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In re Estate of Giraldin
California Supreme Court
290 P.3d 199 (2012)
William Giraldin created a revocable inter vivos trust and made himself the sole income beneficiary during his life. After William and his wife both died, the trust’s remaining assets would be distributed equally among each of their nine children. William’s two youngest children, Timothy and Patrick Giraldin (defendants), were twins. William appointed Timothy as the trustee. William spent most of his life savings, over $4 million, to buy stock in a company owned by Timothy and Patrick and gave the stock to the trust. However, the company did not perform well, and the trust’s stock became worthless. In addition, while William was still alive, Timothy spent almost $1 million of the trust’s remaining funds making disbursements and loans to himself and Patrick. After William died, four of William’s other children (plaintiffs) sued Timothy for mismanaging their father’s trust. The trial court found that Timothy had breached his duties as trustee and charged him with returning almost $5 million to the trust. Timothy appealed. The court of appeal found that Timothy had not owed any duty to the trust beneficiaries while William was alive and, therefore, that the beneficiaries lacked standing to pursue a claim for any breaches that occurred during that time period. The trust beneficiaries sought review from the California Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Chin, J.)
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