§ CAPACITY § UNDUE INFLUENCE § FRAUD § DURESS § MISTAKE § REVOCATION §
§ 6100 Persons who may make A will
(a) An individual 18 or more years of age who is of sound mind may make a will.
(b) A conservator may make a will for the conservatee if the conservator has been so authorized by a court order pursuant to Section 2580. Nothing in this section shall impair the right of a conservatee who is mentally competent to make a will from revoking or amending a will made by the conservator or making a new and inconsistent will.
§ 6100.5 Persons lacking capacity to make a will
(a) An individual is not mentally competent to make a will if at the time of making the will either of the following is true:
(1) The individual does not have sufficient mental capacity to be able to (A) understand the nature of the testamentary act, (B) understand and recollect the nature and situation of the individual’s property, or (C) remember and understand the individual’s relations to living descendants, spouse, and parents, and those whose interests are affected by the will.
(2) The individual suffers from a mental disorder with symptoms including delusions or hallucinations, which delusions or hallucinations result in the individual’s devising property in a way which, except for the existence of the delusions or hallucinations, the individual would not have done.
(b) Nothing in this section supersedes existing law relating to the admissibility of evidence to prove the existence of mental incompetence or mental disorders.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a conservator may make a will on behalf of a conservatee if the conservator has been so authorized by a court order pursuant to Section 2580.
§ 810 Legislative findings and declarations
The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(a) For purposes of this part, there shall exist a rebuttable presumption affecting the burden of proof that all persons have the capacity to make decisions and to be responsible for their acts or decisions.
(b) A person who has a mental or physical disorder may still be capable of contracting, conveying, marrying, making medical decisions, executing wills or trusts, and performing other actions.
(c) A judicial determination that a person is totally without understanding, or is of unsound mind, or suffers from one or more mental deficits so substantial that, under the circumstances, the person should be deemed to lack the legal capacity to perform a specific act, should be based on evidence of a deficit in one or more of the person’s mental functions rather than on a diagnosis of a person’s mental or physical disorder.
§ 811 Unsound mind or incapacity
(a) A determination that a person is of unsound mind or lacks the capacity to make a decision or do a certain act, including, but not limited to, the incapacity to contract, to make a conveyance, to marry, to make medical decisions, to execute wills, or to execute trusts, shall be supported by evidence of a deficit in at least one of the following mental functions, subject to subdivision (b), and evidence of a correlation between the deficit or deficits and the decision or acts in question:
(1) Alertness and attention, including, but not limited to, the following:
(A) Level of arousal or consciousness.
(B) Orientation to time, place, person, and situation.
(C) Ability to attend and concentrate.
(2) Information processing, including, but not limited to, the following:
(A) Short– and long–term memory, including immediate recall.
(B) Ability to understand or communicate with others, either verbally or otherwise.
(C) Recognition of familiar objects and familiar persons.
(D) Ability to understand and appreciate quantities.
(E) Ability to reason using abstract concepts.
(F) Ability to plan, organize, and carry out actions in one’s own rational self–interest.
(G) Ability to reason logically.
(3) Thought processes. Deficits in these functions may be demonstrated by the presence of the following:
(A) Severely disorganized thinking.
(D) Uncontrollable, repetitive, or intrusive thoughts.
(4) Ability to modulate mood and affect. Deficits in this ability may be demonstrated by the presence of a pervasive and persistent or recurrent state of euphoria, anger, anxiety, fear, panic, depression, hopelessness or despair, helplessness, apathy or indifference, that is inappropriate in degree to the individual’s circumstances.
(b) A deficit in the mental functions listed above may be considered only if the deficit, by itself or in combination with one or more other mental function deficits, significantly impairs the person’s ability to understand and appreciate the consequences of his or her actions with regard to the type of act or decision in question.
(c) In determining whether a person suffers from a deficit in mental function so substantial that the person lacks the capacity to do a certain act, the court may take into consideration the frequency, severity, and duration of periods of impairment.
(d) The mere diagnosis of a mental or physical disorder shall not be sufficient in and of itself to support a determination that a person is of unsound mind or lacks the capacity to do a certain act.
(e) This part applies only to the evidence that is presented to, and the findings that are made by, a court determining the capacity of a person to do a certain act or make a decision, including, but not limited to, making medical decisions. Nothing in this part shall affect the decision making process set forth in Section 1418.8 of the Health and Safety Code, nor increase or decrease the burdens of documentation on, or potential liability of, health care providers who, outside the judicial context, determine the capacity of patients to make a medical decision.
“Undue influence” has the same meaning as defined in Section 15610.70 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. It is the intent of the Legislature that this section supplement the common law meaning of undue influence without superseding or interfering with the operation of that law.
(a) “Undue influence” means excessive persuasion that causes another person to act or refrain from acting by overcoming that person’s free will and results in inequity. In determining whether a result was produced by undue influence, all of the following shall be considered:
(1) The vulnerability of the victim. Evidence of vulnerability may include, but is not limited to, incapacity, illness, disability, injury, age, education, impaired cognitive function, emotional distress, isolation, or dependency, and whether the influencer knew or should have known of the alleged victim’s vulnerability.
(2) The influencer’s apparent authority. Evidence of apparent authority may include, but is not limited to, status as a fiduciary, family member, care provider, health care professional, legal professional, spiritual adviser, expert, or other qualification.
(3) The actions or tactics used by the influencer. Evidence of actions or tactics used may include, but is not limited to, all of the following:
(A) Controlling necessaries of life, medication, the victim’s interactions with others, access to information, or sleep.
(B) Use of affection, intimidation, or coercion.
(C) Initiation of changes in personal or property rights, use of haste or secrecy in effecting those changes, effecting changes at inappropriate times and places, and claims of expertise in effecting changes.
