Home > Uncategorized > >New Cal. Trust Case Summary Lickter v. Lickter

>New Cal. Trust Case Summary Lickter v. Lickter

>Lickter v. Lickter (California Court of Appeal, Third District, C061782, Oct. 27, 2010)
Dave Tate, Esq.

The grandchildren of a decedent lacked standing to pursue an elder abuse action as the decedent’s successors in interest because they lacked any interest in her estate that could be benefited or impaired by the action. The grandchildren petitioners were trust beneficiaries of specific monetary bequests which had already been paid.

Petitioners argued they had standing as interested persons under Cal. Welfare & Institutions Code §15657.3(d)(2) because they were beneficiaries of decedent’s trust. The court found that just because petitioners were beneficiaries of decedent’s trust did not make them “interested persons” for purposes of pursuing an elder abuse action. To be an “interested person” for purposes of instituting a proceeding under Cal. Prob. Code §48 — and, by extension, under §15657.3(d) — the person must have an interest that may be impaired, defeated, or benefited by the proceeding. Petitioners were former beneficiaries of decedent’s trust only, as they already had been paid the amounts they were owed under the trust. Thus, petitioners no longer had an interest that could be “impaired, defeated, or benefited” by their legal action.

The court also upheld summary judgment against petitioners on their Cal. Prob. Code §259 claim. Pursuant to §259 a person may be deemed to have predeceased a decedent person where it has been proven by clear and convincing evidence that the person is liable for physical abuse, neglect, or fiduciary abuse of the decedent, the person is found to have acted in bad faith, and the person has been found to have been reckless, oppressive, fraudulent, or malicious in the commission of any of these acts upon the decedent. Petitioners argued that they would have standing as beneficiaries under the trust provisions if it was deemed that the alleged abusers, who were also variously remainder beneficiaries, predeceased the decedent. The court held that as a matter of law the petitioners failed to provide sufficient undisputed evidence in support of their Cal. Prob. Code §259 claim.


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