This course reviews your rights and options when dealing with no contest clauses in California. Under existing law, California no contest clauses only apply to direct contests filed without probable cause, to a pleading that challenges the transfer of property and to the filing of a creditor’s claim.
The lesson discusses a hypothetical situation in which a mother created an irrevocable trust that left her estate equally to her three children. The next year, the woman started showing signs of dementia and could no longer drive or handle her financial affairs. One daughter started helping her mother pay her bills and go to doctor’s appointments. Around the same time, a son moved back into the house with his mother because he had lost his job. The daughter noticed that money was being withdrawn from their mother’s bank account and confronted her brother, who became defensive. The brother eventually said his sister was no longer welcome in their mother’s home and took over their mother’s finances. After their mother died, it was discovered that the mother’s trust had been amended to benefit the one brother. The trust amendment contains a no contest clause, depriving the other children of any inheritance if they challenged the trust. The lesson underscores the importance of hiring an experienced lawyer who understands California trusts and estates law and knows how the law applies in various situations.
In this lesson, Keith and Stewart discuss the options the other siblings have to fight for their inheritance. Among the options are filing a petition with the California probate court alleging that the trust amendment is invalid due to undue influence, filing a trust contest alleging lack of capacity or filing a civil lawsuit claiming the brother engaged in elder abuse. They discuss what constitutes elder financial abuse and explain how probable cause can be used as a defense against a no contest clause.
View The Full Course On California No Contest Clauses