Articles Posted in Conservatorships

On January 8, 2019, Yasha Bronshteyn, Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, APC partner and litigator attended the SFVBA Probate & Estate Planning Section: Hot Topics in Bad Faith Objections presented by the San Fernando Valley Bar Association.

Accounting issues and disputes are common in Conservatorship and Trust matters.  A recent case on point is discussed below.

Probate Code Section 2100:

Attorney Yasha Bronshteyn of Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP successfully completed a conservatorship trial in the Los Angeles Superior Court, Central Branch. Judge William Barry presided over the trial. Dr. David Trader, a geriatric psychiatry specialist provided key testimony.

Issues / arguments at trial included:

The Petition to Transfer is in proper compliance with California Probate Code Section 2001 et seq., which states that a conservator appointed in California may petition the court to transfer the conservatorship to another state, assuming certain requirements are met. Prob. Code §2001.

Firm partner, Yasha Bronshteyn, litigating Conservatorship and Trust Matters, is looking forward to the Los Angeles County Bar Association Presentation on March 16, 2018, by Judge Klein and Judge Johnson of the Los Angeles Superior Court Probate Department.  Judge Klein presides in Department 9 and Judge Johnson presides in Department 11.  They will discuss their top 10 problems with probate and trust pleadings, accounting, and proposed orders and how to avoid them.  Cleary, appropraite counsel is required to efficiently and effectively navigate these sort of proceedings.

Next, On March 22, 2018, the Ventura County Bar Association – Probate and Estate Planning Section will present “Uncovering the Truth in Contested Proceedings”.  The Ventura Probate program is based on the notion that while most executors carry out their duties in good faith and to the best of their abilities’, there is a small but critical percentage that exploit their position of power.  Such such their is wrongdoing and fraud is at times committed against beneficiaries.  There have been an unacceptable amount of victims in such situations.  The program will focus on protecting beneficiaries’ (clients’) rights and where possible to enable recovery of assets.  The Ventura Bar program will commence at noon at the Tower Club in Oxnard.

If you or someone you know is dealing with a dispute over the administration or execution of trust or estate in California, you should contact an experienced trusts and estates litigation attorney to ensure your interests are represented.  Attorney Bronshteyn also serves on the probate volunteer panel of the Los Angeles Superior Court, and has represented beneficiaries, executors, administrators, trustees, conservators, and conservatees, in court proceedings.  Contact us by calling (310) 914-3222 in Los Angeles, or (818) 787-1011 in Westlake Village, or by using our online contact form.

Alexander R. Ginzburg, Partner at Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP and Edward Babakhani, Associate Attorney, at Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP enjoyed the program scheduled by the Los Angeles County Bar Association -Trust and Estates Section scheduled for January 9, 2018, concerning summaries of 2017 cases that affect trust, estate and conservatorship matters.  The program commenced at 11:45 a.m. at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse located at 111 N. Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.  The speakers included Los Angeles Probate Court Presiding Judge David J. Cowan.

Next, the Los Angeles Superior Court – Probate Division has announced certain changes to Probate Court Judicial Assignments.  More specifically, effective Oct. 30, 2017, the Probate Division implemented the following changes:

• Judge Daniel J. Juarez is reassigned from the Mental Health Division to the Probate Division, to the Stanley Mosk Courthouse located at 111 N. Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.  The Department will be determined later as initially the honorable Judge Juarez will provide coverage for other probate judicial officers as required, and conduct settlement conferences.

Successfully fighting for our clients and no fear of taking matters to trial if necessary!

Ginzbug & Bronshteyn, LLP, is proud to share that firm partner Yasha Bronshteyn obtained a trial verdict in the Ventura County Superior Court in September of 2017 concerning a partition of real estate matter filed in the Ventura County Probate Court, which also involved allegations of undue influence by named beneficiaries and successor trustee of a family trust and lack of capacity by the settlor / decedent when creating the trust documents.

The major focus of defending the trust and trustee was applying the appropriate legal standards: “For purposes of this part [concerning capacity], there shall exist a rebuttable presumption affecting the burden of proof that all persons have capacity to make decisions and to be responsible for their acts and decisions.” Probate Code section 810(a).

