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Linthicum v. Rudi

Supreme Court of Nevada
148 P.3d 746 (2006)


Facts

Clare Linthicum-Cobb executed a will and a revocable inter vivos trust of which Cobb was the trustee. In the trust, Cobb retained the right to amend or revoke without notifying the beneficiaries. Cobb named Ernette and Myrna Linthicum (plaintiffs), her brother and sister-in-law, primary beneficiaries upon her death and made them successor trustees if she became incapacitated. The trust provided that upon Cobb’s death, the trust would become irrevocable. Subsequently, Cobb executed an amended trust that made Arnold Rudi (defendant), her late husband’s nephew, as the successor trustee and primary beneficiary upon her death. After this document was executed, a guardianship proceeding was commenced by Rudi and Guardianship Services of Nevada (Guardianship Services), seeking co-guardianship of Cobb. Rudi withdrew his petition after Ernette and Myrna objected and the court granted Guardianship Services’ petition for guardianship. Ernette and Myrna then filed an action against Rudi seeking to cancel the amended trust or impose a constructive trust on the ground that the amended trust was the product of undue influence. Rudi moved to dismiss the complaint alleging Ernette and Myrna lacked standing to challenge Cobb’s revocable inter vivos trust during her lifetime because they had no legal interest in the trust until after Cobb died and the trust became irrevocable. In response, Ernette and Myrna argued that three statutes permitted them to challenge the validity of a revocable inter vivos trust during the settlor’s lifetime. Alternatively, Ernette and Myrna moved to be appointed as Cobb’s guardians ad litem to protect her interests during her incapacity. The district court ruled that Ernette and Myrna lacked standing and granted the motion to dismiss. The district court also denied Ernette and Myrna’s motion to be appointed guardians ad litem. Ernette and Myrna appealed to the Supreme Court of Nevada.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Hardesty, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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