Trust Contests: 120-Day Limitations Period Not Extended By C.C.P Section 1013

  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.

Beneficiaries Have Standing to Sue Trustee of Revocable Trust After Settlor’s Death

  The California Supreme Court reverses the Court of Appeals and holds in Estate of Giraldin in a 4-2 opinion that where the trustee of a revocable trust is other than the settlor, the beneficiaries of a revocable trust have standing to sue the trustee for breach of fiduciary duty committed while the settlor was alive and the trust was still revocable, after the settlor dies.

  In dissent Justice Kennard, with Justice Werdergar concurring, would have upheld the opinion of the Court of Appeals on the theory that the Probate Code only authorizes the decedent’s personal representative to sue on behalf of the beneficiaries in such circumstances; not the beneficiaries individually.