Removing Representative

CH15

Chapter 15

Actions by and Against Personal Representative

15-027

§15.27

Complaint in Action by Representative

15-034

§15.34

Complaint Against Representative When No Action Pending at Death

15-036

§15.36

Notice of Motion and Motion for Order Substituting Personal Representative as Defendant and for Leave to File Supplemental Complaint

CH16

Chapter 16

Contesting Appointment of Personal Representative

16-023

§16.23

Contest of Appointment of Personal Representative

16-024

§16.24

Order Denying Petition for Appointment of Personal Representative

CH17

Chapter 17

Will Contests

17-003

§17.3

Checklist: Client Information

17-039

§17.39

Sample Application for Determination Under Former Prob C §§21320–21322

17-059

§17.59

Objection to Probate of Will

17-060

§17.60

Sample Allegation of Undue Influence

17-061

§17.61

Verification by Declaration

17-068

§17.68

Notice of Hearing on Demurrer to Objection to Probate of Will

17-069

§17.69

Demurrer to Objection to Probate of Will

17-070

§17.70

Notice of Ruling on Demurrer

17-071

§17.71

Answer to Objection to Probate of Will

17-074

§17.74

Petition for Revocation of Probate of Purported Will

17-087

§17.87

General Release and Release of Rights

17-090

§17.90

Petition for Approval of Will Contest Settlement Agreement

17-091

§17.91

Order Approving Will Contest Settlement Agreement

CH18

Chapter 18

Proceedings to Determine Entitlement to Estate Distribution

18-012

§18.12

Petition for Determination of Entitlement to Estate Distribution

18-017

§18.17

Statement of Interest

18-048

§18.48

Order Determining Entitlement to Estate Distribution

CH19

Chapter 19

Resolving Disputed Property Claims

19-014

§19.14

Petition by Third Party Claimant to Determine Ownership of Estate Property

19-015

§19.15

Order Determining Ownership of Estate Property and Transferring Property to Claimant

19-016

§19.16

Petition by Personal Representative to Establish Estate’s Ownership of Property

19-017

§19.17

Order Establishing Estate’s Ownership of Property and Directing Transfer

19-018

§19.18

Objections to Petition by Personal Representative to Determine Ownership of Estate Property

CH20

Chapter 20

Trust Contests

20-031

§20.31

Petition to Determine Validity of Purported Trust and for Imposition of Constructive Trust

20-032

§20.32

Petition by Beneficiary to Determine Validity of Trust Provision

CH21

Chapter 21

Breach of Trust

21-079

§21.79

Petition for Relief From Breach of Trust

CH22

Chapter 22

Actions by and Against Trustee

22-019

§22.19

Petition for Order Determining Interest in Property

22-055

§22.55

Petition for Enforcement of Money Judgment

CH23

Chapter 23

Appeals

23-012

§23.12

Notice of Appeal (Superior Court)

23-016

§23.16

Notice to Prepare Reporter’s Transcript (Appeal From Superior Court)

23-017

§23.17

Notice to Prepare Clerk’s Transcript

23-018

§23.18

Request for Correction of Transcript

23-019

§23.19

Notice of Election to Proceed by Appendix in Lieu of Clerk’s Transcript

23-020

§23.20

Stipulation Designating Contents of Joint Appendix

23-021

§23.21

Preliminary Stipulation on Attempt to Prepare Agreed Statement (Cal Rules of Ct 8.134)

 

Selected Developments

March 2018 Update

The court in Pizarro v Reynoso (2017) 10 CA5th 172 held that under a court’s equitable power, trustee’s attorney fees and costs may be charged only against the beneficiary’s share of trust. However, parties to an action for breach of trustee’s duties who are not beneficiaries cannot be held personally liable for attorney fees and costs. The court found the reasoning in Rudnick v Rudnick (2009) 179 CA4th 1328 persuasive—a court may charge reasonable and necessary attorney fees to a beneficiary’s share of a trust when that beneficiary instigates an “unfounded proceeding against the trust in bad faith”—and applied it to a situation in which the beneficiary did not bring the action but did take an unfounded position in supporting the petitioner. See §§3.31, 21.76.

When a petitioner seeks the trustee’s removal, the trustee should seek prior approval for payment of attorney fees. When the trust instrument indemnity provisions are silent on interim fees, the court, in determining whether to grant interim fees, must first assess the probability that the trustee will ultimately be entitled to reimbursement of attorney fees and then balance the relative harms to all interests involved in the litigation, including the interests of the trust beneficiaries. People v Shine (2017) 16 CA5th 524. See §§4.17J, 21.76.

