Articles Posted in Conservatorships

On May 9, 2015, firm partner Yasha Bronshteyn attended the Conservatorship/PVP lecture presented by the Los Angeles County Bar Association.  This course provides an introduction and overview to attorneys new to or seeking to join the Probate Volunteer Panel; it satisfies certain  LASC Local Rules and California Rules of Court. Excellent course for PVP attorneys, offering the Court’s perspectives and different speakers’ insights on new developments and issues that frequently arise in the representation of conservatees and proposed conservatees.

Speakers Included:

Hon. Maria Stratton, Supervising Judge, Probate Department, Los Angeles Superior Court

gavelFirm partners, Alexander R. Ginzburg and Yasha Bronshteyn, attended the Elder Abuse Restraining Orders: Nuts, Bolts and Other Miscellany program which was presented on February 19, 2015, by the Los Angeles Bar Association-Trust & Wills Section.   

The program focused on discuss the requirements and procedures to obtain a temporary or permanent elder abuse and dependent adult abuse restraining order, and the crossover issues with conservatorship and trust matters the common problem of people abusing each other and the legal ramifications of that abuse. Speakers included the Honorable Lesley C. Green, Los Angeles Superior Court. 

Dependent adult abuse restraining order cases are filed in a special proceeding with a separate prefix.  For example, in Central the cases are identified with the BS prefix as opposed to the BP prefix for regular probate cases.  Elder or dependent adult abuse stay away orders may be issued upon reasonable proof of past acts of abuse.  Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15657.03  A court may make its findings in favor of granting a restraining order by a preponderance of the evidence.

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Firm partner, Yasha Bronshteyn, attended the Ex-Parte Probate Court Program Presented by Trusts and Estates Section of the Los Angeles Bar Association at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse 111 N. Hill Street, Los Angeles, California. Speakers included the Honorable Judge Daniel S. Murphy, Los Angeles Superior Court of Department 29. Additional speakers concerning Ex Partes, drop-off Ex Partes, Urgency, Irreparable Harm Issues, Procedures, and Orders were Regina E. Esteras, Los Angeles Superior Court, Probate Department and Darciann Horton, Los Angeles Superior Court, Probate Department.

In Court news it appears that the Stanley Mosk Courthouse will add two more probate Judges in early 2015. In addition, Judge Maria E. Stratton will take over as the presiding Probate Judge on January 1, 2015.

At Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP we are dedicated to providing efficient, effective, and affordable solutions to clients involved in conservatorship cases, trust and estate disputes, undue influence matters, trust contests, as well as other types of family law issues.

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

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

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.

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.

camerman-and-news-reporter-working.jpgA California woman serving as a conservator lost her defamation lawsuit against a Sacramento television station as an appeals court concluded that she could not prove that the reports aired the report with knowledge that their information was false, or at least reckless disregard for its falsity. In reaching it conclusion, the court in Young v. CBS decided that, because conservators are very powerful agents acting under the authority of a court order, and could reasonably trigger scrutiny by the public, they are public figures for purposes of defamation lawsuits. The ruling serves as a warning to any a conservator in California, making clear that, by accepting an appointment as a conservator, any person may subject him/herself to public figure status, and a much more difficult path to recovery, if he/she believes he/she is defamed by a news organization.

In November 2006, Sacramento County Adult Protective Services asked Carolyn Young to serve as the conservator for an allegedly incapacitated adult, 86-year-old Mary Jane Mann. Young, a professional conservator and fiduciary for more than a decade and a half, petitioned the court for the appointment. Almost immediately after the court appointed Young as temporary conservator, the senior and one of her daughters, Monika Mann, began contesting the conservatorship. A non-judicial mediation yielded an agreement where Young agreed to petition for dissolution of the conservatorship in exchange for Young becoming a co-trustee of Mann’s trust.
Shortly thereafter, the CBS television station in Sacramento, KOVR-TV, investigated the Mann conservatorship. A week later, KOVR aired a news story entitled “A Life Hijacked,” which stated that Young “effectively took over Mann’s life without Mann’s knowledge [including] Mann’s bank accounts, investments, and her trust. Young had Mann’s mail forwarded to her office and had Mann’s driver’s license lifted.” The report went on to claim, or insinuate, that Young stole from Mann, threatened her, battered her and trespassed onto her property.

Young sued CBS for defamation. On appeal, the California Court of Appeal ultimately ruled for CBS and ordered the trial court to dismiss Young’s lawsuit.

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428px-Zsa_Zsa_Gabor_(1954) public domain wiki.jpgThe husband and daughter of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor are attempting to mediate a dispute regarding the 95-year-old’s medical care and financial matters in a reported effort to avoid a lengthy court battle. 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. Hilton also asked that she be appointed her mother’s conservator. Gabor’s husband of 25 years, 68-year-old Frederic Prinz von Anhalt, opposed Hilton’s petition. The parties asked at a recent hearing that a decision regarding the requested conservatorship be delayed pending the outcome of mediation. The results of the scheduled mediation, which will take place with the assistance of a retired probate judge, will be reported in a court hearing scheduled for July 11th.

For several years, both parties to the mediation have accused one another of mismanaging Gabor’s finances. Hilton is reportedly concerned her mother is not being cared for properly and her money is being wasted. According to von Anhalt, Gabor’s expenses currently exceed her income. Von Anhalt also stated his wife is receiving the best care possible, but that he will be required to liquidate her assets, including Gabor’s home, in order to continue her care.

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.

According to an attorney for Hilton, her overriding concern is for her mother’s health. She is reportedly concerned over missed mortgage payments on her mother’s home and would like to have consistent access to visit with the aging actress. 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. Von Anhalt countered that Hilton was unfit to serve as conservator and accused her of abusing a previous power of attorney. Hilton’s attorney stated although the case is a difficult one, Gabor’s daughter is hopeful the matter can be resolved through mediation.

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.

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