June 13, 2014

2014 Probate Court Reception

Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP, firm partners are looking forward to attending the Los Angeles County Bar -Trusts and Estates Section reception honoring the Probate Department of the Los Angeles Superior Court on the evening of June 17, 2014, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, located at 555 West Temple Street, Los Angeles, California 90012.

Trusts and Estates Section members, Probate Court staff, County Counsel, and Judges will all be in attendance.

At Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP we are dedicated to providing efficient, effective, and affordable solutions to clients involved in conservatorship cases, trust and estate disputes, as well as other types of family law issues. We are here to help you and your loved ones. To discuss your needs and discover your options, consult the Los Angeles incapacity and estate planning attorneys at Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP. We serve clients in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, and throughout Southern and Northern California including Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Camarillo, Encino, Hidden Hills, Irvine, Lake Sherwood, Oxnard, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Simi Valley, Tarzana, Thousand Oaks, Torrance, West Los Angeles, and Woodland Hills. Our attorneys are renowned for producing high quality work and working diligently to achieve our client's goals. We have developed a reputation for effective representation in complex and sophisticated matters as we guide you through the complex legal process. We are experienced in obtaining and defending against conservatorships. Contact us by calling (310) 914-3222 in Los Angeles, or (818) 787-1011 in Westlake Village, or by using our online contact form.

If you feel someone close to you would benefit from a conservatorship, contact a knowledgeable Southern California probate lawyer to discuss your concerns. We can be reach at (310) 914-3222, (818) 787-1011, or (714) 280-0601.

California law provides that conservatorships can be created for people who are incapacitated and cannot manage their own affairs. A conservator has many powers and responsibilities, which can include the ability to make medical and financial decisions on the incapacitated person's behalf.

March 28, 2014

Update-Casey Kasem Children Settle Conservatorship Matter

gavel.jpgLos Angeles Superior Court Case Number BP 145805 concerning the Appointment of the Conservatorship over the Person and Temporary Appointment of the Conservatorship over the Person of Casey Kasem had been filed on October 7, 2013. Casey Kasem had been the founder of "America's Top 40".

Update on the Conservatorship Petition alleging that Mr. Kasem has the following problems:

-- major impairment to short term, long term and immediate recall memory
-- major impairment to verbally communicate
-- major impairment to perform simple calculations, plan simple tasks and reason logically.
-- severe disorganized thinking
-- moderate hallucinations

After Mr. Kasem had been checked out by police detectives and social services workers, last fall, as is typical in conservatorship matters.

Previously, Probate Volunteer Panel, Attorney Samuel Ingham, told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Roy Paul that he has visited Mr. Kasem and that he did not see the immediate need for a conservatorship but that he still lacked information about the former radio host's doctors and treatments. Mr. Kasem is suffering from advanced Parkinson's disease, according to court filings by his adult daughter, Julie Kasem.

Judge Roy Paul has postponed any decision in the case until November 19, 2013, in Department 29 of the Los Angeles Superior Court so an investigation can be carried out into Kasem's health and well being. The matter was again continued on December 20, 2013. Later on January 13, 2014, Mr. Ingham filed his PVP Report with the court. Ultimately, given that the an agreement was reached between Mr Kasem's wife and daughter, on January 14, 2014, Judge Lesley C. Green, now presiding in Department 29 of the Los Angeles Superior Court denied the appointment of a conservator, but did grant the motion to seal records

At Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP we are dedicated to providing efficient, effective, and affordable solutions to clients involved in conservatorship cases, trust and estate disputes, as well as other types of family law issues. California law provides that conservatorships can be created for people who are incapacitated and cannot manage their own affairs. A conservator has many powers and responsibilities, which can include the ability to make medical and financial decisions on the incapacitated person's behalf.

At its basic level a conservatorship is a protective court proceeding in which a judge appoints a responsible person (a "conservator") to care for another adult who cannot care for themselves or their finances (a "conservatee"). The difficulties presented by the incapacity of a loved one are significant and the attorneys at Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP the attorneys realize the emotional toll the process can take on all involved. Under Probate Code Section 810 all persons are rebuttably presumed to have the capacity to make their own decisions and be responsible for their actions. We assist families throughout Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura Counties, confronted with the permanent or temporary incapacity of a loved one by establishing and administering conservatorships.

In the event a person becomes unable to manage their own care or their finances, and does not have certain estate planning documents in place, a conservatorship proceeding may be necessary. A person may become incapacitated for many reasons, illness or disease such as Alzheimers or an accident.

If appropriate, the Court may appoint a conservator of the person, a conservator of the estate, or a conservator of both the person and estate of an adult [Prob. Code § 1800.3(a)(1)].