A no-contest clause in an underlying document, e.g., a revocable trust, will not apply to future trust amendments unless the amendment specifically refers to the clause. Aviles v Swearingen (2017) 16 CA5th 485. See §§5.10, 5.21.

There is no privilege concerning communications relevant to an issue between parties all of whom claim through the decedent. Evid C §957. However, the §957 exception does not apply to communications when the parties to the litigation have claims against the deceased client’s estate based on inter vivos transactions. DP Pham LLC v Cheadle (2016) 246 CA4th 653. See §§5.43, 10.76.

When counsel is concerned about ERISA preemption, counsel should determine whether the account in question is actually governed by ERISA. When prior to their divorce, a decedent named his former spouse as the beneficiary of his IRA but never removed or reaffirmed the beneficiary designation after their divorce, pursuant to Arizona’s revocation-on-divorce (ROD) statute, the former spouse was not entitled to recovery. Federal IRA laws and regulations did not preempt the operation of Arizona’s ROD statute because the IRA distribution rules governed only how distributions would be treated for tax purposes. These rules did not determine who was entitled to the distributions, and the plan listed the estate as the default beneficiary in the absence of a valid beneficiary designation. Lazar v Kroncke (2017) 862 F3d 1186. See §§5.54, 6A.4.

Stats 2017, ch 56, amended Prob C §§21384 and 21386 to replace the term “gift” with “donative transfer.” The term “donative transfer” includes transfers for no consideration and transfers for unfair or inadequate consideration. The Probate Code creates a presumption of fraud or undue influence when people in a fiduciary relationship with the transferor transcribe or cause to be transcribed an instrument effecting a donative transfer to the person in the fiduciary relationship. See chap 6A.

Any person who has a fiduciary relationship with the transferor and “transcribes” the instrument or “causes it to be transcribed” is a prohibited transferee. Prob C §21380(a)(2). See §§6A.13, 14.28.

To state a claim for financial abuse, the plaintiff must allege that the wrongdoer took, or otherwise mistreated within the meaning of the statute, property of the elder or dependent adult. Welf & I C §15610.30. When the alleged harm occurs to a limited liability company owned by an elder, and not the elder him- or herself, the elder lacks standing to sue for financial abuse. Hilliard v Harbour (2017) 12 CA5th 1006. See §8.5.

A wrongdoer can commit elder financial abuse by taking property indirectly as well as directly. In a recent case, plaintiffs stated a cause of action for financial abuse by alleging that the defendant induced them to transfer money into a trust that then paid out wrongful commissions to the defendant. Moreover, if a wrongdoer deprives an elder or dependent adult of property within the meaning of Welf & I C §15610.30, that wrongdoer can be liable for financial abuse regardless of whether he or she ended up with the property in question. Mahan v Charles W. Chan Ins. Agency, Inc. (2017) 14 CA5th 841. See §8.5.

If an elder is alive but lacks capacity, then an action for elder abuse may be pursued by a representative (such as a conservator, guardian ad litem, or similar representative) on the elder’s behalf. In Tepper v Wilkins (2017) 10 CA5th 1198, the plaintiff, the elder’s adult child, sued for financial elder abuse on behalf of the elder, who was still alive, and alleged that the elder lacked capacity. The court sustained a demurrer because the plaintiff could not allege that she was the elder’s conservator, trustee, or attorney-in-fact. See §8.22.

A successor trustee is generally entitled to discover confidential communications between the predecessor trustee and the predecessor’s attorney that occurred when the predecessor, in its fiduciary capacity, sought the attorney’s advice for guidance in administering the trust. The predecessor fiduciary may be able to protect attorney-client communications by showing that actual and contemporaneous steps were taken to demonstrate that the advice was sought out of concern for personal liability, not for guidance in administering the trust. Fiduciary Trust Int’l v Klein (2017) 9 CA5th 1184. See §10.76.

Stats 2017, ch 131, amends CCP §387, effective January 1, 2018, to require a person wishing to intervene in an ongoing case to petition the court for leave to intervene by noticed motion or ex parte application setting forth grounds for intervention. The statute also specifies other procedural requirements for intervention. See §17.93.

