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Estate of Hughes v. Patton

California Court of Appeals
7 Cal. Rptr.2d 742 (1992)


Facts

George Hughes (defendant) lived with his wife Kathryn Hughes in her home. When Kathryn died in 1975, the home was worth approximately $45,000. George had been omitted from Kathryn’s will. Therefore, under statute, George obtained a one-third interest in the home, along with Kathryn’s two children. George continued to live in the home and later remarried. George’s new wife, Sylvia, also moved into the home. George and Sylvia paid the mortgage payment, but they did not pay rent on the property. In 1982, George filed a community-property petition, alleging that he was entitled to 100 percent of the property as Kathryn’s surviving spouse. The petition was not granted, but George and Sylvia continued living in the home. George died in 1986. Sylvia was the Executrix of George’s estate and continued living in the home until 1988. No rent was paid to Kathryn’s children until 1987, when Sylvia was ordered to pay $350 per month. Kathryn’s children assigned their interests in the property to James Kinder (plaintiff). In 1990, the home was reappraised at $256,000. During the probate proceeding for George’s estate, Kinder asserted a right to rental payments for all the prior use of Kathryn’s home. The trial court determined that George had acted as a cotenant in possession of the home. The trial court ruled that George’s estate was not liable to the cotenant out of possession, Kinder, for rental payments. Kinder appealed to the California Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wiener, J.)

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