We can help individuals and families facing the prospect of obtaining a conservatorship or if appropriate contest the appointment of a conservator.

Probate Code Section 1800.3 provides:

If the need therefor is established to the satisfaction of the court and the other requirements of this chapter are satisfied, the court may appoint:
A conservator of the person or estate of an adult, or both.
A conservator of the person of a minor who is married or whose marriage has been dissolved.
No conservatorship of the person or of the estate shall be granted by the court unless the court makes an express finding that the granting of the conservatorship is the least restrictive alternative needed for the protection of the conservatee.

We are here to help you and your loved ones. To discuss your needs and discover your options, consult the Los Angeles incapacity and estate planning attorneys at Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP. We serve clients in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, and throughout Southern and Northern California including Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Camarillo, Culver City, Encino, Hidden Hills, Irvine, Lake Sherwood, Oxnard, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Simi Valley, Tarzana, Thousand Oaks, Torrance, West Lake Village, West Los Angeles, and Woodland Hills. Our attorneys are renowned for producing high quality work and working diligently to achieve our client's goals. We have developed a reputation for effective representation in complex and sophisticated matters as we guide you through the complex legal process. We are experienced in obtaining and defending against conservatorships. Contact us by calling (310) 914-3222 in Los Angeles, or (818) 787-1011 in Westlake Village, or by using our online contact form.

March 19, 2014

Trust and Estates Section: Lunch with The Probate Judges

Thumbnail image for gavel_bw.jpgOn March 18, 2014, the panel of Probate Judges discussed the current state of Probate Court in Los Angeles County and addressed questions and concerns submitted by members of the Beverly Hills Bar Association. Fortunately seven of the nine probate judges in Central District were able to attend the lunch at Lawry's in Beverly Hills. The Judges present were:

Supervising Judge Michael I. Levanas (Department 5)
Judge Reva G. Goetz (Department 9)
Judge Maria E. Stratton (Department 5)
Commissioner David J. Cowan (Department 9)
Judge Lesley C. Green (Department11)
Judge David S. Cunningham (Department 29)
Judge Daniel S. Murphy (Department 29)

Overall a very informative presentation that was attended by firm partner and probate practitioner, Yasha Bronshteyn.

The Timothy Whitehouse Award was presented to Dana Hopkins for his outstanding contribution to the practice of Trusts & Estates over a long and distinguished career.

At Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP we are dedicated to providing efficient, effective, and affordable solutions to clients involved in conservatorship cases, trust and estate disputes, as well as other types of family law issues. We are here to help you and your loved ones. To discuss your needs and discover your options, consult the Los Angeles incapacity and estate planning attorneys at Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP. We serve clients in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, and throughout Southern and Northern California including Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Camarillo, Encino, Hidden Hills, Irvine, Lake Sherwood, Oxnard, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Simi Valley, Tarzana, Thousand Oaks, Torrance, West Los Angeles, and Woodland Hills. Our attorneys are renowned for producing high quality work and working diligently to achieve our client's goals. We have developed a reputation for effective representation in complex and sophisticated matters as we guide you through the complex legal process. We are experienced in obtaining and defending against conservatorships. Contact us by calling (310) 914-3222 in Los Angeles, or (818) 787-1011 in Westlake Village, or by using our online contact form.

February 26, 2014

Judges Panel: Avoiding the Most Common Evidentiary Mistakes

On February 25, 2014, firm partner and probate practitioner, Yasha Bronshteyn attended the Judges' Panel presented by the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles. Speakers included Hon. Amy Hogue, Hon. Michael Johnson, Hon. Mary Ann Murphy, Hon. Dan Oki, and Hon. Frederick Shaller. The program provided a panel discussion of judges about the most common evidentiary mistakes made by trial attorneys and how to avoid them.

Key issues discussed included; Proper use of motions in limine to exclude evidence;
Use of evidence in opening statements; Philosophy and game plan for objections at trial;
Decorum/ Judges pet peeves; Oral/speaking objections; Laying the foundation for documents; Hearsay; Hearsay in documents; Use of depositions; Use of Experts; Requests for Judicial Notice; and Evidence in change of venue motions.

At Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP we are dedicated to providing efficient, effective, and affordable solutions to clients involved in conservatorship cases, trust and estate disputes, as well as other types of family law issues. We are here to help you and your loved ones. To discuss your needs and discover your options, consult the
Los Angeles incapacity and estate planning attorneys at Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP. We serve clients in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, and throughout Southern and Northern California including Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Camarillo, Encino, Hidden Hills, Irvine, Lake Sherwood, Oxnard, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Simi Valley, Tarzana, Thousand Oaks, Torrance, West Los Angeles, and Woodland Hills. Our attorneys are renowned for producing high quality work and working diligently to achieve our client's goals. We have developed a reputation for effective representation in complex and sophisticated matters as we guide you through the complex legal process. We are experienced in obtaining and defending against conservatorships. Contact us by calling (310) 914-3222 in Los Angeles, or (818) 787-1011 in Westlake Village, or by using our online contact form.

