Beneficiaries of an inter vivos trust filed a petition to remove the trustee, alleging that that the trustee mismanaged assets and charged excessive fees both as trustee and as the property manager of the trust's major asset, a 14-unit apartment building. Issues included whether the trustee had filed accountings that satisfied Prob. Code, §§ 16062, 16063, had failed to diversify trust assets in violation of the Uniform Prudent Investor Act, (Prob. Code, §§ 16045, et seq.), and had received excessive compensation.
Conservator of husband’s estate brought an action against husband’s wife to recover estate property. Probate court found that wife had breached her fiduciary duty and exercised undue influence over husband, who had been diagnosed with dementia, by having him sign a quitclaim deed transferring to her his interest in their residence which they owned as joint tenants. Issues included: (1) whether the transfer of the property, which was community property, severed the joint tenancy and made husband and wife joint tenants; (2) whether, for his interest as tenant in common, husband was entitled to half of the proceeds wife received when she subsequently sold the property; and (3) whether husband was also entitled to half of wife’s interest as damages for her breach of fiduciary duty under Fam. Code, § 1101, subd. (g).
Following the filing of a petition to probate the decedent’s holographic will, which purported to make a friend of decedent the administrator of decedent’s estate and sole residual legatee, decedent’s cousin filed an objection seeking to invalidate the will. Primary issue was whether, under the applicable rules of interpretation, the will was sufficiently definite in its terms to make the decedent’s friend the sole residual legatee.
Decedent’s daughter filed a petition under Prob. Code, § 17200 to challenge a trust and various amendments created by her mother shortly before her death at age 94, and to impose a constructive trust on the estate. The final amendments to the trust disinherited the daughter in favor of two granddaughters. Issues included whether the daughter had standing to challenge the trust and the amendments, whether the decedent had the mental capacity to execute the trust and amendments, and whether the granddaughters had exerted undue influence on decedent.
Claimant filed a petition to determine the existence of a trust under Prob. Code, § 17200. Issues included whether parol evidence could be considered to establish the existence of a trust where there was no showing the trust document was lost, and whether the evidence was sufficient to establish the terms of the trust and the nature and quantity of each beneficiary's interest.
Hon. Thomas L. Willhite, Jr. (Ret.)
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