Northern California Record

Monday, February 17, 2020

Appeals court upholds superior court decision in family trust case

By Nicholas Gueguen | May 4, 2017

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SAN FRANCISCO — The California First District Court of Appeal recently decided to uphold the Alameda County Superior Court's decision to end a family trust in Vincente Mozell as trustee etc. vs. Karin Tyson.

In its April 24 decision, the appeals court decided that Mozell did not give up his entitlement to the benefits of the family trust. 

According to the appeals court decision, Jeanette Tyson Anthony, Mozell's mother and Tyson's aunt, had a trust in which Mozell and Tyson would split Anthony's estate, which included a residence in Oakland. The appeals court explained in its decision that these terms were "subject to a life estate in Albert Tyson, Jeanette’s brother and Karin’s father, and a five-year term estate in Andrew Anthony, Jeanette’s husband." 

The appeals court said in its decision that Albert had to give Aron Tyson, Jeanette's other brother, $400 monthly and pay "property taxes, insurance and other assessments on the property" and take care of the residence as part of his estate agreement.

The appeals court said Andrew Anthony had to give Mozell $400 monthly as part of his estate agreement, and Mozell was not allowed to sell the residence until Jeanette's brothers died. The appeals court said Karin Tyson was chosen to be trustee if Mozell could not serve as trustee.

The appeals court said Karin Tyson tried to have Mozell's trustee title taken away from him and alleged that Mozell had "threatened to sell the property and interfere with Albert’s and Andrew’s rights to reside in the property." 

Mozell also filed a petition in which he accused Albert Tyson of breaking the terms of his estate. According to the appeals court decision, he also alleged that "Albert and Karin had wasted trust assets by discarding personal property on the premises, tearing down walls in the basement where Karin resided and building an unpermitted detached structure in the backyard." 

The appeals court said Mozell moved to have Albert Tyson's estate taken away, Karin's title of successor trustee taken away and for both of them to pay damages.

Mozell had asked the superior court to end the family trust and Albert Tyson's estate in August 2015, alleging that Albert Tyson had not paid $1,400 monthly rent as ordered by the court, Andrew Anthony had moved out due to Albert Tyson's interference and neglect of the property and Aron was denying Mozell access. The appeals court said in its decision that "Mozell asked the court to declare that Aron had no right to reside in the property and award damages."

The superior court decided to end the family trust on April 22, 2016. The appeals court decided to uphold the decision because it found Karin Tyson to have a weak appeal. The appeals court decided that her accusation that Mozell had given up his entitlement to trust benefits did not stand because she did not consider "evidence that Mozell paid property expenses, including more than $15,000 in insurance, property taxes and other expenses."

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California 1st District Court of Appeal