Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Case of the Day: In re Estate of Kern, 2016 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5006, (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. July 1, 2016)


A Japanese American decedent left a will that said (paraphrase): "In the event that my husband does not survive me, then I give all my estate unto the following two individual to share and share alike or to survivor or survivors.  Schneider . . . Kehrer." The next of kin of the decedent, a Japanese national from Japan, claimed that he was entitled to a part of the estate, because he was the "survivor" designated in the will.

The court found that the "survivor" language was ambiguous, as it could also refer to the survivors of Schneider and Kehrer. Because of the ambiguity, the court interpreted the will based on extrinsic evidence. Based on the extrinsic evidence that the decedent was estranged from her extended family in Japan, the court dismissed the claim.


Transnational family law! This blog's pet favorite strikes again. The interesting part of this case was the way in which the Japanese next of kin was willing to try anything to take part in the decedent's estate. At one point, apparently, the next of kin claimed that he was a cousin of Kehrer.

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