December 31, 2013

Hearings - Probate Court Division Update


Effective Jan. 1, 2014, pursuant to Government Code section 68086, the Court will collect a $30 fee for the services of an official court reporter, for each proceeding lasting one hour or less.

The Family Law and Probate divisions will collect the $30 court reporter fee at the time any document is filed that requires the Court to schedule a proceeding. The fee is due in addition to any other fee required and is the responsibility of the party or parties requesting that the proceeding be scheduled.

At Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP we are dedicated to providing efficient, effective, and affordable solutions to clients involved in conservatorship cases, trust and estate disputes, as well as other types of family law issues. We are here to help you and your loved ones. To discuss your needs and discover your options, consult the Los Angeles incapacity and estate planning attorneys at Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP. We serve clients in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, and throughout Southern and Northern California including Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Camarillo, Encino, Hidden Hills, Irvine, Lake Sherwood, Oxnard, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Simi Valley, Tarzana, Thousand Oaks, Torrance, West Los Angeles, and Woodland Hills. Our attorneys are renowned for producing high quality work and working diligently to achieve our client's goals. We have developed a reputation for effective representation in complex and sophisticated matters as we guide you through the complex legal process. We are experienced in obtaining and defending against conservatorships. Contact us by calling (310) 914-3222 in Los Angeles, or (818) 787-1011 in Westlake Village, or by using our online contact form.

December 18, 2013

New Supervising Judges for the Probate Departments

Current update to the roster of Probate Judges in Los Angeles County.

Presiding Judge David M. Wesley has named new supervising judges for the Probate Departments and South District of the Los Angeles Superior Court, effective January 1, 2014.

Judge Michael I. Levanas, currently assigned to Department 11 of the Central District of the Los Angeles Superior Court was named supervising judge of probate and Judge Michael Vicencia was named to helm the Long Beach-based district of the court. They replace Judges Mitchell L. Beckloff, currently assigned to Department 5 of the Central District of Los Angeles Superior Court and James Otto, respectively.

Judge Wesley explained in a memo to judicial officers that the court will not be conducting its usual widespread movement of judicial officers at the beginning of the new year.

"We are making very few changes at this time," he wrote. "What it simply means is that we anticipate making more assignment changes throughout the year as the Governor fills some of the 27 judicial vacancies that currently exist."

Wesley added:

"Thus the assignment process will continue throughout 2014, using the preference sheet that you submitted as one of our guides, along with the needs of the court. In the meantime, I think you for your continued hard work and support in this challenging economic climate."

Probate Court is a Court of General Jurisdiction that includes, but is not limited to the following proceedings:

Accountings
Decedents' estates
Trust proceedings
Guardianship proceedings
Conservatorship proceedings
Minor's compromises
Will Contests

At Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP we are dedicated to providing efficient, effective, and affordable solutions to clients involved in conservatorship cases, financial elder abuse, trust and estate disputes, will contests, as well as other types of family law issues. We are here to help you and your loved ones. To discuss your needs and discover your options, consult the Los Angeles incapacity and estate planning attorneys at Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP. We serve clients in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, and throughout Southern and Northern California including Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Camarillo, Encino, Hidden Hills, Irvine, Lake Sherwood, Oxnard, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Simi Valley, Tarzana, Thousand Oaks, Torrance, West Los Angeles, and Woodland Hills. Our attorneys are renowned for producing high quality work and working diligently to achieve our client's goals. We have developed a reputation for effective representation in complex and sophisticated matters as we guide you through the complex legal process. We are experienced in obtaining and defending against conservatorships. Contact us by calling (310) 914-3222 in Los Angeles, or (818) 787-1011 in Westlake Village, or by using our online contact form.

October 21, 2013

Casey Kasem Children File for Conservatorship

gavel.jpgLos Angeles Superior Court Case Number BP 145805 concerning the Appointment of the Conservatorship over the Person and Temporary Appointment of the Conservatorship over the Person of Casey Kasem had been filed on October 7, 2013. Casey Kasem had been the founder of "America's Top 40".

