Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, August 31, 2018

Fore! California Court Drives Away Claim that Trustee’s Attorney Breached Trust

GolfingChristina Cortese is the biological daughter of Francesca Naify and the stepdaughter of Robert Naify, and after the death of her mother Francesca, she inherited a "modest" amount. Under the advice of attorney Sherwood and the promise by her stepfather that she would inherit a 250-acre golf course, she terminated her mother's trust. Cortese was shocked when she was not a beneficiary of Robert Naify's estate.

She sued Sherwood in San Francisco County Superior Court, alleging breach of trust and claiming that Sherwood assisted Robert in effectuating a plan of “withholding community property from Francesca’s estate, devaluing Francesca’s estate, mismanaging her trust, and terminating it in a manner that benefited Robert.”

The appellate court looked at the factual allegations to determine whether she had alleged a conspiracy within the meaning of Civil Code section 1714.10. The court could not “conceive how Sherwood could have participated in Robert’s alleged breaches of fiduciary duty without an implied agreement to do so.” Because of the statutory requirements, she was required to seek a judge's permission to file the claim, and as she failed to do so the appellate court found her claim legally insufficient.

See Jeffrey S. Galvin, Fore! California Court Drives Away Claim that Trustee’s Attorney Breached Trust, Trust on Trial, August 27, 2018.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.) for bringing this article to my attention.


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