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Landmark Trust Law Case in The California Supreme Court

Attorney Mark H. Boykin Wins Case - December 26, 2013

California Supreme Court Rules That a No-Contest Clause in a Trust is Unenforceable Except Under Specific Circumstance

Attorney Mark Boykin prevailed in case heard by the California Supreme Court, Donkin v. Donkin, S202210. Oral arguments were held Wednesday November 6, 2013, at the newly restored historic Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building on the Capitol Mall in Sacramento, CA.

This case involved a no-contest clauses in trust documents and it is likely to have legal implications for many other Trust Law issues. One of the American Bar Association’s top 100 blogs has published a story about the case, read about it on the Continuing Education of the Bar - California (CEB) Blog.

In June of 2012, the California Supreme court granted a Petition for Review of Donkin v Donkin, which was filed by attorney Mark Boykin in May of 2012. The filing may be found here: and the Grant of Review is listed on the CA Courts site.

The full citation and a short review:

#12-65 Donkin v. Donkin, S202210.

(B228704; 204 Cal.App.4th 622; Los Angeles County Superior Court; BP109463.)

Petition for review after the Court of Appeal affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment in a probate proceeding. This case presents the following issues: Did any of the proposed challenges to the disposition of the trust at issue in this case trigger the trust’s no contest clause? Can a challenge that is founded on an alleged breach of fiduciary duty by a trustee violate a no contest clause?

After the Petition for Review, Attorney Boykin filed a Reply Brief on the Merits of the Case on October 15, 2012.

The final outcome of this case has several implication for no contest clauses in cases involving trusts. This case has been highly discussed in legal media.

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