Julie Kasem filed the Conservatorship Petition and the Petition for a Temporary Conservatorship, accusing Mr. Kasem's wife of blocking her and her siblings from seeing their father and preventing them from making decisions about his medical care. Additionally, the Conservatorship Petition alleges that Mr. Kasem has the following problems:

-- major impairment to short term, long term and immediate recall memory
-- major impairment to verbally communicate
-- major impairment to perform simple calculations, plan simple tasks and reason logically.
-- severe disorganized thinking
-- moderate hallucinations

It appears that Mr. Kasem has been checked out by police detectives and social services workers as is typical in conservatorship matters.

Counsel for Kasem's wife of 33 years urged Judge Roy Paul of Department 29, to reject Julie Kasem's petition outright saying the efforts by her and her siblings were hurting his client and the radio host. He said a 2007 document that appointed Julie Kasem as an overseer of her father's medical care had been superseded by 2011 estate planning documents.

Probate Volunteer Panel, Attorney Samuel Ingham, told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Roy Paul that he has visited Mr. Kasem and that he did not see the immediate need for a conservatorship but that he still lacked information about the former radio host's doctors and treatments. Mr. Kasem is suffering from advanced Parkinson's disease, according to court filings by his adult daughter, Julie Kasem.

Judge Roy Paul has postponed any decision in the case until November 19, 2013, in Department 29 of the Los Angeles Superior Court so an investigation can be carried out into Kasem's health and well being.

At Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP we are dedicated to providing efficient, effective, and affordable solutions to clients involved in conservatorship cases, trust and estate disputes, as well as other types of family law issues. We are here to help you and your loved ones. To discuss your needs and discover your options, consult the Los Angeles incapacity and estate planning attorneys at Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP. We serve clients in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, and throughout Southern and Northern California including Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Camarillo, Encino, Hidden Hills, Irvine, Lake Sherwood, Oxnard, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Simi Valley, Tarzana, Thousand Oaks, Torrance, West Los Angeles, and Woodland Hills. Our attorneys are renowned for producing high quality work and working diligently to achieve our client's goals. We have developed a reputation for effective representation in complex and sophisticated matters as we guide you through the complex legal process. We are experienced in obtaining and defending against conservatorships. Contact us by calling (310) 914-3222 in Los Angeles, or (818) 787-1011 in Westlake Village, or by using our online contact form.

October 17, 2013

New bill that will increase protection for Elders who are exploited by "undue influence."

Elder abuse is the physical, emotional, financial, sexual mistreatment or neglect of our elders. Abuse may occur at the hands of the very people entrusted with the care of an elder, such as caregivers and nursing home staff, or may be caused by family members, trusted advisors, or strangers. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, approximately one to two million Americans aged 65 or older have been the victim of elder abuse. According to a MetLife study, financial abuse robbed elder Americans of an estimated $2.9 billion in 2010, up 12 percent from 2008.

Fortunately, on October 9, 2013, California Governor Brown signed AB 140 into law.

AB 140 gives a new definition for California's undue influence statue, which has not been changed since its enactment in 1872. The AB 140 modernization means that there is now greater protections for elders and dependent adults because the new definition of undue influence allows a court to consider:

(1) the vulnerability of the victim,

(2) the influencer's apparent authority,

(3) the use of manipulative and unfair tactics and,

(4) whether an inequitable economic consequence resulted.


Because of AB 140, California's definition of undue influence is now consistent with contemporary views of vulnerability, mental health, and fairness; AB 140 brings greater clarity to the determination of when excessive persuasion becomes exploitative.

If you have questions about a loved one's mental capacity, call the law firm of Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP at (310) 914-3222 or (818) 787-1011. Our knowledgeable Los Angeles probate and trust litigation attorneys are available to help individuals throughout Southern California with all of their estate litigation needs. The skilled lawyers at Ginzburg & Bronshteyn represent clients in Hollywood, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, and Beverly Hills. To discuss your estate litigation matter with an experienced attorney, do not hesitate to contact Ginzburg & Bronshteyn online today.

September 2, 2013

Trust and Wills Disputes - Under California Law

IMG-20120406-00236.jpg

Estate of Stoker - filed March 3, 2011, Second District, Div. Six. Cite as 2011 S.O.S. 1274

This case involves two issues under California Law that are seen and dealt with in the Probate Code.

One issue is the required "Notification by Trustee" to all beneficiaries and heirs-at-law upon a trust [or portion thereof] becoming irrevocable [see California Probate Code Section 16061.7].
The operative language of such a notice is:

"No person upon whom the notification by the trustee is
served pursuant to this chapter may bring an action to
contest the trust more than 120 days from the date the
notification by the trustee is served upon him or her, or 60
days from the day on which a copy of the terms of the
trust is mailed or personally delivered to him or her
during that 120-day period, whichever is later."

