Meleski v. Estate of Hotlen, No. C080023, 2018 WL 6241504 (Cal. Ct. App. Nov. 29, 2018): Insurer Defending The Estate Of Its Deceased Insured Under Probate Code May Be Liable For Costs Awarded Under Code Of Civil Procedure Section 998

California Code of Civil Procedure Section 998 allows a party to serve a pre-trial settlement offer and provides certain penalties if the offer is not accepted and the offering party obtains a better result at trial. Less commonly known is California Probate Code Sections 550 through 555 that authorize actions “to establish [a] decedent’s liability for which the decedent was protected by insurance” and limits the liability of the decedent’s insurer liability to covered damages within policy limits. Such suits are brought nominally against the estate of a decedent, but served upon and defended by the decedent’s insurer.

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