Trusts & Estates Bulletin

A Compendium of Recent Cases

  Brought to you by LACBA's Trusts & Estates Section  *  Volume IV, Number 11  *  July 2009 
An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association  *  Contact Us  *  Join the T & E Section  *  Archived Issues

Visit the Trusts and Estates Section Web page.


Case Summaries

Trusts & Estates Bulletin is published monthly by the Trusts & Estates Section, Co-Editors:
- David C. Nelson, Loeb & Loeb LLP,,
- Amy L. McEvoy, Sheppard Mullin,
- Nelson J. Handy, Fiduciary Law Services, Inc.,



Probate Decree Survey
complete the attached Probate Decree Survey
if you have not already done so.
You can download this survey in the WORD document format and save it on your computer, fill it out, and then send it. Once you have completed the survey, you can simply e-mail the document as an attachment to:

Alternatively, you can print the page and mail it to:
Brenda Penny, Assistant Supervising Probate Attorney,
Stanley Mosk Courthouse,
111 N. Hill Street, Room 258,
Los Angeles, CA 90012.

Notice of the new office hours for
Central District's Room 258:
Effective July 1, 2009, the probate office will begin observing new office hours for consistency with other areas of litigation. The office will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. The office will continue to open at 8:00 a.m. for ex-partes only. These hours are consistent with the hours in Room 426, which is the Probate Filing Window, and are subject to closures because of budget cuts.

Notice regarding probate note updates:
Central District's probate notes are updated (on the Web) at 7 a.m., 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday - Friday and 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Members should check for Web updates before e-mailing the Probate Attorney who prepared the notes.

A Compendium of Recent Cases

Cases appear in chronological order, with the oldest case appearing first.

-Civil Procedure-
Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 366.2's one year after the date of death statute of limitations applies to an action on the liability of a deceased person, without regard to the location of the decedent's personal representative or estate; such limitations period is not tolled during the minority of the plaintiffs.
     Farb v. Superior Court (Farb) - filed June 2, 2009, Second District, Div. Four
     Cite as 2009 SOS 3143

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  -Trusts and Estates-
Where petitioner sought determination that handwritten notations on trust document that reduced petitioner's share of a trust asset were not part of the terms of the trust, such notations were an attempt to amend the trust; since the "amendment" was not part of the original trust agreement, the challenge to its validity was not a contest under Probate Code Sec. 21305(a)(3).
     Cory v. Toscano - filed June 8, 2009, Fifth District
     Cite as 2009 SOS 3530
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-Social Security Law-
Child conceived after death of insured was not insured's deemed dependent as California law does not equate natural parent status with biological parenthood and child was not able to inherit from insured's estate pursuant to California intestacy law. Exclusion of posthumously-conceived children who cannot satisfy state law requirements from receiving survivor benefits is supported by rational basis and does not violate Equal Protection Clause.
      Vernoff v. Astrue - filed June 17, 2009
     Cite as 08-55049
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Income beneficiaries of a trust that owned a shopping center complex had a present interest in improvements on the property constructed and owned by lessee and sublessees because such improvements were part of the property that had to be surrendered to the lessor in good condition at the close of the lease. By receiving rent income from trust property, beneficiaries had beneficial use of that property even though they did not have legal title. A lifetime beneficiary receiving the rental value of a parcel of real property is considered under the law to be receiving value substantially equal to the value of the fee interest.
      Phelps v. Orange County Assessment Appeals Board No. 1 (Guillory) - filed May 27, 2009, publication ordered June 24, 2009, Fourth District, Div. Three
     Cite as 2009 SOS 4007

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Los Angeles County Bar Association
2008-09 Trusts and Estates Section Newsletter
Amy L. McEvoy, Co-Editor,  David C. Nelson, Co-Editor,    Nelson J. Handy, Co-Editor

Laura G. Conti

Jonathan L. Rosenbloom

Nelson J. Handy

Nelson J. Handy

Immediate Past-Chair
David C. Nelson

Section Administrator
Elise Green


Michael A. Abraham
Susan J. Cooley
Tala R. Davis
Linda N. Deitch
Sibylle Grebe
Samuel D. Ingham III
Susan Jabkowski

Lawrence J. Kalfayan
Thomas H. Kenney
Jamie Lee Kim
Jane E. Kwon
Matthew W. Mc Murtrey
Amy L. McEvoy
Jacqueline Real-Salas
Leigh Shipp
Kira S. Vincze
Stuart D. Zimring

Barristers Liaison, Laura Narimatsu Wasserman
Liaison Beverly Hills Bar Association, Trudi Sabel Schindler
Ex Officio, James R. Birnberg
Ex Officio, John M. Byrne
Ex Officio, Leslie A. Parrish
Ex Officio, Nancy B. Reimann

Readers are advised that changes in the law may affect the accuracy of this publication or the functionality of links after the publication date.
The foregoing practice tips were prepared for information purposes only.  Such practice tips do not constitute tax, legal or other advice and no responsibility is assumed for any reliance upon them or with respect to assessing or advising the reader as to tax, legal, or other consequences arising from a particular situation. The accuracy of the information provided should be independently verified by the reader and should not be treated as authoritative.