The time line was as follows: On May 22, 1997, decedent executed a will and nominated Gularte to be the executor of his estate. In article two of the will, he listed Karotick and Gularte as the beneficiaries of gifts of personal property. In article three, he stated, "I give the residue of my estate to the trustee of the 1997 Steven Wayne Stoker Revocable Trust, created under the declaration of trust executed on the same date as, but immediately before, the execution of this will . . . ." Gularte was listed as the successor trustee of that trust. Decedent died on February 27, 2008.

On March 17, 2008, Gularte filed a petition to probate the will and requested that she be appointed the executor.

On March 18, Gularte served a notice to decedent's children (respondents) that pursuant to sections 16061.7 and 16061.8, they had 120 days to bring an action to contest the trust.

On March 25, Pradia filed an objection to Gularte's petition to probate the 1997 will and claimed that her father had executed a more recent will. She objected to Gularte being appointed executor.

On April 28, respondents filed a petition to probate a handwritten will signed by their father on August 28, 2005.

In Stoker, the court held that, where the petition to admit the will to probate had the practical effect of challenging an earlier trust, the filing of the petition was an "action to contest the trust" within the meaning of California Probate Code Sec. 16061, which requires that such an action be brought within 120 days following service of notice by the trustee.

The Court held that the petition to probate the 2005 will is, "in practical effect," an action challenging the validity of the trust. (Silberman v. Swoap, supra, 50 Cal.App.3d at p. 571.) Respondents' petition was timely filed within the 120-day period. Filing a second petition labeled as an action to contest the trust would amount to unnecessary duplication.

The second issue of Estate of Stoker was California Probate Code Section 6110(c)(2) (once again effective January 1, 2009) which allows, where a will is not executed in compliance with the statutory requirements for witnesses, that "the will shall be treated as if it was executed in compliance with [the requirements for witnesses] if the proponent of the will establishes by clear and convincing evidence that, at the time the testator signed the will, the testator intended the will to constitute the testator's will."

The simple facts of the case concerning revocation of the will are: Steven Wayne Stoker signed a will in 1997. In it he left some items of personal property to friends, but the residue (and bulk) of his estate was to go to the Steven Wayne Stoker Revocable Trust, which he had signed that same day. The trust named his girlfriend, Destiny Gularte, as trustee and beneficiary. At some point they had a break up. Gretchen Landry, a friend of decedent's, testified that in 2001 decedent took Mr. Stoker original copy of the 1997 will, urinated on it and then burned it. The Court felt that decedent's actions lead to the compelling conclusion he intended to revoke the 1997 will.

The appellate Court held that the trial court did not err in admitting it to probate under Section 6110(c)(2) based on clear and convincing evidence of decedent's intent in the form of testimony by two witnesses who saw him sign it. Public policy in favor of validating wills that reflect decedents' intent supports retroactive application of Sec. 6110(c)(2) [which was effective as of January 1, 2009] to wills executed before its effective date. Lack of testamentary language, the absence of the use of the word "will," or reference to death did not preclude finding that document was intended by decedent to be his will.

To discuss your needs and discover your options, consult the Los Angeles incapacity and estate planning attorneys at Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP. We help clients throughout Southern California, including Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Encino, Hidden Hills, Irvine, Oxnard, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Thousand Oaks, Torrance, West Los Angeles, Westlake Village, and Woodland Hills to navigate the stressful course of trust and estate disputes, to create complete estate plans to protect them against a variety of life events, including incapacity. To contact our hardworking attorneys, please contact Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP online or call us at (310) 914-3222 or (818) 787-1011.

August 31, 2013

Probate Court Updates in Ventura County and Orange County

Ventura County Probate Court Updates

Effective January 22, 2013, in the Superior Court, County of Ventura all Elder Abuse cases assigned to and heard in Courtroom 21 will be Assigned to and heard in Courtroom 32 on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. Ex-parte requests for temporary orders will be heard daily in Courtroom 32 at 11:30 a.m.

All probate matters are filed and heard at the Juvenile and Probate Courthouse in Oxnard. Hearings for Conservatorships are set Tuesdays at 9:00 a.m. Hearings on Wills and Trusts are set Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9:00 a.m. Hearings for Guardianship of the estate and person or the estate only are set Tuesdays through Fridays at 9:00 a.m.

Effective September 1, 2013, the Ventura Superior Court will collect a $5.00 Service Fee for all VISA and MasterCard payments that are accepted in person at the point of sale pursuant to California Rules of Court, Rule 10.820, Government Code, Section 6159 and applicable VISA and MasterCard merchant rules.

Given all of the ongoing budget issues in California and lack of funding at the local level, additional charges have been added and may be added in the future. Information about these and other changes can be found on the Ventura County Superior Court's website at www.ventura.courts.ca.gov.

