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Mar 7, 2020 by |

California and Alameda County Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys: California Supreme Court Says Disinherited Beneficiaries Have Standing In Trust Contests

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Challenging Invalid Trusts and Trust Amendments

Trusts, Trust Amendments, And Financial Elder Abuse Schemes

Persons Disinherited By Allegedly Invalid Amendments Can Sue

California law is now clear that a person disinherited by a trust amendment has standing to challenge the validity of that amendment in Probate Court. In a recent ruling in Barefoot v. Jennings, the California Supreme Court expressly held that “the Probate Code grants standing in probate courts to individuals who claim that trust amendments eliminating their beneficiary status arose from incompetence, undue influence, or fraud”).  Barefoot v. Jennings, Case No. S251574, (California Supreme Court, Jan. 23, 2020), at *1.  This is a landmark decision supporting the rights of persons disinherited by trust amendments to challenge those amendments.  A 120-day time limitation typically applies apply to such challenges (after the settlor’s death), so consult counsel immediately in any such situation. Cal. Probate Code § 16061.7.

The California financial elder abuse litigators at Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent individuals challenging Wills and Trusts on the basis of fraud or undue influence particularly where those instruments have been orchestrated by a caregiver, sibling, girlfriend or boyfriend, second spouse, or other person to take over an estate and cut family members out.  Often, these amendments are part of a larger financial elder abuse scheme preying on a failing senior.  If you or a loved one has suffered this kind of loss or other form of financial elder abuse in Alameda County or elsewhere in California, call us today at (415)441-8669, and we can help.

In reaching its decision, the California Supreme Court noted “the public interest in preventing the administration of trust property that is procured through fraud or undue influence.” Barefoot, supra, at *7n.3.   Consequently, according to the Court, “when a plaintiff claims to be a rightful beneficiary of a trust if challenged amendments are deemed invalid, she has standing to petition the probate court” to declare the amendments invalid. Id. at *6.  Barefoot supports the right of family members disinherited by potentially invalid trust amendments to challenge the validity of documents that a senior may be coerced or exerted to sign when they are failing and really unaware of what they are doing.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has been a victim of financial elder abuse or a breach of fiduciary duty by a caregiver, spouse or other party by an invalid trust arrangement in San Francisco, Alameda County or elsewhere in California or, contact Ingrid M. Evans and the other Evans Law Firm trusts and financial elder abuse attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>. Our attorneys have experience with complex securities cases, arbitrations, and mediations; and complicated financial contracts and large insurance companies.  We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement.  We also handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, other types of qui tam and whistleblower cases, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.

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