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On 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)

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.

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.

Firm 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

Day long conference to be presented on November 9, 2012, by USC Gould School of Law at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. Always top notch program. Subjects to be covered this year include Recent Developments in Probate and Trust Law, Current Elder Law Issues and Practical Considerations, Creditor Claims, Trustee Compensation, Recent California Legislation, and Anticipated 2012 Sunset of Complex and Controversial Tax Acts of 2001.

On September 19, 2012, firm partner, Yasha Bronshteyn attended the Special Needs Trust Seminar presented by Wells Fargo Bank and sponsored by the Barlow Foundation, Goodwill Southern California, and the United Rescue Mission. The assets in a properly established Special Needs Trust (SNT) will not be counted toward the Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medi-Cal and In-Home Support Services (IHSS) asset limit of $2000 for an individual.

California Probate Code Section 3604 states that if a court makes an order under Section 3602 or 3611 that money of a minor or person with a disability be paid to a special needs trust, the terms of the trust shall be reviewed and approved by the court and shall satisfy the requirements of this section. The trust is subject to continuing jurisdiction of the court, and is subject to court supervision to the extent determined by the court.

Depending on particular circumstances notice of the time and place of the hearing on the Petition to Exclude Funds from Estate and to Direct Payment to Special Needs Trust and a copy of the petition will be given to the State Director of Health Services, the State Director of Mental Health and the State Director of Developmental Services as required by law.

On August 22, 2012, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff finalized a co-guardianship agreement for the late Michael Jackson’s three children. Katherine Jackson and T.J. Jackson, will be sharing the responsibilities concerning Prince, 15, Paris, 14, and Blanket, 10. During an earlier hearing on August 2nd, Judge Beckloff said a court appointed investigator had visited Katherine’s home in Calabasas, California and that she has been doing a “wonderful job” as guardian and that the children love her. Beckloff also went on to say that the “kids have a substantial, significant relationship with T.J. Jackson and love him very much.”

California guardianships most commonly apply to children whereas conservatorships most commonly apply to adults. The purpose of Guardianships is to provide individuals with legal authority to watch over the well being of a minor child. The guardian of the person has the responsibility for the care and custody of the child. As guardian, responsibilities include providing for food, clothing, shelter, education, and all of the medical and dental needs of the child. The guardian must also provide for the safety, protection, and physical and emotional growth of the child. The guardian is also responsible for decisions regarding the education, residence, and medical treatment of the child.

For more information about guardianships and conservatorships, contact the Calabasas Probate attorneys at Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP.

On July 31, 2012, firm partner, Yasha Bronshteyn attended roundtable discussion regarding Key Issues for Leaders of Business and the Community at the UCLA School of Law with Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Alex Kozinski; former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit Deanell Reece Tacha, now Dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law; and Norman L. Epstein, Presiding Judge of the California Court of Appeal (Second District, Division 4), and Dean Rachel Moran of the UCLA School of Law amongst others in attendance.

Key issues discussed included; how companies and other groups can be effectively represented in court; and what budgets are needed for efficient operation of the courts to enhance timeliness and reduce the cost of litigation for the parties.

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