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Exclusion of unmentioned heirs or relatives from a will's dispositions, or an intent to disinherit those who contest those dispositions, does not sufficiently express or manifest an intent to arrest the operation of the anti-lapse law following a legatee's death.
Appellant, the granddaughter of a decedent, filed a petition seeking to determine persons entitled to distribution from the decedent's estate. The decedent's will bequeathed all of her property to her husband. It provided, however, that if he predeceased her, the decedent's granddaughters, appellant and her sister, each would receive $10,000, and the remainder of the estate would go to the decedent's daughter, who was respondent's mother. The decedent was survived by three great-grandchildren, who were children of respondent's deceased sisters and grandchildren of the residual beneficiary. The trial court entered an order denying the petition. Applying Prob. Code, § 21110, the trial court concluded that respondent, the decedent's grandson, was among those entitled to inherit the residue of the estate, as issue of his mother. The trial court rejected appellant's contention that the will reflected the decedent's controlling intent that respondent and other issue of his mother not take from the decedent's estate. Appellant sought review of the decision.
Was the respondent among those entitled to inherit the residue of the estate, as issue of his mother?
The Court of Appeal affirmed the order. The court found that the decedent expressed her intent in paragraph seven of her will not to provide for any of her unmentioned heirs, and limited to $1 the recovery of any person outside the will who successfully claimed to be her heir. The court concluded that this provision did not manifest an intention to preclude the residual beneficiary's grandchildren from taking in her place under Prob. Code, § 21110. The bequest to appellant and her sister provided that if the designee predeceased the decedent, the gift would lapse. No such proviso, or any alternative disposition, appeared in the residual bequest to the residual beneficiary. The trial court's ruling was strongly supported by the facts and reasoning of the two decisions on which it principally relied.