Articles Posted in Wills & Trusts

Firm partner and litigator, Yasha Bronshteyn presented a lecture at the South Bay Bar Association on May 9, 2019.  The topic at the Probate Section Luncheon was “Post-Death Trust and Will Contests.”

A major point of discussion was the case known as Barefoot v. Jennings, 2018 WL 4292450.  This case was widely criticized by Probate and Trust litigators when announced in the fall of 2018.  Attempts to have Barefoot republished were not successful and instead the California Supreme Court will review the case.

In summary the case concerns Appellant, Joan Mauri Barefoot, who is one of six children of Joan Lee Maynord. Maynord and her former husband, who died in 1993, established the Maynord 1986 Family Trust and Maynord served as the sole trustor following her husband’s death. Starting in August 2013 and continuing through 2016, Maynord executed eight amendments to and restatements of the Family Trust, referred to as the 17th through the 24th Amendments, with the 24th Amendment being the final amendment prior to Maynord’s death. It is in these amendments and restatements in which Appellant’s share of the Family Trust, described in the 16th Amendment, was eliminated and Appellant was both expressly disinherited and removed as successor trustee.

Firm partner, Yasha Bronshteyn, litigating Conservatorship, Trust Matters, and Accounting Matters attended the Los Angeles County Bar Association Presentation on September 13, 2018, at the Los Angeles Superior Court.  The presentation concerned different types of fiduciary accounts, including trust accounts, conservatorship accounts, and conservatorship accounts.  Turnout from our esteemed probate colleagues was excellent.  Also in attendance were Supervising Probate Judge David J. Cowan (Department 3) and probate Judge Paul T. Suzuki (Department 79).

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,  (818) 787-1011 in Westlake Village, (714) 465-6566 in Orange County, or by using our online contact form.

Recently the appellate court decided a very impactful case in the area of trust litigation.  The case is known as Barefoot v. Jennings, 2018 WL 4292450.  Appellant, Joan Mauri Barefoot, is one of six children of Joan Lee Maynord. Maynord and her former husband, who died in 1993, established the Maynord 1986 Family Trust and Maynord served as the sole trustor following her husband’s death. Starting in August 2013 and continuing through 2016, Maynord executed eight amendments to and restatements of the Family Trust, referred to as the 17th through the 24th Amendments, with the 24th Amendment being the final amendment prior to Maynord’s death. It is in these amendments and restatements in which Appellant’s share of the Family Trust, described in the 16th Amendment, was eliminated and Appellant was both expressly disinherited and removed as successor trustee.

On April 26, 2018, firm Conservatorship and Trust Litigation Partner, Yasha Bronshteyn, was fortunate to attend the Ventura County Bar Association – Probate and Estate Planning Section annual program with Ventura County Presiding Probate Judge Glen M. Resier regarding the state of the Probate Court, recent developments, changes and general concerns.  Judge Reiser served as Ventura Count’y only probate/trust/conservatorship judge between 2000-2004 and more recently from 2010 into 2018.

Our experienced Los Angeles conservatorship attorneys are here to help clients in Ventura County, Los Angeles, Orange County and throughout Southern California defend their rights under the law.  With a presence in Northern California and Southern California the Law Office of Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP is dedicated to providing efficient, effective, strategic, 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.  Our Offices are available to litigate disputes between heirs, trustees, executors, will contests, fiduciary matters, and conservatorships.  Our offices can also assist with trust administration, trust accounting, and financail elder abuse.

Recent Developments from Appellate Level:

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.

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 May 26, 2016, the Estate Planning and Probate Section of the Ventura County Bar Association was fortunate to have Judge Glen M. Reiser, presiding probate judge, present a State of the Probate Court address at the Wedgewood Ventura.  Firm partner and trust litigator, Yasha Bronshteyn attended Judge Reiser’s presentation as to the current state of the Probate Court and new Probate Appellant Cases were discussed. Judge Reiser is currently assigned to Courtroom J6 at the Juvenile and Probate Courthouse hearing all probate, conservatorship, guardianship estates and environmental cases.  The Probate Court is located at 4353 E. Vineyard Avenue Oxnard, California 93036.  Judge Reiser was appointed to the Ventura Superior Court bench by Governor Pete Wilson in 1998.

Cases discussed included:

(1) The Carne v. Worthington – filed April 13, 2016, Fourth District, Div. One was an Appeal from an order of the Superior Court of San Diego County, Jeffrey S. Bostwick, Judge. This case concerned certain real property located at Via Regla in La Jolla, California. Record title to the Via Regla Property was held by the trustee to the 1985 Trust. The issue here was the decedent’s daughter’s Petition to confirm that certain real property previously owned by Liebler, located on Via Regla, had been properly transferred to the 2009 Trust. The 2009 Trust states, “I transfer to my Trustee the property listed in Schedule A, attached to this agreement,” and lists the Via Regla Property in Schedule A. The 2009 Trust is signed by Liebler as grantor and by defendant and respondent, Nancy Worthington, and Craig Castle as co-trustees. However, Decedent’s grandson claimed the 2009 Trust was not a valid trust because Liebler had not properly transferred title to the only asset allegedly in the 2009 Trust, the Via Regla Property. Specifically, Hasting argued that Liebler had not effectively transferred the Via Regla Property into the 2009 Trust because Liebler had failed to execute a deed transferring the property to the trust.

On March 15, 2016, 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, modernizing the system to benefit litigants, and  other questions submitted by Beverly Hills Bar Association Member from the Trust and Estates Section members. Judges from the Los Angeles Superior Court (Probate Division) expected in attendance were: Hon. Maria E. Stratton (Department 5), Hon. William Barry (Department 67), Hon. David J. Cowan (Department 79), Hon. Clifford L. Klein (Department 9), Hon. Brenda Penny (Department 99); and Hon. Lesley C. Green (Department 11).

The Timothy Whitehouse Award was be presented to Bet Tzedek for their outstanding contribution to the community with legal services provided at zero cost to low-income individuals.

Overall a very informative presentation in a pleasant lunch format that was attended by firm partner and trust litigator, Yasha Bronshteyn, at Lawry’s of Beverly Hills.

Firm partner, Yasha Bronshteyn, attended A Discussion of Estate of Duke which was presented on January 19, 2016, at Lawry’s in Beverly Hills, by the Beverly Hills Bar Association-Trust & Wills Section.   

The presentation focused and discussed an unanimous decision, In re the Estate of Duke-the recent California Supreme Court case which held that extrinsic evidence can be used to reform a Will which contains no ambiguity. This probate case will have an important impact on the practice of probate law in California.

The California Supreme Court decision in the case on wills granted review to reconsider the historical rule that extrinsic evidence is inadmissible to reform an unambiguous will. The Supreme Court has concluded that the categorical bar on reformation of wills (dating back to common law and codified in statute by the enactment of the California Probate Code’s various legal requirements) is not justified.  The Supreme Court holds that an unambiguous will may be reformed if clear and convincing evidence establishes that the will contains a mistake in the expression of the testator’s intent at the time the will was drafted and also establishes the testator’s actual specific intent at the time the will was drafted.

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