SAN JOSE — A trial court’s denial for a plaintiff’s request to partition by sale a family-owned piece of property has been affirmed.
The California Sixth District Court of Appeal found no error in the denial of plaintiff Michael Taylor against his sister and defendant Lea Taylor Babcock to partition by sale the property of their deceased mother June Taylor, according to a June 23 ruling.
The quarrel between the kin began two months after their mother died in 2014. Taylor attempted to partition by sale her residential property in Ben Lomond that was purchased in 1992, arguing by complaint that both kin held 50 percent interest in the property. However, Taylor allegedly severed the agreement with his sibling and amended his complaint to claim a 75 percent interest in the property.
But Babcock fought back in a 2016 at a bench trial for her 50 percent. Representing herself successfully, the trial court ruled that she owned that percentage of the property, pending a Bank of America lien. Babcock showed that from 1992 to the year of her death, her mother attempted to have the title of the property transferred to her, but it continuously failed since Babcock’s name was not on the original loan.
“During the last few years of decedent’s life after she had moved in with [the] plaintiff, attempts were made to establish a conservatorship and to transfer ownership of the Ben Lomond property by passing [the] decedent’s previous wishes,” the appeals court said in its opinion. "It further found a lien on the property recorded by plaintiff’s attorneys of record in the conservatorship proceeding (DiJulio Law Group) void and ordered that the lien be removed immediately."
Finding Babcock responsible for reimbursing the decedent’s estate to her brother because he was the beneficiary, for mortgage, tax and insurance costs, it authorized the lien for the amount owed. Appealing on "ambiguous" grounds, Michael Taylor argued that the court “failed to specifically identify any finding of fact or identify evidence upon which it relied, and it did not correctly reflect the evidence presented at trial,” according to the opinion.
The appeals court said Taylor failed to provide adequate documents regarding the short bench trial.
“The trial court’s decision was not based on the chain of recorded title," the appeals court said in its decision. "It is clear from the written decision that the trial court relied, at least in part, on external influences impacting [the] decedent’s capacity to execute grant deeds after moving in with [the] plaintiff in 2012, near the end of her life.”
The appeals court said its standard of review requires all evidence presented to the trial court.
“Without a showing of error in the record on appeal, we necessarily resolve the challenge to the trial court’s judgment in favor of [the] defendant,” according to the appeals court decision.