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regarding their patient absent without parental consent.

A v e r y a n d F r i e d a a r e m e m b e r s o f L o s A n g e l e s C o u n t y C e n t r a l C o u r t D i s t r i c t s P r o b a t e Volunteer Panel.” They are eligible to be appointed by the Court as an independent attorney to review Petitions in Trusts and Estates cases including new Conservatorship cases, Guardianship matters, and certain Trust disputes. In order to be appointed to this panel, a panel member must have extensive experience is these types of cases. Both Frieda and Avery have experience which well qualifies them for admission to this Panel

The Issue of Will and Trust Contests

M o s t o f o u r r e a d e r s a r e f a m i l i a r w i t h t h e p h r a s e W i l l c o n t e s t . A n d , m o s t o f o u r r e a d e r s w h o h a v e w i l l s a n d / o r t r u s t s h a v e what are commonly referred to as “no contest clause(s)” in their estate planning documents, the idea being that if a beneficiary decides to contest the Will, he or she would lose all entitlement to the original bequest. It has been commonplace for attorneys to include “no contest” clauses in wills and trusts without discussing it with the client.

R e c e n t l y , a s e s t a t e p l a n n i n g d o c u m e n t s h a v e b e c o m e m o r e a n d m o r e c o m p l i c a t e d , determining what is and is not considered to be a “contest” has likewise become the subject of much litigation. In turn, the simple

no contest clauses that drafters of routine estate planning documents used to insert into the instruments are in turn themselves becoming more complex. No longer do the drafters utilize the time honored one or two line phrases. Now, no contest clauses can be a page or even longer. Why have things gotten so complicated, and where are we heading with this problem?

L i f e i n t h e 2 1 s t C e n t u r y i s b e c o m i n g m o r e a n d m o r e c o m p l i c a t e d . T h i s i s t r u e , e v e n insofar as the composition of families is concerned. As the divorce rate (and the number of children born to unmarried couples) continues to rise, the question of exactly what any person’s “family” consists of is becoming more and more difficult to determine.

O v e r t h e l a s t 2 0 y e a r s o r s o , t h e d e t e r m i n a t i o n b y v a r i o u s C o u r t s a s t o w h a t t y p e o f C o u r t r e l a t e d M Petition is in fact a “contest” has become somewhat of a guessing game. o s t o f u s w o u l d a s s u m e t h a t a P e t i t i o n w h i c h i s f i l e d i n C o u r t a n d , w h i c h c h a l l e n g e s t h e legitimacy of a will or trust is in fact (in layman’s terms) a “contest.” But, what about challenging a designated beneficiary of a decedent’s Individual Retirement Plan (his “IRA”)? How about challenging the amount that a person is entitled to receive pursuant to the trust but not the trust itself? Both of those activities have been determined to be

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