For obvious reasons, nobody wants to see an inheritance go to someone that may have committed an act of financial abuse upon an elderly decedent. But in life, what we want to see is usually vastly different from what the court shows us.
In the case of theEstate of Dito, whereas the decedent's wife was declared an omitted spouse by order of the probate court under section 21610, the daughter of the decedent filed an appeal claiming financial elder abuse against the decedent by the wife. She believed that because of this the wife should have been considered to have predeceased her father and have been disinherited according to Ca. Probate Code Sec. 259. The appeals court did not agree. They found that under that section it was only the husband's right to be free from abuse that was the issue and did not entirely disinherit an abuser who has other claims or rights allowing them to inherit. It merely restricts an abuser's right to benefit as a direct result of abusive conduct. Therefore, an abuser still can inherit under other rights that are completely unrelated to any abusive conduct.
It is always best to consult with a professional Estate Administration Attorney when proceeding with any claims dealing with financial elder abuse against a decedent.
*This blog entry was not written by an Attorney and should not be constituted as professional legal advice.