(4) The equity of the result. Evidence of the equity of the result may include, but is not limited to, the economic consequences to the victim, any divergence from the victim’s prior intent or course of conduct or dealing, the relationship of the value conveyed to the value of any services or consideration received, or the appropriateness of the change in light of the length and nature of the relationship.
(b) Evidence of an inequitable result, without more, is not sufficient to prove undue influence.
(a) A provision of an instrument making a donative transfer to any of the following persons is presumed to be the product of fraud or undue influence:
(1) The person who drafted the instrument.
(2) A person in a fiduciary relationship with the transferor who transcribed the instrument or caused it to be transcribed.
(3) A care custodian of a transferor who is a dependent adult, but only if the instrument was executed during the period in which the care custodian provided services to the transferor, or within 90 days before or after that period.
(4) A person who is related by blood or affinity, within the third degree, to any person described in paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive.
(5) A cohabitant or employee of any person described in paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive.
(6) A partner, shareholder, or employee of a law firm in which a person described in paragraph (1) or (2) has an ownership interest.
(b) The presumption created by this section is a presumption affecting the burden of proof. The presumption may be rebutted by proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that the donative transfer was not the product of fraud or undue influence.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (b), with respect to a donative transfer to the person who drafted the donative instrument, or to a person who is related to, or associated with, the drafter as described in paragraph (4), (5), or (6) of subdivision (a), the presumption created by this section is conclusive.
(d) If a beneficiary is unsuccessful in rebutting the presumption, the beneficiary shall bear all costs of the proceeding, including reasonable attorney's fees.
Section 21380 does not apply to any of the following instruments or transfers:
(a) A donative transfer to a person who is related by blood or affinity, within the fourth degree, to the transferor or is the cohabitant of the transferor.
(b) An instrument that is drafted or transcribed by a person who is related by blood or affinity, within the fourth degree, to the transferor or is the cohabitant of the transferor.
(c) An instrument that is approved pursuant to an order under Article 10 (commencing with Section 2580 ) of Chapter 6 of Part 4 of Division 4, after full disclosure of the relationships of the persons involved.
(d) A donative transfer to a federal, state, or local public entity, an entity that qualifies for an exemption from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) of the Internal Revenue Code , [FN1] or a trust holding the transferred property for the entity.
(e) A donative transfer of property valued at five thousand dollars ($5,000) or less, if the total value of the transferor's estate equals or exceeds the amount stated in Section 13100 .
(f) An instrument executed outside of California by a transferor who was not a resident of California when the instrument was executed.
Actual fraud, within the meaning of this Chapter, consists in any of the following acts, committed by a party to the contract, or with his connivance, with intent to deceive another party thereto, or to induce him to enter into the contract:
1. The suggestion, as a fact, of that which is not true, by one who does not believe it to be true;
2. The positive assertion, in a manner not warranted by the information of the person making it, of that which is not true, though he believes it to be true;
3. The suppression of that which is true, by one having knowledge or belief of the fact;
4. A promise made without any intention of performing it; or,
5. Any other act fitted to deceive.
Construtive fraud consists:
1. In any breach of duty which, without an actually fraudulent intent, gains an advantage to the person in fault, or any one claiming under him, by misleading another to his prejudice, or to the prejudice of any one claiming under him; or,
2. In any such act or omission as the law specially declares to be fraudulent, without respect to actual fraud.
Duress consists in any of the following:
(a) Unlawful confinement of the person of the party, or of the spouse of such party, or of an ancestor, descendant, or adopted child of such party or spouse.
(b) Unlawful detention of the property of any such person.
(c) Confinement of such person, lawful in form, but fraudulently obtained, or fraudulently made unjustly harassing or oppressive.
- Prob. Code § 1569
Mistake of fact is a mistake, not caused by the neglect of a legal duty on the part of the person making the mistake, and consisting in:
1. An unconscious ignorance or forgetfulness of a fact past or present, material to the contract; or,
2. Belief in the present existence of a thing material to the contract, which does not exist, or in the past existence of such a thing, which has not existed.
The execution or revocation of a will or a part of a will is ineffective to the extent the execution or revocation was procured by duress, menace, fraud, or undue influence.
If the testator’s will was last in the testator’s possession, the testator was competent until death, and neither the will nor a duplicate original of the will can be found after the testator’s death, it is presumed that the testator destroyed the will with intent to revoke it. This presumption is a presumption affecting the burden of producing evidence.
(a) Unless the will expressly provides otherwise, if after executing a will the testator’s marriage is dissolved or annulled, the dissolution or annulment revokes all of the following:
(1) Any disposition or appointment of property made by the will to the former spouse.
(2) Any provision of the will conferring a general or special power of appointment on the former spouse.
(3) Any provision of the will nominating the former spouse as executor, trustee, conservator, or guardian.
(b) If any disposition or other provision of a will is revoked solely by this section, it is revived by the testator’s remarriage to the former spouse.
(c) In case of revocation by dissolution or annulment:
(1) Property prevented from passing to a former spouse because of the revocation passes as if the former spouse failed to survive the testator.
(2) Other provisions of the will conferring some power or office on the former spouse shall be interpreted as if the former spouse failed to survive the testator.
(d) For purposes of this section, dissolution or annulment means any dissolution or annulment which would exclude the spouse as a surviving spouse within the meaning of Section 78. A decree of legal separation which does not terminate the status of spouses is not a dissolution for purposes of this section.
(e) Except as provided in Section 6122.1, no change of circumstances other than as described in this section revokes a will.
(f) Subdivisions (a) to (d), inclusive, do not apply to any case where the final judgment of dissolution or annulment of marriage occurs before January 1, 1985. That case is governed by the law in effect prior to January 1, 1985.