Pre-Death Contest

There was an interesting Appellate Court decision published recently regarding California probate litigation, Drake v. Pinkham.  In that case, there was litigation concerning the mother’s trust during the mother’s lifetime.  After the mother died, one daughter tried to contest the validity of the last two amendments to the mother’s trust.  The court held that she was aware of those amendments during her mother’s life and should have contested them during her mother’s life.  Therefore, they did not allow her to contest the two amendments after her mother’s death. I disagree with the analysis in this decision.  It may go up to the California Supreme Court for review.  But, whether or not I agree with it, it is instructive because it points out the problems involved with filing estate litigation while the parent is still alive. In the Pinkham case, in litigation during mother’s life, the daughter alleged that the mother…
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The Adult Child Who Stayed Home

I have handled many cases involving an adult child who stayed home, or came back home, and cared for the elderly parent. Often, that child receives a larger inheritance share that the other children, and sometimes also receives of lifetime gifts. That situation often leads to litigation. I find these cases fascinating both from a psychological perspective. The child who stayed home always feels that they are entitled to receive more than the other children. They make the argument that they sacrificed career and social alternatives, and provided care for the elderly parent without pay. The other children, who raised families and pursued careers, argue that the child who stayed home was a freeloader, and did not provide good care. They argue that the motivation for the child staying home or moving back in was not out of devotion to the parent, but was instead the attraction of free room…
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