As an example of these new charges effects Wills. The clerk's office will accept wills after the person who wrote it is deceased. There is a $50 fee for lodging a will with the court.

Orange County Probate Court Updates

The Santa Ana Courthouse stopped accepting family law case filings June 28, 2013, and all family law cases will be transferred to the Lamoureaux Justice Center at 341 The City Drive South in Orange.

All Probate and Mental Health cases previously being handled at the Lamoureaux Justice Center located at 341 The City Drive in Orange will be moved to the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana located at 700 Civic Center Drive West, Santa Ana, CA 92701.

Orange County court officials said the adjustments were necessary because of a lack of state funding.

The Law Offices of Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP are dedicated to providing efficient and effective solutions to clients involved in conservatorships, elder abuse matters, trust and estate disputes, as well as family law issues. We serve clients in Los Angeles, Orange County, Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, and throughout Northern California. Our attorneys are renowned for producing high quality work and working diligently to achieve our client's goals. Over the years we have developed a reputation for effective representation in complex and sophisticated matters. Contact us by calling (310) 914-3222 in Los Angeles, (818) 787-1011 in Westlake Village, (714) 280-0601 on Orange County, or by using our online contact form.

August 23, 2013

Appeals Court-Mother Lacked Standing to Appeal Probate Court's Order Relating to Her Son's Rights

gavel_bw.jpgA brief summary of the recent decision the California Court of Appeal- Second District, Division Three.

Conservatorship of Gregory D. (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 62. Filed March 5, 2013.

The background in this case is that Gregory is a developmentally disabled adult, in his mid-20s. He was diagnosed with autism as a child. His parents, Joseph D. (Joseph) and Linda, obtained a divorce, and Gregory resided with each of his parents, at their respective homes, on alternating weeks. In 2005, Gregory reached the age of majority (18). In 2008, he moved into his own apartment, with supportive services which enable him to live independently.

In 2004, Linda and Joseph filed competing petitions to be named as the limited conservator of their son Gregory. In 2005, they entered into a settlement agreement setting the terms for Gregory's limited conservatorship. Pursuant to said settlement agreement, Joseph withdrew his petition for conservatorship and stipulated to Linda's appointment as Gregory's conservator.

Linda contended that the visitation order of November 18, 2011, violated Gregory's constitutional rights to liberty and privacy; the order directing termination of My Life Foundation as Gregory's supported living services care provider was in excess of the trial court's jurisdiction; and the order mandating disclosure of Gregory's medical, financial and personal records to his parents violates Gregory's constitutional and statutory rights of privacy.

Ultimately, the issue for the Honorable Court to determine was whether Linda has standing to assert these arguments.

The Court determined that the Conservatee's mother lacked standing to appeal order on conservators' petition setting his visitation schedule, directing change in his living services vendor and ordering disclosure of his personal, medical and financial records. Mother, who alleged only violations of nonappealing adult conservatee's rights, was not an aggrieved party for purposes of appeal under Code of Civil Procedure section 902. "`One is considered "aggrieved" whose rights or interests are injuriously affected by the judgment.' (County of Alameda v. Carleson (1971) 5 Cal.3d 730, 737 [97 Cal.Rptr. 385, 488 P.2d 953] ....) Conversely, `A party who is not aggrieved by an order or judgment has no standing to attack it on appeal.' (Niles v. City of San Rafael (1974) 42 Cal.App.3d 230, 244 [116 Cal.Rptr. 733].)" (El Dorado Irrigation Dist. v. State Water Resources Control Bd. (2006) 142 Cal.App.4th 937, 977 [48 Cal.Rptr.3d 468], italics omitted.)

The Court determined Probate Code section 1829, pertaining to the establishment of a conservatorship, provides: "Any of the following persons may appear at the hearing to support or oppose the petition: [¶] (a) The proposed conservatee. [¶] (b) The spouse or registered domestic partner of the proposed conservatee. [¶] (c) A relative of the proposed conservatee. [¶] (d) Any interested person or friend of the proposed conservatee." (Italics added.)

This provision entitled Linda to participate in the conservatorship proceeding in the court below. However, merely because Linda was authorized to appear in the matter did not mean she was entitled to prosecute an appeal from the trial court's order.

The Law Offices of Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP are dedicated to providing efficient and effective solutions to clients involved in conservatorships, elder abuse matters, trust and estate disputes, as well as family law issues. We serve clients in Los Angeles, Orange County, Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, and throughout Northern California. Our attorneys are renowned for producing high quality work and working diligently to achieve our client's goals. Over the years we have developed a reputation for effective representation in complex and sophisticated matters. Contact us by calling (310) 914-3222 in Los Angeles, or (818) 787-1011 in Westlake Village, or by using our online contact form.

