Trusts & Estates Bulletin

A Compendium of Recent Cases

  Brought to you by LACBA's Trusts & Estates Section  *  Volume V, Number 3  *  November 2009 
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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.,



Coming Events

December 15, 2009: Trusts and Estates Luncheon. Save the date.

January 29, 2010: Trusts & Estates Symposium at the Omni Hotel. Save the date.

Special Message
from Judge Steele, Van Nuys

The Van Nuys Probate filing window has been instructed to accept more matters for filing for each probate session in order to reduce backlog and, furthermore, to ensure that the following matters are set in accordance with the code requirements:

  • Settings for Petitions to Establish Fact of Birth, Death or Marriage.
  • Health and Safety Code Section 103465. Within 5 to 10 days (may be continued for good cause).
  • Settings for DE 111s (Petitions for Probate of Will; Petition for Letters of Administration with Will Annexed; and Petitions for Letters of Administration).
  • Probate Code Section 8003. Within 30 days after filing unless at petitioner's request up to 45 days.
Also, because of the economy, I have asked that Reports of Sale and Petitions for Orders Confirming Sales of Real Property (Probate—Decedents’ Estates as well as Guardianships and Conservatorships)  be set within 4 weeks from the date of filing. This should help eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, the need for ex parte applications in this regard.

I hope this helps alleviate some of the problems the local bar has been experiencing with having their petitions heard in a timely fashion. I truly apologize for any difficulty that has apparently arisen in getting matters more timely set. However, I have set in motion the means to prevent this from continuing any longer. If there are filing/setting date problems of which you become aware in this regard, please let me know, and I will look into them.

Judge James A. Steele
Dept. NW-C

A Compendium of Recent Cases

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

-Trusts and Estates-
Where two of settlor's treating physicians certified that he was mentally incompetent, and two others later certified settlor’s competency, later certifications were insufficient because neither physician was aware of the earlier certifications. Lack of witnessing or acknowledgement did not invalidate certifications of incapacity.
     Rands v. Rands - filed September 30, 2009, Second District, Div. Six
     Cite as 2009 SOS 6195
     Full text  
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-Trusts and Estates-
A challenge to a surviving spouse's mental capacity to transfer trust assets and appoint a successor trustee did not violate no-contest clause in a family trust. Proceeding contesting a settlor's mental competence to exercise rights under a trust does not amount to an attack on the trust itself, unless it seeks to thwart the estate plan established by the trust.
     Johnson v. Greenelsh - filed October 29, 2009
     Cite as 2009 SOS 6223
     Full text   
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Los Angeles County Bar Association
2009-10 Trusts and Estates Section Newsletter
Amy L. McEvoy, Co-Editor,  David C. Nelson, Co-Editor,    Nelson J. Handy, Co-Editor

Jonathan L. Rosenbloom

Nelson J. Handy

Stuart D. Zimring

Stuart D. Zimring

Immediate Past-Chair
Laura Conti

Section Administrator
Elise Green


Michael A. Abraham
Jackson Chen
Susan J. Cooley
Kenneth A. Feinfield
Sibylle Grebe
Samuel D. Ingham III
Susan Jabkowski
Jane E. Kwon
Jamie Lee Kim

Kira S. Masteller
Amy L. McEvoy
Matthew W. Mc Murtrey
Nicole M. Pearl
Jacqueline Real-Salas
David P. Schwartz
Leigh A. Shipp
Gabrielle A. Vidal

Barristers Liaison, Laura Narimatsu Wasserman
Liaison Beverly Hills Bar Association, Trudi Sabel Schindler
Liaison Public Interest, Yolande P. Erickson
Ex Officio, James R. Birnberg
Ex Officio, Thomas H. Kenney
Ex Officio, Gary M. Ruttenberg

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.