The California Supreme Court concludes in Donkin v. Donkin that safe harbor proceedings filed before 2010 are not affected by the repeal of former Probate Code section 21320, which previously authorized safe harbor applications. With respect to substantive questions as to whether a claim triggers a no contest clause, pursuant to Probate Code section 21315, current law is applicable to all instruments which became irrevocable on or after January 1, 2001. Continue reading
A trustee is required to provide notice to heirs and beneficiaries when all or part of a revocable trust becomes irrevocable due to the death of a settlor pursuant to Probate Code section 16061.7. Under Probate Code section 16061.8 any action contesting the trust must be filed within 120 days from the date the notification by trustee is served upon the contestant “or 60 days from the day on which a copy of the terms of the trust is mailed or personally delivered to him or her during that 120-day period, whichever is later.”
Does Code of Civil Procedure section 1013 (which extends time for service by means other than personal delivery) apply to section 16061.8? No. A petition filed past the limitations period is untimely and a demurrer to the petition is properly sustained without leave to amend. Bridgeman v. Allen.
In a case of first impression the court in Allen v. Stoddard was confronted with the circumstance where plaintiff’s suit — based upon an alleged contract to make a will against the executor of an estate — was filed 91 days after rejection by the estate of his creditor’s claim but within a year of the decedent’s death.
Probate Code sections 9350 to 9354 govern claims against decedents’ estates and section 9353 unambiguously states that regardless of any other statute of limitations, any claimant against an estate has only 90 days after notice of rejection of the claim by the estate to file suit. If section 9353 governs plaintiff’s claim is time-barred.
However, Code of Civil Procedure section 366.3 specifically gives persons who have claims against estates based on promises to make a distribution after death (such as contracts to make a will) a full year from the date of the decedent’s death to file suit. Was plaintiff’s suit, therefore, timely? The court held that it was. Continue reading