June 24, 2013

Beneficiary's action to invalidate trust amendments based on lack of capacity and undue influence.

A brief summary of the recent decision the the California Court of Appeal- In the Third Appellant District Case No. C068747
Drake v. Pinkham filed May 28, 2013, publication ordered June 21, 2013,

Beneficiary's action to invalidate trust amendments based on lack of capacity and undue influence was barred by laches where the facts alleged by beneficiary were known to her five years before she filed the action, and the delay was necessarily prejudicial because the settlor had died.

Plaintiff Rosina Jeanne Drake (Gina) appealed from a summary judgment motion which had been entered in favor of defendants, Janice and Daniel Pinkham, Gina's sister and brother-in-law, on Gina's petition to invalidate two amendments to a revocable trust (Prob. Code, 17200), for a declaration that defendants predeceased the decedent (§259, subd. (a)), for imposition of a constructive trust, and for damages. The trial court found that six of the eight causes of action alleged in the petition were barred by the applicable statutes of limitation, and the remaining causes of action are barred by principles of collateral estoppel.

Ultimately, Gina should have acted earlier as she simply waited too long as there was no dispute that Gina knew or should have known of the facts giving rise to the causes of action no later than August 2006, yet for some reason she delayed in filing the underlying petition until March 2010, after Josephine's death.

Section 17200, subdivision (a), allows a trustee or beneficiary of a trust to petition the court concerning the trust's internal affairs except as provided in section 15800. "Section 15800 states in pertinent part that during the time that a trust is revocable and the person holding the power to revoke the trust is competent: [¶] (a) The person holding the power to revoke, and not the beneficiary, has the rights afforded beneficiaries under this division. [¶] (b) The duties of the trustee are owed to the person holding the power to revoke." The limitation placed on the rights of a beneficiary by section 15800 is consistent with the principle that [p]roperty transferred into a revocable inter vivos trust is considered the property of the settlor for the settlor's lifetime,and thus, the beneficiaries interest in that property is merely potential and can evaporate in a moment at the whim of the [settlor]. (Estate of Giraldin (2012) 55 Cal.4th 1058, 1065-1066.)

Under § 17200 and §15800 a beneficiary lacks standing to challenge a trust so long as the rust is revocable and the person holding the power to revoke the trust is competent. In this case Gina petitioned the trial court in 2005 to confirm her appointment as an acting co-trustee based on Josephine's alleged incompetency and defendants alleged undue influence over her. The allegation of Josephine's incompetency took this case outside the terms of § 15800. The introductory clause of subdivision (a) has the effect of giving the right to petition concerning the internal affairs of a revocable living trust to the settlor (or other person holding the power to revoke) instead of the beneficiaries during the time that the settlor (or other person holding the power to revoke) is competent. When the settlor or donee lacks the requisite mental capacity different rules and Probate Code Subsections apply. The Appelate Court determined that nothing in Probate Code Section §17200 or §15800 precluded Gina from bringing the underlying action prior to Josephine' s death. That she would have had the burden of proving Josephine' s incompetence to establish her standing to pursue those claims does not excuse her delay.

The Court also determined that Gina's failure to bring the action until after Josephine had passed away was necessarily prejudicial where, as here, each and every cause of action set forth in the underlying petition centered on Josephine -- her mental capacity, defendant's influence over her, and her understanding of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments and her estate. (See Bono v. Clark (2002) 103 Cal.App.4th 1409, 1420 [the death of an important witness may constitute prejudice]; Stafford v. Ballinger (1962) 199 Cal.App.2d 289, 296 [same].)

At Ginzburg & Bronshteyn we are dedicated to providing efficient, effective, and affordable solutions to clients involved in trust and estate disputes, as well as other types of family law issues. We serve clients in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, and throughout Southern and Northern California. Our attorneys are renowned for producing high quality work and working diligently to achieve our client's goals. Over the years we have developed a reputation for effective representation in complex and sophisticated matters. Contact us by calling (310) 914-3222 in Los angeles, or (818) 787-1011 in Westlake Village, or by using our online contact form.

June 12, 2013

Conservators and guardians: personal rights of conservatees.

Just recently the Assembly approved Bob Wieckowski Bills concerning the personal rights of conservatees.

On May 16, 2013, the California State Assembly approved three bills and a resolution authored by Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski, a Democrat representing the 25th District in Fremont, including items to protect the rights of conservatees and urge congressional action on student loan debt. All four measures now head to the state Senate.

The purpose of AB 937, which was overwhelmingly approved 68-3, is to protect conservatees from conservators who are overstepping their bounds.

