Here is an interesting case out of Los Angeles County Superior Court. Case No.: BP 105438. The Plaintiff (“P”) was represented by the Pedder firm. The Defendant Children’s Hospital was represented by legal counsel from Oakland, California.
Baby Love was born severely handicapped, allegedly by the negligence of hospital “X”. (Hospital x was unrelated to Defendant Children’s Hospital in this case). The parents were unable to care for the baby, were unmarried, and essentially abandoned the child to foster care with Alameda County authorities. “P” became the foster mother of Baby Love and cared for her for the rest of Baby Love’s life. On behalf of Baby Love, “P” brought an action against hospital “X”. A substantial judgment was obtained for Baby Love. In 1989, Alameda County Court placed the recovered funds in a Special Needs Trust, with the proviso that any balance of funds left in the trust at the death of Baby Love would go to Children’s Hospital (again, unrelated to hospital “X”.) There was no legal or other reason that the Court named Children’s Hospital as the beneficiary except that Children’s Hospital is a favorite care facility in Alameda County and no one objected. When Baby Love was 19 years of age, “P” adopted her. Love then died at age 23, with a substantial amount of money still remaining in the trust. Defendant Children’s Hospital requested the remaining funds per the Alameda County Court Order and “P” objected.
In a decision in the Los Angeles County Probate Department, “P” prevailed and received all the remaining funds as the only surviving heir at law of Baby Love. The 19-year old decision of the Alameda County was overruled. The decision was based on Sisco v. Cosgrove and California Probate Code §6100. The Los Angeles Court held that a minor cannot make a will, and the Alameda County Court had no authority to create or authorize a will for a minor. Since “P” was the parent by reason of adoption, she took the estate.