On June 28, 2017, firm partner, Yasha Bronshteyn spoke at the program presented by the Beverly Hills Bar Association presented by the Family Law Section and Trusts & Estates Section.  The Program – Until Death (or Children, or Exes) Do Us Part: Family Adventures in Probate and Estates, explored estate planning and probate issues that are of interest to a family law practitioner. The panel discussed when and what to advise a family law client regarding estate planning and how family law issues come up in probate court, including conservatorships, guardianships, role of minor’s counsel and determination of capacity.

Speakers:

Yasha Bronshteyn, Esq., Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP

Firm partner, Alexander R. Ginzburg, was pleased to attend the Los Angeles County Bar Association Trusts and Estates Section annual reception on May 15, 2017.  This reception at the Omni Hotel in Los Angeles was attended by probate attorneys, judicial officers, and members of the Trusts & Estates Section.   Meanwhile, on March 21, 2017, firm partner Yasha Bronshteyn attended the Beverly Hills Bar Luncheon, presented by the Beverly Hills Bar Association – Trust and Estate Section,  at which the Judges of the Probate Court for Los Angeles County discussed the current state of the Probate Court and addressed issues and concerns affecting the Court, the courtroom transitions and any other questions submitted by our members.

Speakers:

Supervising Judge David J. Cowan

On March 4, 2017, firm partner Alexander R. Ginzburg attended the South Bay Bar Association Probate Section Luncheon with the Honorable Los Angeles Superior Court Judges: Hon. David J. Cowan (Department 79), Hon. Maria E. Stratton (Department 5), Hon. William P. Barry (Department 67). The focus of the Probate Luncheon was technological changes being incorporated by the Los Angeles Superior Court and its effect on the Probate Department, litigants, and attorneys.

Ginzbug & Bronshteyn, is also, proud to share that firm partner Yasha Bronshteyn recently obtained a favorable trial verdict in excess of $900,000.00 for the Petitioner and Conservator of the Person and Estate he represented. The theories of recovery were based on conversion of conservatee’s real property, Elder abuse, and the power of the court to adjudicate an estate’s claims against persons charged with embezzling, concealing, or otherwise wrongfully taking or retaining property belong to the estate. (Probate Code §850(a)(2)(D) & Probate Code §859). In addition, our offices were to show that the level of fraud, malice, and oppression was so high to sustain an award of punitive damages in addition to double damages under Probate Code §859.

Our offices have been successful in helping families with the Conservatorship Process when a loved one is declining in their abilities. The Standard of Proof for a Conservatorsip is as follows:

On November 15, 2016, firm partner and trust litigator, Yasha Bronshteyn attended the 2016 Legislation Program sponsored by Beverly Hills Bar Association – Trusts and Estates Section.  An informative event put together by the Beverly Hills Bar Association Trusts & Estates Section.  The focus was on trusts, conservatorships, and probate estates.

A conservatorship is generally established for the care of mentally or physically disabled individual. Often conservatorship are associated with our aging population and disease such as Alzheimer’s or cognitive deficits such as dementia. Limited Conservatorships are a subset of conservatorships for developmentally disabled individuals. On the other-hand a guardianship is provided for the care of minors.  Unfortunately, with the aging population the financial abuse of the elderly is a quiet and common occurrence.   Seeking a conservatorship may be an effective method of protecting an older individual from financial abuse of a stranger or family member.

Among new bills in 2016:

Citing a new California law that strengthened the voting rights of people with developmental disabilities, the Judge Kelety, of the San Diego Superior Court, said the injured man, David Rector, may not be barred from the voting booth.  Mr. Rector lost [his voting] rights in 2011 when a conservator after a brain injury left him unable to walk or speak. The new standard for disqualifying a conservatee from voting is established by SB 589, most prominently in an amendment to Elections Code section 2208(a)3 , as follows: (a) A person is presumed competent to vote regardless of his or her conservatorship status. A person shall be deemed mentally incompetent, and therefore disqualified from voting, if, during the course of any of the proceedings set forth below, the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the person cannot communicate, with or without reasonable accommodations, a desire to participate in the voting process, and . . . [a] conservator for the person or the person and estate is appointed pursuant to Division 4 (commencing with Section 1400) of the Probate Code.

The Standard for a Conservatorship

  • Clear and Convincing Evidence is required, “so clear as to leave no substantial doubt”
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