Trusts & Estates Bulletin

A Compendium of Recent Cases

  Brought to you by LACBA's Trusts & Estates Section   *  Volume II, Number 5 * September, 2006  *  Contact Us  *  Join the T & E Section  *  Archived Issues


Trusts & Estates Bulletin is published monthly by the Trusts & Estates Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA).

David C. Nelson,
Loeb & Loeb LLP, Editor


(Cases appear in chronological order, with the oldest cases appearing first.) 

-Family Law-
Where appellate court affirmed finding that writing constituted transmutation of husband's property to wife but remanded case saying husband was precluded from presenting evidence to the effect that he was under duress when he signed the writing, so the matter must be remanded to give him an opportunity to present his evidence and to make his arguments concerning the enforceability of the otherwise valid transmutation, husband was not limited on remand to presenting evidence of duress, but could present any evidence regarding enforceability of the transmutation. Evidence supported finding that wife did not overcome presumption that transmutation of property was gained through undue influence, and supported finding that writing was made under duress where evidence showed that wife threatened husband with divorce and the obstruction of his relationship with their children if he did not prepare the writing of transmutation, harangued and berated husband during the marriage in an effort to force him to modify the parties' prenuptial agreement to provide more security for her, which berating included several incidents where wife physically struck husband, and wife screamed at husband for at least 45 minutes immediately preceding his writing the transmutation, which screaming included threats of divorce and obstructing husband's relationship with the minor children if he did not make the writing, husband reasonably believed wife's threats, and that she intended to follow through with her threats. Trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing testimony in court trial of wife's former attorney regarding public incident for the purpose of impeaching wife's assertion that she had no temper. Court did not abuse discretion in admitting transcript of tape recording—made by husband's answering machine when son called him, but failed to hang up the phone--on which wife was heard swearing at the children, telling son he could not talk to his father, threatened not to let the daughter go to her father's house the next day, and purportedly showed that wife was yelling at them, for the limited purpose of impeaching wife's testimony that she never yelled at the children; never used profanities when addressing the children; and never interfered with their seeing their father. Even if admission of stipulation that wife hit husband in front of children constituted error, it was not reversible error where husband testified that wife struck him several times. A trial court need not discuss each question listed in a party's request for a statement of decision; all that is required is an explanation of the factual and legal basis of the court's decision regarding the principal controverted issues at trial as were listed in the request.
In re Marriage of Balcof - filed August 15, 2006, Fourth District, Div. Three
Cite as 2006 SOS 4248
Full text 

  -Trusts and Estates-
When an unrelated person renders substantial, ongoing health services to a dependent adult, that person may be a care custodian for purposes of statutory scheme that presumptively disqualifies care custodians as beneficiaries of testamentary transfers from dependent adults to whom they provide such services, notwithstanding that the service relationship between the individuals arose out of a preexisting personal friendship rather than a professional or occupational connection.
Bernard v. Foley - filed August 21, 2006
Cite as 2006 SOS 4377
Full text 

Where taxpayer as beneficiary and executor of estate agreed to IRS’s discounted valuation of estate’s art collection, IRS relied on taxpayer’s agreement in allowing statute of limitations to run on further assessment of estate tax return, and taxpayer subsequently reported different nondiscounted valuation on several individual tax returns to claim net operating losses, taxpayer was bound by duty of consistency to initial stipulated valuation and liable for deficiencies on individual returns.
Janis v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue - filed August 21, 2006
Cite as No. 0474624
Full text