Beneficiaries cannot be bound by an arbitration clause in testamentary trust documents. In Diaz v. Bukey, the California Court of Appeal affirmed a probate court ruling that denied a trustee’s motion to require a beneficiary to arbitrate a petition to remove the trustee. The trustee’s motion was premised
A testamentary trust is a common estate planning device. To fund the trust, the person establishing the trust must transfer his or her assets to the trustee of the trust. In a recent case, Kucker v. Kucker, the California Court of Appeal discussed the level of specificity required to make such a transfer effect with… read more
A common problem faced by a successor trustee administering a testamentary trust is determining how to satisfy trust provisions requiring the payment of specific amounts to trust beneficiaries. It is not unusual for a trust to be short on cash, but to own significant amounts of property. In Estate of Cairns, the California Court of… read more
Over the past 20 years, approximately half of the states have recognized a cause of action for tortious interference with an expected inheritance. California has not. In Munn v. Briggs, the California Court of Appeal declined to recognize the claim where California probate law provided a remedy to the party seeking to assert the claim.
Trust beneficiaries who act in bad faith to delay the legitimate administration of the trust may find themselves funding the trust’s attorney’s fees and court costs. In Rudnick v. Rudnick, the California Court of Appeal held that the probate court has the equitable power to require trust beneficiaries who use the courts to delay administration… read more
Most estate planning trusts contain a provision providing that if a beneficiary contests the trust, that beneficiary is deemed to have died before the trustor. Under such circumstances, the beneficiary loses any right to receive any benefits from the trust. This type of provision is known as a “no contest” clause and will generally be… read more