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 Code, §§ 21300-21308, 21321 and 21322) were repealed.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.).)
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
(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.