Cundall v. Mitchell-ClydeAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff, the beneficiary of a living trust established by John W. Martin on February 11, 2009, appealed from an order finding that the trust was properly revoked and is therefore invalid. In this case, Martin revoked the February Trust just a few months after he signed it after he had a falling out with plaintiff and then established a new trust in May 2009.
The Court of Appeal applied the holding in Masry v. Masry (2008) 166 Cal.App.4th 738, and held that a trust revocation procedure is not exclusive unless the trust document explicitly says that it is. The court held that the February Trust did not state that its revocation procedure was exclusive, and the alternative revocation procedure under Probate Code section 15401 was therefore available to Martin. The court rejected plaintiff's argument that section 15401 applies only to the method of revoking a trust and not the persons who may do so. The court explained that the distinction between method and authority is artificial; a "method" can include the persons with authority to accomplish a task. The court held that section 15401 in fact addresses who may revoke a trust.