Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Estate of Kraus (Cal. Ct. App. - April 27, 2010)

Janice Kraus was unmarried and had no children, and created a will that left most of her money to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Regents of the University of California. She had a brother, David, whom she specifically disinherited, since (1) he had a temper, (2) she was afraid of him, and (3) he had previously pimped $160,000 from her. She even put a clause in her will directing that her estate get back the missing $160,000. In short, her brother was to get nothing, and charities were to get the rest.

In October 2006, Janice had cancer, was dying, and was in hospice care. On the 22nd, while she was semi-comatose, David came in to the hospice with a "General Power of Attorney" form and had someone hold Janice's hand to write an "X" on the form. David then immediately used the form to raid Janice's bank accounts, grabbing four CDs from California National Bank collectively worth around $140,000, another $15,000 from Janice's Washington Mutual Bank account, and over $9,000 from a joint checking account that Janice had with her 91-year old mother. Janice died at 7:50 a.m. the next day.

The trustee sues David to recover the money and statutory penalties, and prevails. David appeals, but the California Court of Appeal affirms.

IMHO, far from being upset about the result, David should be happy he's not in jail.