Probate Code §850 provides express statutory authorization for the probate court to resolve disputed property claims that involve third parties who are outsiders to the estate or trust. This statute allows the filing of various petitions to recover property when the dispute involves a conservator or guardian (Prob C §850(a)(1)), the personal representative of a decedent’s estate (Prob C §850(a)(2)), or a trustee (Prob C §850(a)(3)). Under Prob C §851, as amended by Stats 2017, ch 32, a notice of hearing for a Prob C §850 petition must include a description of the disputed property, a description of the relief sought by the petitioner, and a statement that the person receiving the notice has a right to respond. See §19.10.

In Carmack v Reynolds (2017) 2 C5th 844, the California Supreme Court, on certification of a state law question to the Ninth Circuit, held that a creditor is not limited to 25 percent of mandatory trust distributions under Prob C §15306.5. A creditor may recover the entire amount to which a beneficiary is currently entitled under Prob C §15301(b) plus 25 percent of future payments to the extent not needed for education and support under Prob C §15302. See §§22.53, 22.55.

California Rules of Ct 8.104 now provides a different deadline for an appeal from an order denying or compelling arbitration of a claim involving elder abuse, assuming that one of the parties has been granted preference under CCP §36. See Cal Rules of Ct 8.712(b) (reiterating Cal Rules of Ct 8.104(a)(1)(A) and (B) but with a period of 20 days). See §§23.11, 23.12.

About the Authors

DAVID W. BAER is a partner in the San Francisco/Marin County firm of Hanson, Bridgett, Marcus, Vlahos, Rudy LLP, where he has practiced since 1982. He specializes in trust and probate litigation at both the trial and appellate levels. Mr. Baer received his B.A. in 1978 from Reed College and his J.D. in 1981 from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where he was a member of the Thurston Society and the Order of the Coif. Mr. Baer has been a speaker on trust and probate litigation issues to diverse audiences, including trust officers, litigators, and estate planning attorneys. He is a member of the Litigation, Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Probate and Trust Law Sections of the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Estate, Trust, and Probate Law and Mediation sections of the Marin County Bar Association. His reported cases include Sutton v Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transp. Dist. (1998) 68 CA4th 1149 and Lombardo v Huysentruyt (2001) 91 CA4th 656.

JAMES A. BARRINGER is a partner in the San Francisco firm of Barringer & Lawrence, LLP, where he specializes in estate- and trust-related litigation, including appeals, as well as estate planning probate and trust law. He received his B.A. in 1974 from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his J.D. in 1977 from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where he was managing editor of the Hastings Law Journal. Mr. Barringer is a frequent author and speaker on estate planning, estate- and trust-related litigation, and powers of attorney and financial elder abuse for CEB, the Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law Section of the California State Bar, the Northern Trust Bank Trust Forum, and the University of Southern California Probate and Trust Conference. He is a certified specialist in Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Law.

KRISTOFER W. BIORN is a shareholder in the Palo Alto firm of Crist, Biorn, Shepherd & Roskoph, where he specializes in litigation related to estates, trusts, fiduciaries, and elder abuse, and also represents parties in real estate, corporate, and partnership litigation. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Duke University in 1987 and his law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1992. He served as an extern law clerk to the Hon. Eugene F. Lynch, judge of the federal district court for Northern California. Mr. Biorn serves on the Executive Committee for the Silicon Valley Bar Association and as the judicial liaison to the Probate Department of the San Mateo County Superior Court. He also serves on Avidbank’s Board of Directors.

RICHARD M. BRYAN is a shareholder and president of the firm of Bryan, Hinshaw & Barnet in San Francisco, specializing in estate and probate litigation, contract and business litigation, construction law, personal injury, and family law. He received his A.B. with honors in 1960 from the University of California, Berkeley, and his LL.B. in 1963 from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. Mr. Bryan has lectured and written extensively for CEB and other organizations on a wide range of litigation topics. He has been appointed judge pro tem and referee by San Francisco Superior Court in discovery matters, construction disputes, and family law matters. Mr. Bryan is also an associate of the American Board of Trial Advocates, the former chair of the Bar Association of San Francisco, and a delegate to the State Bar of California, Conference of Delegates (1972–1982).

CLARK R. BYAM is a partner in the firm of Hahn & Hahn, Pasadena, where he heads the Probate and Trust Department. Mr. Byam received his B.A. in 1966 from Wesleyan University, Connecticut, and his J.D. in 1972 from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Mr. Byam is a fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and is a current member in the Los Angeles County Bar Association Executive Committee Trusts and Estates Section. Mr. Byam is also a former member and advisor of the State Bar Executive Committee for Sections for Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate.

