A Napa County judge has ruled that Celeste K. White acted entirely properly handling the estate of her father, which had been the subject of a long-running wine country lawsuit.
In a final court order in the case, signed by Superior Court Judge Monique Langhorne, the court ruled that “all of the accountings (by Celeste White)…are settled, allowed, approved and all acts and transactions…are ratified, confirmed and approved.” The order, entered last August 20, 2020 exonerated White and ended the litigation.
Celeste Keith White had been named co-trustee of the estate of her late father, Ed Keith, after his death in 2006. Mr. Keith had long been a fixture in Napa, with many investments in commercial and residential real estate and a winery property. He left a fortune valued at $92 million, and gave White the responsibility for managing a large portion of a very complex estate, including establishing a charitable foundation.
A prior news coverage had erroneously stated that White’s husband, Dr. Robert White, was named executor of the estate but Celeste K. White and her brother were the estate’s Co-trustees.
White’s sister Lisa Keith, one of her four siblings, later attempted to claim that White had not properly carried out her duties as co-trustee, particularly regarding the management of the foundation. In 2017, Judge Rodney Stone ruled Lisa Keith had no standing regarding the foundation and the foundation claims were struck from the lawsuit. However, despite that loss, Lisa Keith persisted in her other claims and demanded that Celeste White create a probate accounting of the Trust.
White provided a full accounting of her father’s Trust and of her management of the estate, and after a full examination, the court found no evidence to support the plaintiff’s claims. Judge Langhorne’s order sided entirely with Celeste K. White and her diligent management of the estate. The California Attorney General, which had been involved in the case at an earlier stage, also submitted a statement of non-opposition to the order, effectively dropping any role in the matter.
“I’m glad this long ordeal is finally over and that the court recognized that everything I have done since my father’s passing has been in complete accordance with his wishes and my role as trustee,” Celeste K. White said. “I have lived my entire life in Napa County and know how much this region meant to my father. I believe that I managed his estate as he wanted.”
Contact: Sam Singer
Singer Associates Public Relations San Francisco
SOURCE Celeste K. White