Q: in a probate code section 850 and 859 petition does the respondent have to pay double damages for the stolen property
respondents stole all estate items claiming that the decedent was their step father. They were found to have no standing to contest the will because the decedent was not their step father. he did not adopt them nor raise them. they sold vehicles and all his tangible items. and have pocketed the money.
A: Probate Code section 859 provides that an estate thief “shall be liable for twice the value of the property recovered,” and may also be liable for legal expenses incurred to recover the property, if you can prove the wrongdoer took the asset in bad faith, through undue influence, or through the commission of financial elder abuse. See Conservatorship of Ribal (2019) 31 Cal.App.5th 519, for a discussion of section 859.
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