Trusts and Estates

Ca. Trs. & Estates Quarterly 2020, Volume 26, Issue 2


By Carlena L. Tapella, Esq.,* and Thomas W. Shaver, Esq.**

The Quarterly Board welcomes its readers back to another issue. This issue will be a keeper for our Section members whose practice includes probate and trust litigation. It includes a number of articles addressing current cases and significant evolving issues in litigation law and practice.

This issue begins with an article by Denise Chambliss and James Cummins on the recent case of Smith v. Szeyller. The authors discuss the facts of that case that led to an award of attorneys’ fees when the litigation produced no financial benefit. That review is placed in the context of a larger review of the applicable equitable and statutory grounds for seeking a court award of fees.

Transmutation by deed in California is a risky business. Rosemary La Puma and Andrea Kushner discuss the reliance on form of title evidence in the recent cases of In re Marriage of Kushesh & Kushesh-Kaviani and In re Marriage of Begian & Sarajian, and how the findings in those cases create uncertainty in existing case law and public policy supporting transmutation. The article concludes with thoughtful approaches to the drafting and execution of transmutation agreements to ensure their enforceability.

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