Widow Sues Late Husband’s Children Over Inheritance

In this case, “Frank Gomez and plaintiff Louise Gomez rekindled their love late in life, over 60 years after Frank broke off their first engagement because he was leaving to serve in the Korean War. Frank’s children from a prior marriage, defendants Tammy Smith and Richard Gomez, did not approve of their marriage. After Frank fell ill, he attempted to establish a new living trust with the intent to provide for Louise during her life. Frank’s illness unfortunately progressed quickly. Frank’s attorney, Erik Aanestad, attempted to have Frank sign the new living trust documents the day after Frank was sent home under hospice care. Aanestad unfortunately never got the chance to speak with Frank because Tammy and Richard intervened and precluded Aanestad from entering Frank’s home. Frank, who was bedridden, died early the following morning.”

Louise sued Richard and Tammy. “Following a court trial, the trial court issued a statement of decision finding in favor of Louise as to her intentional interference with expected inheritance cause of action.” On Tammy’s appeal, the Third District affirmed.

“Tammy argues the judgment should be reversed because: (1) Louise admitted she did not expect to receive an inheritance; (2) Tammy’s conduct was not tortious independent of her interference; (3) the trial court applied an erroneous legal standard in its capacity analysis; (4) there is no substantial evidence to support the finding that Frank had the capacity to execute the trust documents; (5) the trial court’s finding that Tammy knew Louise expected an inheritance is contradicted by the evidence; and (6) alternatively, the constructive trust remedy is fatally ambiguous. We affirm.”

Read the court's full opinion.

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