4th Appellate District Recognizes New Tort: Intentional Interference with an Expected Inheritance

   In Beckwith v. Dahl, filed May 3, 2012, a panel of the Fourth Appellate District overruled the lower court which had sustained a demurrer to Beckwith’s cause of action for Intentional Interference with an Expected Inheritance (“IIEI”). In recognizing the tort for the first time in California, the court held that plaintiff must allege:

  1. That plaintiff had an expectancy of inheritance;
  2. There must be proof to a reasonable degree of certainty that, but for the actions of the defendant, the plaintiff would have received an inheritance;
  3. Defendant had knowledge of the plaintiff’s inheritance and took actions to interfere with it;
  4. The interference was by independent tortious means, i.e, the underlying interference must be wrong for a reason other than for the interference itself;
  5. Plaintiff suffered damage.

   The decision creates a high bar for plaintiffs. However, it creates a remedy previously unavailable and should be welcomed. Wrongful interference with an expected inheritance no longer will have the law as a shield.


  I consult with clients and accept cases involving probate matters and contracts to make a will, including cases involving Intentional Interference with an Expected Inheritance. For other types of cases I accept, please scroll my “Home” and “My Practice” pages. If you are seeking a legal consultation or representation, please give me a call at 818.971.9409. – Michael Daymude

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