Trusts and Estates

Ca. Trs. & Estates Quarterly 2023, VOLUME 29, ISSUE 3

BRESLIN V. BRESLIN: DOES THE "SEAMLESS FABRIC" NEED TAILORING?

Written by Judge Glen M. Reiser (Ret.)* and Bruce S. Ross, Esq.**

I. SYNOPSIS

Declaring the contested trust proceeding under review "made from the seamless fabric of probate and mediation law," the Second District of the California Court of Appeal in Breslin v. Breslin recently ruled that prospective beneficiaries under a trust, the validity of which is in dispute, who are given notice of a court-ordered mediation and elect not to participate, are bound by the results of the mediation.1

This article will discuss the implications of the Breslin decision and the decision in Smith v. Szeyller,2 on which the Breslin court relies, and ask whether the potentially drastic impact of these cases upon the potential claims of non-participants offends a non-participant’s right to due process of law, and whether Breslin unnecessarily expands the power of the courts to compel alternative dispute resolution over attorney objection as California courts struggle to effectively manage ever-increasing caseloads.

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