Brief Fact Summary. Petitioners filed a claim against decedent’s estate seeking compensation for personal services performed for the decedent during her lifetime. Respondent and executor of decedent’s estate alleges that summary judgment is proper as the Petitioners were already paid for their services when he turned over CDs that the parties held as joint tenants with right of survivorship.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Services performed by non-family members for a decedent are presumed not gratuitous and entitled to compensation from the decedent’s estate. Property transferred by joint tenants with right of survivorship is presumed to be a gift.
On review, this court must determine de novo if the trial court correctly decided that no genuine issue of material fact exists.View Full Point of Law
Held. No. Based on several legal presumptions and the lack of evidence to show a connection the CDs received by the Petitioners were a gift and therefore Petitioners have a valid claim against the decedent’s estate for the value of the services performed.
Discussion. It is presumed that services knowingly and voluntarily accepted by a person during their lifetime from non-family members are not gratuitous and are entitled to compensation. It is also presumed that property transferred by joint tenancy with right of survivorship is a gift. With bare allegations and no evidence Petitioner was entitled to rely on these presumptions and avoid Respondent’s motion for summary judgment.