Developments of Interest

New Cases of Interest - September 9, 2015

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Estate of Duke (2015) 61 Cal.4th 871.  This is one of the few civil cases accepted by the California Supreme Court in which an opinion has been rendered recently.  It finds, consistent with an earlier and recent Supreme Court decisions on the subject of parol evidence, that any categorical bar on reformation of wills is not justified, and that even an unambiguous will may be reformed if there is clear and convincing evidence that the will contains a mistake in the expression of the testator's intent at the time the will was drafted and also establishes that the testator's actual specific intent at the time the will was drafted was different than reflected in the will itself.  The case likely has significant collateral effect on other issues in which parol evidence may be offered to reform or modify a contract which appears on its face to be complete. 

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