In re Estate of Stoker
California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District
122 Cal. Rptr. 3d 529 (App. 2011)
On May 22, 1997, Steven Wayne Stoker (decedent) executed a will naming Destiny Gularte and Donald Karotick as beneficiaries of his personal property and leaving the residue of his estate to the trustee of a trust he created that same day. On August 25, 2005, decedent executed a handwritten document that expressly revoked the 1997 trust. The document further provided that Gularte would receive nothing and that everything would go to his children, Danine Pradia and Darrin Stoker. The will was not signed by any witnesses. Decedent passed away on February 27, 2008. On March 17, 2008, Gularte filed a petition to have the 1997 will probated. Pradia objected and, on April 28, 2005, filed a petition to probate the 2005 will. At trial, Anne Marie Meier, a friend of decedent, testified that decedent had dictated the language of the 2005 will to her and that she witnessed him signing it. She also testified that he told her the document was to be his last will and testament. Another friend of decedent’s, Gretchen Landry, testified that, in 2001, decedent had urinated on and burned the 1997 will. The trial court found that the 2005 will was valid and that the 1997 will had been revoked. Gularte and Karotick appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Gilbert, J.)
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