The Demiris Law Firm, P.C. congratulates attorneys Konstantine "Kosta" Demiris and Christopher Moore on being named Northern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars for 2018 for their practice in trust and estate litigation.
On Saturday, March 4, 2017, Konstantine “Kosta” Demiris will speak at the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (“NAELA”) Chapter California Summit in Oakland, CA. His topic will be “Drafting Trusts to Avoid Litigation.”
Some of the other topics and speakers include:
· Ruth Phelps, who will be presenting, "Trust Protectors: Bodyguard or Bully?– an overview of when and how to utilize them.”
· Kevin Urbatsch, who will be presenting, “Top Mistakes to Avoid When Drafting and Administering Special Needs Trusts.”
Other topics include: "How to get your client into a SNF", "Working Backwards: How to Avoid a Malpractice Claim", "Getting the Most Out of IHSS," and "What Effect will the New Administration have on Medicare and Medi-Cal."
Other speakers will include Kathleen Day-Seiter, Jim Hyuck, Kevin Prindiville and more.
Estate litigation and inheritance disputes in California often involve will disputes, contests of a will being deemed admitted to probate, and revocation of a will after it is admitted to probate. In California, a person with standing to contest a will or object to the will being deemed admitted to probate is provided a limited opportunity to contest a will and/or object to it being admitted to probate. A person with standing who is noticed of the probate of a will in California may contest the will on limited grounds. Those are outlined in Probate Code sections 8004 and 8250. The procedural requirements are also very specific. A contestant is required by law to obtain a summons that is issued and served with a copy of the objection to probate of the will and also with a notice of hearing of the a petition to for administration of the decedent's estate. The notice requirements for doing so are statutory.
Thereafter, if the contestant or objector loses or fails to win in preventing the will from being deemed admitted to probate then that party is not entitled to contest the will after it has been deemed admitted to probate. Under Probate Code section 8270(a) any interested person other than a party to a will contest and other than a person who had actual notice of a will contest in time to have joined the contest may petition to revoke the probate of the will.
In other words, in such will disputes, if a person is properly noticed of a petition to probate a will then that person is limited to statutory timelines and laws in contesting the will. If that party loses the contest they are barred from later petitioning to revoke the probate of the will after it has been deemed admitted to probate.
If you have questions about your rights or those of a loved one or friend concerning an inheritance dispute or contest, then you should immediately contact a licensed attorney to advise you.
Walters v. Boosinger
Two key issues: There is a statute of limitations on quiet title claims; and joint tenancy doesn’t get severed merely by filing a lawsuit.
In this case a girlfriend and boyfriend Valerie Boosinger and Randy Walters owned real property together. A 2003 deed named Boosinger and Walters as joint tenants to the real property. In April of 2013, Walters sued Boosinger alleging he was 2/3 owner and asking to buy-out Boosinger’s share of the property or for a court ordered partition. Thereafter, Walters died.
Walters’s son substituted in and continued the suit as administrator of his father’s estate, but Boosinger argued that the joint tenancy ended as a matter of law at the death of Walters and that Boosinger therefore owned 100% of the real property. Boosinger demurred at the trial court level and won arguing that Walters had no standing (post-death) to bring forth a partition claim. The court granted Walters’s son leave to file an amended complaint and he did.
Walters’s son’s first amended complaint brought forth claims for quiet title and partition. In his complaint he acknowledged that the 2003 deed grants ownership of the Property from "[Randy], an Unmarried Man as to an undivided 2/3 interest, and [Boosinger], a Single Woman as to an Undivided 1/3 interest as tenants in common," to "[Randy], an Unmarried Man and [Boosinger], a Single Woman as Joint Tenants." (Italics added.)
Even with such language in the deed Walters’s son argued the real property was not held in joint tenancy. He contended, amongst other things, that his dad never intended to create a joint tenancy.
In the alternative, Walters’s son alleged even if there was a joint tenancy it was severed upon Walters filing suit and Boosinger’s filing an answer.
Another demurer was filed by Boosinger alleging the statute of limitations as a defense under the premise that the underlying quiet action was premised on fraud and the applicable time period passed since the date of the act to the date of the suit.
On appeal the trial court ruling was sustained the lower court’s ruling. The Court of Appeals held there was a statute of limitations regarding the contention that the deed was invalid on its face. The Court of Appeals also held that the quiet title claim was not valid in so far as it alleged the joint tenancy was severed by way of the lawsuit and answer.
Recently, on September 15, 2016, attorney Konstantine "Kosta" Demiris, spoke to the members of the Eastern Alameda County Bar Association. The presentation provided MCLE to the attorneys present and covered legal topics focusing on financial elder abuse and elder law. Two case studies were provided from litigation cases tried by Kosta Demiris as well as an outline of cases and statutory law involving financial elder abuse litigation
A copy of the presentation description is below.
EACBA 3rd Thursday MCLE Luncheon
Thursday, September 15th, 2016
Program presented by Konstantine "Kosta" Demiris of Demiris & Moore
Thursday, September 15th 12:00pm-1:30pm
(program begins at 12:30-1:30)
Handles Gastropub - 855 Main St., Pleasanton
$35 EACBA members/$50 non-members/$30 for staff
Sacramento County Superior Court Case # 34-2013-00152632-PR-PW-FRC in re: the Estate of Barbara J. Heston
Walnut Creek estate lawyer and probate litigation lawyer Konstantine “Kosta” Demiris, represented Kevin Heston the executor named in Barbara J. Heston’s 1996 holographic will (the original holographic will was lost) in petition for probate of the lost holographic will. Kevin’s brother, Paul Heston filed an objection to the validity of the will. Paul contended that a 2010 typewritten will was the controlling will (or in legal parlance, the controlling “testamentary instrument”).
Following extensive discovery and depositions that strongly established the 2010 typewritten will was not valid, Paul conceded the point (he waited until three-weeks before trial to do so). Paul stipulated to the validity of the holographic will and admitted the 2010 will was invalid, which was made an order of the Court. On January 5, 2015, Kevin was duly appointed by order of the Court as executor of his mother’s estate under the holographic will.