Courts and the Probate impose limits on who has the ability to sue to respect the administration and wishes will-makers
Beverly Hills, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/15/2020 --In the last post from Kushner Legal, West Hollywood estate lawyer Lars Kushner looked at the ability of a disinherited beneficiary to challenge a trust. For more, go to https://kushnerlegal.com/ability-of-disinherited-beneficiaries-to-challenge-a-trust-part-2/
The article specifically looked the decision of The California Supreme Court in the case of Barefoot v. Jennings in which the defense argued that allowing a beneficiary whose interest was terminated to sue, would "invite chaos" and permit disinterested parties (meaning parties with no legal interest) to "meddle" in the administration of the trust.
The court did not accede to the argument raised by the defendants and made the following comments regarding the interpretation of the Probate Code:
Indeed, the probate court is given broad jurisdiction " 'over practically all controversies that might arise between the trustees and those claiming to be beneficiaries of the trust.' "
(Id. at p. 765, quoting Estate of Marre, supra, 18 Cal.2d at p. 187.) Using such discretion, the court can preserve trust assets and the rights of all purported beneficiaries while it adjudicates the standing issue. As one court explained, interpreting section 17200 as we do here "not only makes sense as a matter of judicial economy, but it also recognizes the probate court's inherent power to decide all incidental issues necessary to carry out its express powers to supervise the administration of the trust."
(Estate of Heggstad, supra, 16 Cal.App.4th at p. 951.)3
The court also noted that the ruling, in this case, was limited in scope as the Plaintiff was not challenging the transfer of property in or out of the Trust but was rather seeking to have their beneficiary status restored. The challenge of property transfers by a disinherited plaintiff was viewed as a separate legal issue.
For those involved in estate litigation or those seeking to challenge a will or trust, the team at Kushner Legal estate lawyers on behalf of various parties, including named beneficiaries under a will who seek to protect their inheritance, unnamed beneficiaries who have been wrongly left out of a will or trust.Contact Kushner Legal today to schedule a consultation.
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