Tortious Interference with Expectation of Inheritance
Our San Francisco Probate Litigation Attorneys Uphold the Final Wishes of Your Loved One
With more than 30 years of experience practicing probate litigation, attorney Charles Triay works on behalf of those who believe they did not receive what a deceased loved one left them due to tortious interference with inheritance. In 2012, California became the 26th state in the United States to adopt the tort of Intentional Interference with Expectation of Inheritance, also known as IIEI.
With recognition by the Fourth Appellate District, this tort affords individuals an opportunity to pursue legal action if another party uses fraud or other tortious method to prevent them from obtaining an inheritance they would have otherwise gained. Our law firm can help determine if your case has the five elements essential in an IIEI, described below. We can also tell you if you qualify as an eligible plaintiff.
What are the Five Elements of an Intentional Interference with Expectation of Inheritance?
To have an IIEI claim, the court examines several factors when determining the validity of tortious, or wrongful, conduct. The five elements you must allege are:
- The existence of an expectancy. If another party was able to use fraud or another method of tortious interference to change a will and it revoked your inheritance, or if they prevented the establishment of a legal document and the deceased died in intestate, you must be able to prove that, prior to this interference, you had an expectancy to act as a beneficiary. Examples to prove this expectancy may include an earlier will, a draft or written intention from a testator. You can also show that the other party was aware of your previous inclusion.
- The other party was intentional when interfering with this expectancy. Negligence or a breach in duty is often not enough to prove that the other party intentionally conducted themselves to interfere with your ability to receive inheritance. It can be difficult to prove what the state of mind of the defendant was when interfering.
- How they interfered was tortious in nature. Tortious acts include the other party committing fraud, defamation or a breach of fiduciary duty as well as suppressing, forging or altering a document or will in any way that affects what the deceased is or is not bequeathing to beneficiaries.
- You would have received the inheritance or gift without the interference. You must demonstrate to the court that the other party aimed their tortious actions at the testator, or person who created the will. This then caused interference with the final wishes and true intent of the will or document.
- There are damages in the case. Damages in an IIEI case can include the value of the property you may have received if the interference had not occurred. Also available to those pursuing a tortious interference with inheritance claims are consequential and punitive damages.
Learn More About Tortious Interference with Inheritance
The Triay Law Office is here to assist clients dealing with the complex legal issues that can arise in an IIEI claim. By providing cost-effective legal representation, we have helped hundreds of individuals in Northern California pursue matters, such as undue influence and probate litigation. Please speak with our San Francisco probate litigation lawyers for more information about your legal rights.