Eyford v. NordAnnotate this Case
Kay died in 2016 at age 90. In a trust instrument she executed months earlier, she named St. Jude Children’s Hospital the sole beneficiary of her estate, which was worth approximately $2 million. She disinherited her surviving son and her two granddaughters, who filed a petition contesting the validity of the trust instrument on the ground that Kay had a mental disorder with symptoms including delusions or hallucinations that allegedly caused Kay to devise her property in a way she would not otherwise have done. (Probate Code 6100.5(a)(2)).
The court found that the granddaughters failed to carry their burden of proving that Kay was suffering from a delusion at the time she executed the trust. The court of appeal affirmed, rejecting an argument that the trial court erred in wrongly selecting a single false belief Kay had about her granddaughters—i.e., that they “wanted her out of the way in order to get her money”—and then wrongly determining it was not a delusion, while the court should have found that Kay’s multiple false beliefs about her granddaughters all constituted delusions negating Kay’s testamentary capacity. There was substantial evidence that Kay did not have “a mental health disorder” at the time she executed the trust.