Recently decided case of Beckwith v. Dahl. This will not be a savior to everyone who gets cut out of an estate, but in certain cases when someone commits a deliberate wrongful act it may help.
In a recent California Appellate Court decision, Beckwith v. Dahl, the court recognized that when someone commits a deliberate wrongful act preventing another party from receiving a promised inheritance, they should be responsible for their bad conduct.
The case is a very sad story. The decedent wanted his estate split between his partner of many years and his sister. The decedent’s sister did not follow her brother’s instructions, did not have the documents prepared that would give the partner a share of the estate, and deliberately never told the partner. When brother died, the partner who was not a relative did not have a right to any part of the estate. Ordinarily the story would have ended at this point. However the court recognized that the sister lied to the partner and gave the partner a chance to sue the sister for the partner’s rightful inheritance.
This means if you were promised an inheritance but didn’t receive it, you may have a valid claim against someone who prevented you from collecting your inheritance. The key fact in this case is that someone acted wrongfully to frustrate the wishes of the decedent. If you find yourself in a similar position please consult with a California probate and estate attorney to determine whether you have a valid case and if so, can go to court for you. If you have any questions please feel free to call our office for a consultation at 858-792-5988.