Trust on Trial

California Trust and Estate Litigation

Another day, another decision by the California Court of Appeal making it more difficult for residential care facilities for the elderly (“RCFEs”) to enforce their arbitration agreements.
Upon admission to virtually any RCFE, a new resident will be asked to sign a stack of documents including an agreement to submit any future dispute to arbitration.  Most RCFEs, understandably, would prefer

The First District Court of Appeal recently joined the widening chasm amongst California appellate courts concerning trust modification procedure. Probate Code section 15402 is seemingly straightforward, consisting of a lone sentence: “Unless the trust instrument provides otherwise, if a trust is revocable by the settlor, the settlor may modify the trust by the procedure for revocation.” As noted in prior

California law is surprisingly unclear as to whether the notes of an estate planning attorney are protected from discovery by the attorney work product doctrine.  This can become a big issue in a will or trust contest when the attorney’s files may contain pivotal evidence as to the client’s intent, mental capacity and/or vulnerability to undue influence.
In a recent

We wrote last July about a draft California ethics opinion regarding clients who may have diminished mental capacity.
After receiving public comment, the State Bar’s Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct has now finalized Formal Opinion Number 2021-207, which is close in content to the earlier opinion.
Opinion Number 2021-207 is useful resource for all California lawyers who

Recent decisions by the California Court of Appeal have heaped stress on the owners/operators of residential care facilities for the elderly (“RCFEs”).
RCFEs, like other businesses, would prefer avoid the court system and jury trials by obtaining residents’ consent to the arbitration of any disputes that might arise. But as California appellate courts are making ever more clear, it’s one