In August of 2010, the California Court of Appeals reviewed non-probate transfers in relation to the Uniform Transfer on Death ("TOD") Act, section 5500. The Court of Appeals determined whether parol evidence may be used to contest the form in which a POD account is held. The Court of Appeals ruled that parol evidence may not be used to contest the form of the POD. If you live in California and have questions about POD accounts and non-probate transfers, you should consult with an experienced Los Angeles probate lawyer.
The California Court of Appeals interpreted section 5500 to provide that the owner of a security account is entitled to the benefit of a nonprobate transfer of the funds in the account if the owner registered the security account in beneficiary form. If the owner failed to do so, he is not entitled to a nonprobate transfer. Therefore, in the case where a Decedent died before he registered the security in beneficiary form, parole evidence cannot be used.