Trusts & Estates Bulletin

A Compendium of Recent Cases

  Brought to you by LACBA's Trusts & Estates Section  *  Volume V, Number 10  *  June 2010 
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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

June 30, 2010: A View from the Bench 2010. Judges Mitchell L. Beckloff, Reva G. Goetz, Marvin M. Larger, Michael I. Levanas will discuss recent developments in the Probate Department of the Los Angeles Superior Court. Earn 1 hour of CLE credit.


Legislative Update
by James R. Birnberg

On May 20, 2010, Senator Harman amended Senate Bill 202 in the Assembly to delete provisions for private investigators and replace it with the following:

(1) changes PC 15408 to increase the amount under which a trustee can terminate a trust from $20,000 to $50,000;
(2) changes the provisions for furnishing information to beneficiaries to require the trustee to provide such information on reasonable request by a beneficiary, and provide terms of the trust, unless the trust can be revoked, as provided, or if the trustee and beneficiary are the same person;
(3) allows a beneficiary to petition the court to determine the existence of a trust if the trustee fails to  report the requested information within 60 days after written request;
(4) also requires the court to compel the trustee to account, regardless of beneficiary waiver, upon a showing that it is reasonably likely that a material breach has occurred and provides when a waiver is void against public policy;
(5) recasts provisions when the trustee has to provide a copy of the material provisions of a trust to a beneficiary or heir when a trust becomes irrevocable to include such requirement when the trust was irrevocable during lifetime but contains a reserved power of appointment. 

Items (2) through (5) were included in a prior State Bar Trusts and Estates Section proposal in a Harman bill which got stuck because of other provisions that could not get out of a policy committee. This bill is currently set for hearing in Assembly Judiciary on June 29, 2010. 

A Compendium of Recent Cases

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

Trusts and Estates
Under Probate Code Sec. 8464, which provides that "[i]f a person otherwise entitled to appointment as administrator is a person under the age of majority…the court in its discretion may appoint the guardian…or another person entitled to appointment," trial court erred in appointing the public administrator to administrate the estate rather than the mother and legal guardian of decedent's minor heirs, who were higher than public administrator in priority on Sec. 8161's list of those entitled to appointment, because Sec. 8464 grants discretion to appoint only the guardian or another person in the same class of priority, not to appoint another person in a lower class of priority.
     Estate of Lewis,  filed May 6, 2010, Fourth District, Div. Three
     Cite as 2010 S.O.S. 2452
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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.