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Estate of Clark

Court of Appeal of California
271 P. 542 (1928)


Facts

Major Dillard Clark had three children from his first marriage, including two who survived him, Dillard H. Clark, Jr. and Alice Clark Myers (plaintiffs). Major Clark's son Edwin Howard Clark predeceased him, testate, in July 1923. Major Clark contested the will as invalid in litigation. The case was ultimately settled by an agreement in which Major Clark received a one-half interest in Edwin's estate, which included an interest in oil-producing wells. In August 1923, Major Clark entered into his second marriage with Eliza Simpson Clark (defendant). In February 1926, Major Clark passed away, leaving a will that set up a trust fund for Eliza, providing her with income from approximately $40,000 worth of securities, while leaving most of his property to his surviving children. Eliza waived her rights under Major Clark's will and elected to take her spousal share. Dillard and Alice petitioned the trial court to distribute according to the terms of the will. The trial court distributed Major Clark's property, including the interest in Edwin's estate, to Dillard and Alice. Eliza appealed the trial court's decision on the ground that the interest in Edwin's estate was community property subject to her spousal share.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Crail, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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