California No Contest Clause Provisions Repealed

California No Contest Clause Provisions Repealed

Effective January 1, 2010, California Probate Code § 21320 and many related provisions (Prob. Code, §§ 21300-21308, 21321 and 21322) were repealed. The former statutory scheme governing no contest clauses was criticized as being too complex due to its numerous statutory and common law exceptions. The legislature noted that it created uncertainty as to the scope and application of such clauses and allowed a no contest clause to be used to shield fraud or undue influence from judicial review by deterring a beneficiary from challenging a gift to someone who procured it in an improper manner. (Com. on Judiciary, Analysis of Sen. Bill No. 1264 (2007-2008 Reg. Sess.).)

The revised statutory scheme will apply to instruments that became irrevocable on or after January 1, 2001 and the common law will remain applicable to instruments that became irrevocable before that date. (Prob. Code, §§ 21315 and 21313.) (Thompson v. Medeiros (2009) 2009 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 9876.)

The upcoming April 2010 release of California Probate Procedure will fully discuss this repeal in Chapter 7.