DOMINIC J. CAMPISI practices primarily in the areas of probate and trust litigation and real estate litigation. He was a founding partner in Evans, Latham & Campisi. He attended the University of Santa Clara, receiving his B.A. in 1966, and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, earning a Master’s in Public Affairs in 1968. He attended Yale Law School where he was an Associate Chubb Fellow and an editor of the Yale Law Journal, and received his J.D. in 1974. He is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and a practitioner academician of the International Academy of Estate and Trust Law. He is a frequent lecturer and author for the San Francisco Bar Association, California State Bar Tax Section, California State Bar Probate Section, ACTEC, American Bankers Association, and various trust companies, as well as CEB, where he was the author of Probate and Trust Litigation (Cal CEB Program Handbook, 1981–1982), and coauthor of Estates and Trust Dispute Resolution and Litigation (Cal CEB Program Handbook, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1994, 1996). Other publications include Courts Change Standards, Trusts and Estates (Jan. 1988); Emerging Damage Claims and the Right to Jury Trials in Fiduciary Litigation, 27 Real Property Probate and Trust Journal 541 (1993); Alternatives to Litigation in Trust and Probate Proceedings, 42 The Arbitration Journal 30 (1987). He is the chairman of the Malpractice Committee and the Interference with Right to Inherit Subcommittee of the Litigation Committee of ACTEC.

MICHAEL G. DESMARAIS is a partner in the firm of Temmerman & Desmarais, LLP, Campbell. Mr. Desmarais received his A.B. in Economics in 1970 from the University of California, Davis, and his J.D. in 1973 from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He also received the Order of the Coif, Thurston Society, Hastings Law Review, American Jurisprudence Estate Planning Award. Admission: 1973, California Supreme Court, U.S. District Court, Northern and Eastern Districts of California, and U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; 1975, U.S. Claims Court; 1984, U.S. Tax Court. Mr. Desmarais is certified as a specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. He is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and chair of the Litigation Subcommittee of the Executive Committee, Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Section of the State Bar of California. He is also a member of the Executive Committee, Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Section of the State Bar of California; Executive Committee, Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Section of the Santa Clara County Bar Association; State Bar of California, Santa Clara County Bar and American Bar Associations; and president of the St. Thomas More Society.

JOHN A. DUNCAN is a sole practitioner in Orange County, specializing in estate and trust litigation. Mr. Duncan received his B.A. from the University of Washington and his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He has been certified as a specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Duncan is a frequent author and lecturer for CEB and other organizations, including the Orange County Bar Association Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law Section, on estate and trust litigation and various estate planning topics. He is a fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and chair of the Orange County Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law Section. He is also a member of the Orange Coast Estate Planning Council and the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association.

CAROLINE K. HINSHAW is a shareholder in the firm of Bryan, Hinshaw & Barnet in San Francisco. Ms. Hinshaw received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and received her J.D. in 1980 from Armstrong College School of Law, where she was the valedictorian. A certified specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law, Ms. Hinshaw has been a speaker and author for CEB, the American Bar Association and the Bar Association of San Francisco.

DAVID G. KNITTER is a partner in the law firm of Knitter & Knitter, LLP in Vacaville. He practices in the area of financial elder abuse, contested conservatorships, and trusts and estates litigation. Mr. Knitter received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin and his law degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the State Bar (TEXCOM) and previously served as president of the Solano County Bar Association.

SHIRLEY L. KOVAR is a shareholder in the San Diego firm of Branton & Wilson, where she practices primarily in the area of trust and probate litigation, including international dispute resolution. She received her B.A. in 1967 from Colorado Woman’s College, her M.A.T. from the University of Kansas in 1969, and her J.D. in 1974 from the University of Kansas Law School, where she was editor-in-chief of the Kansas Law Review, Order of the Coif, and received the Samuel Mellinger award for Leadership, Scholarship and Service, and the award as Outstanding Woman in Academics for all graduate schools at the University of Kansas in 1974. She is a certified specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law by the State Bar of California and a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, where she serves on the Fiduciary Litigation Committee and International Estate Planning Committee. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the State Bar of California, where she is vice-chair of the Litigation Committee. She is a frequent author and lecturer in the areas of trust and probate litigation and dispute resolution. Her reported cases include California First Bank v Townsend (1981) 124 CA3d 922.

