Los Angeles Estate & Trust Attorney
Call Today for a Free Evaluation 310.853.1554

Part III: Parties with No Financial Interest Lack Standing to Pursue Elder Abuse Action

An interested person's standing to bring an elder-abuse claim is deliberated in Lickter v. Lickter (2010) 189 Cal.App.4th 712. The case concerned two grandsons (Joshua and Jezra) who sued their father (Robert), their half sisters (Maggie and Kate) and their half sisters' mother (Mary) for elder abuse and other related causes of action in behalf of their dead grandmother (Lois). The grandmother's trust provided $10,000 specific gift to each grandson with the residue going to Robert. If Robert died before Lois, then the residue goes to Maggie and Kate. If Maggie and Kate died before their grandmother, then the residue goes to their children. Since Maggie and Kate had no children, Joshua and Jezra were contingent residuary beneficiaries if their father and half sisters predeceased Lois. The trial court granted a summary judgment stating that Joshua and Jezra would only have standing if their father and half sisters died before their grandmother under Probate Code section 259. The grandsons were not deemed to be Lois' heirs and therefore lacked standing to bring an elder-abuse claim. The grandsons appealed.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's ruling, holding that even if Joshua and Jezra were beneficiaries of the trust, they were not "interested persons" under Probate Code section 48 or Welfare and Institutions Code section 15657.3. Based on the Court's interpretation of the provisions, Joshua and Jezra has no standing to bring an elder abuse action, since their beneficial interests in the trust were specific gifts that would not be impaired by the outcome of the elder abuse action. The grandsons would only have standing if their father and half-sisters predeceased their grandmother under Probate Code section 259.

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

Categories: