In May of 2010 the California Court of Appeals ruled that the Superior Court abused its discretion under Probate code §8464 by appointing a public administrator to act as the decedent's personal representative in place of the mother of decedent's two sole heirs who had also petitioned to act as personal representative in The Estate of Charles David Lewis Jr.
Lewis was well known in the world of Mixed Martial arts as "The Mask" and founded a clothing line called TapouT which was estimated to be worth at least $10 million at the time of his death. The dispute over the personal representative of his estate arose in part due to a creditor objection regarding the initial valuation of his estate.
Diane Larson was the mother of the decedent's two children, who are the sole heirs. Larson petitioned to be appointed as the minor's guardian, and initially proposed that she be bonded in the amount of $10,000, later changing this amount of $750,000. A creditor argued t hat Larson's initial lower assessment was "fraudulent on its face." After which, the superior court appointed John S. Williams as administrator.
However, the appellate court agreed with Larson's argument that the court misconstrued the extent of its discretion under section 8464. The Appellate Court held Section 8464 granted discretion to appoint "only the guardian or another person in the same class of priority as the guardian," not discretion to appoint another person in a lower class.
For more information on Guardianships or Probate in California contact an experienced California Probate Attorney.