Trusts and Estates

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

Inside this Issue:

Denise E. Chambliss, Esq. and James R. Cummins, Esq.
Smith v. Szeyller: Probate Court Authority for Attorneys’ Fee Award Under the Substantial Benefit Doctrine for Successful Beneficiaries…………………………………………………………………….6
This article analyzes the holding in the recent case of Smith v. Szeyller and equitable fee recovery doctrines, including the use of the "substantial benefit doctrine" as a basis for an attorneys’ fee award when the successful result is a non-monetary benefit to the beneficiaries. This article also addresses two statutory fee recovery grounds available to beneficiaries challenging the actions of a trustee.

Rosemary B. La Puma, Esq. and Andrea L. Kushner, Esq.
Transmutation by Deed in California Is a Risky Business…………14
The authors discuss two recent California cases that determined the validity of transmutations based on the form of title on a real property deed. These new cases have created uncertainty for estate planners. The article concludes with suggestions for estate planners to avoid testifying at their clients’ divorce trial or responding to a malpractice claim when transmuting real property as part of an estate plan.

Anne M. Rudolph and Ralph E. Hughes
California’s Statutory Will Needs an Update to Keep Up with Duke……………………………………………………………………….23
California’s statutory will needs to be updated. The authors discuss errors in completing the statutory form that are real and not small, and discuss the implications of the recent case of Estate of Duke to those potential errors.

Scott A. Fraser and Ryan D. Cunningham
Now What? Enforcement and Collection of a Surcharge Order …29
This article reviews enforcement of judgments obtained in probate proceedings and specific enforcement procedures for both trust and estate attorneys and attorneys in other practice areas. The authors guide practitioners in developing an enforcement strategy for a surcharge order at the earliest stage with those procedures firmly in mind.

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