- In This Issue -

The Trusts & Estates Bulletin is published monthly by the Trusts & Estates Section, coeditors:

Amy L. McEvoy, Sheppard Mullin, AMcEvoy@sheppardmullin.com

Nelson J. Handy, Fiduciary Law Services, Inc., nelson@fidls.com

Diane Young Park, Weinstock Manion Reisman Shore & Neumann, dpark@weinstocklaw.com

Special Announcements

The IRS published a draft Estate Tax Return for 2010 decedents on its website. Click here to view it.

Best Practices

At our recent View From the Bench program, Judge Reva Goetz presented the 2011 Top Ten List of Best Practices. These helpful tips, provided by the Probate Judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court, can be viewed from this link. 2011 Top Ten List of Best Practices

A Compendium of Recent Cases

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

Family Law
Amendments to Family Code Sec. 1612 in 2002--invalidating any provision in a premarital agreement regarding spousal support in certain situations--do not have retroactive effect. Even though wife did not have independent counsel at the time she executed premarital agreement, substantial evidence indicated that she knowingly and voluntarily waived her right to spousal support in that agreement.
    In re Marriage of Howell - filed May 24, 2011, Fourth District, Div. Four
    Cite as 2011 S.O.S. 2732
    Full text

Trusts and Estates
Release of liability that trustee purported to impose as a condition of accepting what trustee asserted to be the final distribution violated Probate Code Sec. 16004.5, which provides "[a] trustee may not require a beneficiary to relieve the trustee of liability as a condition for making a distribution or payment to, or for the benefit of, the beneficiary, if the distribution or payment is required by the trust instrument." It was error for trial court to treat the release as an accord and satisfaction.
    Bellows v. Bellows - filed June 9, 2011, First District, Div. Three
    Cite as A128875
    Full text

Trusts and Estates
Probate court erred in evaluating trustor's capacity to execute trust amendments--which in terms of content and complexity, closely resembled a will or codicil--by the general standard of contractual capacity set out in Probate Code Secs. 810-812 instead of the standard of testamentary capacity set out in Sec. 6100.5.
    Andersen v. Hunt - filed June 14, 2011, Second District, Div. Four
    Cite as B221077
    Full text

Trusts and Estates
Requirement under Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 366.2 that action against a deceased person's estate be brought within one year of the person's death did not apply to claim that executor, rather than the deceased, breached contract. Under Probate Code Sec. 11423(b), executor was liable for prejudgment interest on breach of contract damages at the rate specified in the contract from the time of the breach.
    Dacey v. Taraday - filed June 21, 2011, First District, Div. Two
    Cite as 2011 S.O.S. 3378
    Full text

Los Angeles County Bar Association
2011-12 Trusts and Estates Section Newsletter
Amy L. McEvoy, Co-Editor,  Diane Young Park, Co-Editor,   Nelson J. Handy, Co-Editor

Stuart D. Zimring

Kira S. Masteller

Amy L. McEvoy

Immediate Past-Chair
Nelson J. Handy

Section Administrator
Erica Leon


Ronald Berman
Jackson Chen
Kim D. Doering
Larry S. Dushkes
Kenneth A. Feinfield
Jana Gordon Garrotto
Sibylle Grebe

Diane Young Park
Nicole M. Pearl
Jacqueline Real-Salas
Myer J. Sankary
Gabrielle A. Vidal
Caroline C. Vincent
William Lane Winslow

Liaison Beverly Hills Bar Association, Trudi Sabel Schindler
Liaison County Counsel, Susan Long, Deputy County Counsel
Liaison Public Interest, Yolande P. Erickson
Ex Officio, James R. Birnberg
Ex Officio, Laura Conti
Ex Officio, Susan Jabkowski
Ex Officio, Thomas H. Kenney
Ex Officio, Matthew W. McMurtrey
Ex Officio, Jonathan L. Rosenbloom
Ex Officio, Gary M. Ruttenberg