JAMES P. LAMPING is a sole practitioner in San Francisco. He is certified as a specialist in estate planning, trust, and probate law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Lamping focuses his practice on estate planning, trust administration, probate, and litigation. He obtained his law degree and LL.M in taxation from the University of San Diego School of Law. He is a former member and advisor of the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the State Bar of California (TEXCOM). Mr. Lamping has written and contributed materials to several chapters in CEB’s California Trust Administration practice guide.

THOMAS W. LATHAM has been in private practice since 1974 and was a founding partner in Evans, Latham & Campisi. He received his B.S. with honors in 1964 from the California Institute of Technology, an M.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1966, and an M.P.A. from Princeton University in 1968. He attended Georgetown University, receiving his J.D. in 1973. Mr. Latham is the coauthor of a number of articles on fiduciary litigation and estate administration. Appointed judge pro tem of San Francisco Superior Court in the Bar Association-sponsored volunteer program, he is a member of the National College of Probate Judges and the American Bar Association Estate and Trust Litigation Committee. He is active in alternate dispute resolution and is a member of the San Francisco Probate Department Pro Bono Mediation Panel and the Bar Association of San Francisco Early Settlement Program. He was also a State Bar of California delegate (State Bar Convention, 1975–1977). He practices primarily in the fields of trust and probate litigation, real estate litigation, and business law and litigation.

MARIA I. LAWLESS practices primarily in the areas of probate and trust litigation. She attended the University of San Francisco, receiving her B.A., cum laude, in 1986. She received her J.D. in 1990 from the University of California, Davis, School of Law, where she was a member of the Trial Practice Honors Board and a Moot Court participant. She was a member of the University of California Davis Law Review. Additionally, she is a member of the San Francisco Probate Department Pro Bono Mediation Panel. Her reported cases include Borelli v Brusseau (1993) 12 CA4th 647.

NOËL M. LAWRENCE is a partner in the San Francisco firm of Barringer & Lawrence, LLP, where she specializes in estate and trust litigation, as well as estate planning probate and trust law. Ms. Lawrence received her A.B. degree, with distinction, from the University of California, Berkeley, and her J.D. degree, cum laude, from the University of San Francisco, where she was president of the McAuliff Honor Society and managing editor of the University of San Francisco Law Review. She is certified as a specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law by the California State Bar Association Board of Legal Specialization. Ms. Lawrence is a frequent author and speaker on estate planning and estate- and trust-related litigation for CEB, the Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law Section of the California State Bar, the Northern Trust Bank Trust Forum, and the University of Southern California Probate and Trust Conference. She founded and chairs the Litigation Subcommittee of the Probate and Trust Law Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco.

NANCY M. LEVIN practices in San Francisco in the areas of probate and trust administration and litigation and real estate law. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1969 and her J.D. in 1973 from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Before joining Evans, Latham & Campisi in 1989, she worked at Solano County Legal Assistance and was the directing attorney from 1976 until 1981. Ms. Levin has written several articles for the CEB Real Property Law Reporter. Her reported cases include Alliance Mortgage Co. v Rothwell (1995) 10 C4th 1226 and Bonnette v California Health & Welfare Agency (ND Cal 1981) 525 F Supp 128. She became a shareholder of Evans, Latham & Campisi in 1999.

MATTHEW P. MATIASEVICH practices in San Francisco, specializing in trust and estate litigation. He received his B.A. from Stanford University in 1989 and his J.D. from the University of California, Davis, School of Law in 1993. He joined Evans, Latham & Campisi in 1997 and became a shareholder in 2003. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the State Bar (TEXCOM), where he is a co-chair of the Litigation Subcommitee, and he is a past chair of the Litigation, Ethics and Malpractice Group for the Trust and Estate Law section of the American Bar Association. He has coauthored several updates of this book, and his reported cases include Conservatorship of Coombs (1998) 67 CA4th 1395.

MICHAEL B. McNAUGHTON is a partner in the San Francisco law firm of Hanson, Bridgett, Marcus, Vlahos & Rudy LLP. He has a general commercial litigation practice with an emphasis in trust and probate litigation at the trial and appellate level. He also practices in the area of business and real estate litigation. He has tried several will contests and has written on that subject for the California Trusts and Estates Quarterly, a publication of the State Bar of California Trusts and Estates Section. Mr. McNaughton is a 1993 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif. He is on the board of the Lawyers’ Club of San Francisco and a member of the Edward J. McFetridge Chapter of the American Inn of Court.

