Part II: Comedian Richard Pryor and His Last Act

To continue our blog on Richard Pryor's estate in Estate of Pryor (2009) 177Cal.App.4th 1466, the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's decision of sustaining the wife's demurrer and subsequently dismissing Elizabeth's action. The appellate court held that a care custodian who later married the decedent could invoke the spousal exception of Probate Code section 21351(a) governing donative transfers even where it was alleged that the marriage was the product of fraud or undue influence. The Legislature did not adopt an exception to marriages that were a result of fraud or undue influence; accordingly, it is not in the Court of Appeal's province to do so. The Court recognizes that risks that a family member may exercise undue influence on an elder or dependent adult are well known, but other policy alternatives favor transfers to family members since they are the mostly likely intended beneficiaries of an at-death transfer. The Court further added based on the Law Revision Commission's citation that there is nothing inherently suspicious about a family member providing care services to a dependent relative. Such assistance is actually accepted and beneficial. Hence, transfers made by Richard Pryor to his wife were deemed valid.

*This blog entry was not written by an Attorney and should not be construed as professional legal advice.

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