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Newman v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Supreme Court of California
926 P.2d 969 (1996)


Facts

Helen Lathrop executed a will in 1972, which placed her estate in a trust, with the income to be distributed to her siblings, or, if a sibling died, to that sibling’s living issue. Upon the death of the last sibling the trust was to be distributed to her siblings’ then-living children. Lathrop died in 1972 and her estate was distributed to Wells Fargo Bank (the bank) as trustee. Lathrop’s brother, Earl Mitchell, died in 1993. Mitchell had a biological son, Jon Newman, who was adopted out of the family in 1946. The bank (plaintiff) petitioned the court for a determination as to whether Newman was the “issue of” Mitchell at the time of Mitchell’s death.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Baxter, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Dissent (Kennard, J.)

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