STELLA PANTAZIS is a senior court staff attorney with the San Francisco Superior Court, Probate Court. She graduated from the University of San Francisco in 1981 with a B.A. degree and received a J.D. degree from the University of San Francisco, Kendrick Hall School of Law, in 1984. Ms. Pantazis is a frequent speaker on legal education topics and has appeared on numerous estate, trust, and elder law programs for CEB, the Bar Association of San Francisco, and other professional groups. She has served as a consultant to the 1996 update of the CEB publication California Elder Law: An Advocate’s Guide, and has authored the “Duties of Guardians” pamphlet that is distributed to newly appointed guardians in the San Francisco Superior Court. She actively participates in the annual revisions of the San Francisco Local Rules for the Probate Court as an editor and drafter of new sections. Ms. Pantazis also serves as a mediator for the Pro Bono Estate and Trust Litigation Mediation Panel for the San Francisco Superior Court.

MARC L. SALLUS, of the firm Weinstock, Manion, Reisman, Shore & Neumann, A Law Corporation, Los Angeles, specializes in probate and trust litigation. Mr. Sallus received a B.A., cum laude, from Claremont Men’s College in 1976, and a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1979. Mr. Sallus is an officer of the Probate Section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and a member of CEB’s Advisory Probate Subcommittee.

IRENE L. SILVERMAN practiced in Los Angeles, specializing in elder law, health care and elder abuse litigation, probate and trust litigation, trust and probate law, estate planning, and conservatorships and guardianships. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles, and her J.D., magna cum laude, in 1970 from the University of San Fernando Valley College of Law. Ms. Silverman was the author of numerous articles relating to legal aspects of health care, probate and conservatorships, dementia, and elder abuse litigation. She was also a frequent speaker for senior health care providers, health care professionals, and legal professionals, including UCLA, USC, Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, Century City Hospital, community mental health organizations, senior care facilities, and Alzheimer’s organizations. Ms. Silverman was the chair of the Trust and Estate Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and is a member of the Beverly Hills Bar Association (Probate and Trust Section), the American Bar Association (Probate, Real Property and Trust Sections), and the State Bar of California (Probate and Trust Section). Ms. Silverman has been certified as a specialist in Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

CHARLES P. WOLFF is a 1977 cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, and received a B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1974. He has been a business litigator his entire career and has specialized in probate and trust litigation since coming to Evans, Latham & Campisi in 1985. Currently, he serves as co-chair of the Litigation Subcommittee of the Probate and Trust Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco. He has spoken on topics of interest to estate planners and litigators in the Bay Area and participated in the formation of the Pro Bono Mediation Panel of the San Francisco Probate Department. His reported cases include Alliance Mortgage Co. v Rothwell (1995) 10 C4th 1226, Creighton Univ. v Kleinfeld (ED Cal 1995) 919 F Supp 1421, and Roberts v Elaine Powers Figure Salons, Inc. (9th Cir 1983) 708 F2d 1476.

ANDREW ZABRONSKY practices primarily in the area of trust and estate litigation. He obtained his B.A. from Union College in 1980 and his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1984. He joined Evans, Latham & Campisi, in 1994 and became a shareholder in 1998. He is an active participant in the San Francisco Probate Department Pro Bono Mediation Panel. He is the author of Out-of-State Practitioners in Our Midst? The Impact of Birbrower and Estate of Condon, California Trusts and Estates Quarterly (1998). His reported cases include Estate of Condon (1998) 65 CA4th 1138; Conservatorship of Coombs (1998) 67 CA4th 1395; and Andrews v United Airlines (9th Cir 1994) 24 F3d 39.

About the 2018 Update Authors

NAZNIN CHALLA, update coauthor, practices in San Francisco and specializes in trust and estate litigation. She received her J.D. degree from Golden Gate University School of Law in 2002 and her L.L.M. in Taxation from Golden Gate University School of Law in 2008. Ms. Challa joined Evans, Latham & Campisi in 2003. In addition to lecturing at several trust and estate litigation seminars, she coauthored articles on fiduciary litigation and bioethics. Ms. Challa coauthored updates of this book in 2006 and 2007.

DAVID G. KNITTER, update author for chapter 4; see biography in the About the Authors section of this book.

MATTHEW P. MATIASEVICH, update coauthor; see biography in the About the Authors section of this book.

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