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Non Probate Transfer Disputes

     In August of 2010, the California Court of Appeals reviewed a case to determine whether the Decedent, James Donald Garner, Jr. intended to transfer funds to his mother, appellant Adria Underwood and his sister, Carmia Eldridge. (Underwood v. Pearce, (2010). 

    The facts are as follows: Garner arranged a payable on death ("POD") account with his mother, Underwood and sister, Eldridge as equal beneficiaries. Each would receive half of the funds in the account upon the death of Garner. This is an example of a non-probate transfer of assets. If you live in the California area and have questions about non-probate transfers you should consult with an experienced Los Angeles probate attorney. 

   The dispute arises over the following facts: Decedent transferred the POD account funds to Wachovia Securities and signed all the documents necessary to transfer the funds to Wachovia. However, the Decedent passed away before he could execute Wachovia's application for registration of account in beneficiary form transfer on death direction. This form would have confirmed the intended beneficiaries. 

   Therefore, upon Garner's death his two ex-wives filed objections to Eldrige and Underwood receiving the POD funds. The trial court ruled against Eldrige and Underwood and thereafter Underwood filed an appeal. The California Court of Appeals determined that the Uniform TOD Security Registration Act was the relevant nonprobate transfer statute. 

   In order to find out the California Court of Appeals verdict read tomorrow's blog.

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