A California conservatorship exists when a judge appoints a responsible person or other entity to care for an adult who can no longer manage their own financial matters or care for themselves. After a conservator is appointed by a court, he or she is responsible for the conservatee's protection and care as well as the management of the individual's assets.

"Some conservators have interpreted their power of having 'the care, custody, and control of' a conservatee to mean absolute control," Wieckowski said. "They completely isolate the conservatee from the outside world - no phone calls and no personal letters from a partner, family members or friends. This bill would prevent that."

AB 937 states that unless a court has ordered otherwise, a conservatee keeps the right to receive phone calls, personal mail and visits from family and friends. The bill is supported by long term care ombudsmen across the state.

If you feel someone close to you would benefit from a knowledgeable conservatorship attorney please call our offices at (310) 914-3222 in Los Angeles or (818) 787-1011 in Westlake Villge.

April 26, 2013

Conservatorship of Zsa Zsa Gabor

Gabor.jpgUpdate to a post from 2012 concerning the Conservatorship of Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Previously, Gabor's only child, 64-year-old Constance Francesca Hilton, asked a California court to establish a conservatorship to mange her mother's care and protect her assets. Zsa Zsa Gabor's daughter filed a conservatorship petition to gain control over her mother's assets after she accused Gabor's husband, Frederic von Anhalt, of mishandling the estate. Hilton also asked that she be appointed her mother's conservator. Last year, Hilton alleged in her court filing that von Anhalt isolated Gabor from family and friends and she was concerned because her mother appeared to be heavily sedated during each of her last two visits. Gabor's husband of 25 years, 68-year-old Frederic Prinz von Anhalt, opposed Hilton's petition. Von Anhalt countered that Hilton was unfit to serve as conservator and accused her of abusing a previous power of attorney.

It appears that recently, the Honorable Judge Reva Goetz, of the Los Angeles Superior Court, Central District has issued a one-page order that would extend the Frederic von Anhalt's conservatorship over Zsa Zsa Gabor and her assets. The Judge Goetz originally appointed von Anhalt to be Gabor's temporary conservator on July 11, 2012. The new order would extend the conservatorship until August 21, 2013.

Last summer, in a court filing, a doctor who evaluated Gabor cautioned that it was in the aging actress's best interests to remain in a familiar environment. Dr. Debra Judelson described Gabor as bedridden and largely unresponsive. Judelson stated the actress became agitated whenever she was removed from the familiarity of her own bedroom. The doctor also reportedly witnessed Gabor calm down when her husband spoke to her or touched her hand.

A California conservatorship exists when a judge appoints a responsible person or other entity to care for an adult who can no longer manage their own financial matters or care for themselves. After a conservator is appointed by a court, he or she is responsible for the conservatee's protection and care as well as the management of the individual's assets. In general, a spouse or domestic partner, relative, interested governmental entity, interested person or friend, or the conservatee may request a California conservatorship. If you feel someone close to you would benefit from a conservatorship, contact a knowledgeable Southern California probate lawyer to discuss your concerns. We can be reach at (310 914-3222 or (714) 280-0601.

California law provides that conservatorships can be created for people who are incapacitated and cannot manage their own affairs. A conservator has many powers and responsibilities, which can include the ability to make medical and financial decisions on the incapacitated person's behalf.

April 11, 2013

Lunch with The Probate Judges ~ Trust & Estates Section

sf-crt.bmpFirm partner, Yasha Bronshteyn was in attendance at The Beverly Hills Bar Association sponsored Lunch with the Probate Judges on March 19, 2013, at Lawry's in Beverly Hills. Supervising Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff, Judge Reva G. Goetz, Judge Michael I. Levanas, and Judge Roy Paul were part of the distinguished panel and addressed questions and concerns which were submitted by the Trust & Estates Members Section.

In essence California's budget crisis is bringing about drastic change at the courts, affecting practitioners of all types, including those handling trust & estate litigation, special needs trusts, trust contests, fiduciary accounting, trust accounting, probate administration, conservatorships, and elder abuse.

NEW PROBATE CASE FILINGS

Effective April 8, 2013, except as to those cases that may be filed in the North
District (which is Lancaster) pursuant to LASC Local Rule 2.3 (a)(1)(B), all Los Angeles Superior Court probate cases must be filed in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, located at 111 N. Hill St., Los Angeles, California 90012.

TRANSFER OF EXISTING PROBATE CASES

There will be no transfer of existing probate cases from the North District. In all other districts, on June 10, 2013, all probate cases pending in district courthouses will be transferred to Department 29 in the Central District. Individual transfer notices for each reassigned case will be sent to the petitioning parties.

 
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