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

Jana Gordon Garrotto, Law Offices of Garrotto & Garrotto

Jacqueline M. Real-Salas, Law Offices of Jacqueline M. Real-Salas,

Stefanie S. Cutler, Bloom & Ruttenberg

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  An ePublication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association
Volume 8, Number 10  November 2013   Archive of Past Issues
Trusts and Estates Section Home Page

Save the Date:
December 12, 2013

2013 Legislative Update and
How to Avoid the Top 10 Probate Notes in 2014

Program Information:
Join us for our annual Legislative Update program where James Birnberg and Joseph Gorman will summarize what you need to know about the 2013 California Legislative Updates. Also, learn directly from one of the Los Angeles Superior Court's Probate Attorneys about the top 10 probate notes and how you can avoid them. Get the information you need to have your petition recommended for approval the first time around in the new year.

Omni Los Angeles Hotel
251 South Olive Street 
Los Angeles, California 90012

Room: Watercourt Ballroom

$12.00 valet parking

Registration: 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Meal/Reception: 12:00 PM
Program: 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM


CLE+ Member - meal not included FREE
CLE+ Member $50.00
Probate Court Staff $50.00
Law Student $50.00
Paralegal or Law Clerk $65.00
Government Attorney/Employee $65.00
Trusts & Estates Section Member $65.00
LACBA Member $95.00
All Others $125.00
$700 Sponsor $700.00

1 hr CLE credit including Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Legal Specialization credit.

Recent Cases

Healthcare Law
By incorporating the remedy specified in Civil Code Sec. 56.36 (b)--a provision of the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act permitting a plaintiff to sue for statutory and/or actual damages--Sec. 56.101 allows a private right of action for negligent maintenance only when such negligence results in unauthorized or wrongful access to the information. Trial court erred in holding that a putative class action plaintiff could sue for statutory damages in the absence of proof that the plaintiff’s confidential records were viewed or otherwise accessed by an unauthorized individual.
     Regents of the University of California v. Superior Court (Platter) - filed October 15, 2013, Second District, Div. Seven
     Cite as 2013 S.O.S. B249148
     Full text
Where real property was owned by a trust, trustee could not be held personally liable for injuries suffered on the premises unless trustee was "personally at fault" within the meaning of Probate Code Secs. 18001 and 18002--meaning that trustee must have intentionally or negligently committed a tort. Plaintiff’s claim that defendant breached a nondelegable duty to ensure that property was properly illuminated, and that the absence of lighting caused plaintiff to trip and fall on the kitchen stairs, was not viable in the face of undisputed evidence that property had a functioning light but that plaintiff proceeded to exit in the dark rather than ask for help in locating light switch and then fell.
     Castellon v. U.S. Bancorp - filed October 23, 2013, Second District, Div. Two
     Cite as 2013 S.O.S. B245651
     Full text

Healthcare Law
Patient of skilled nursing facility was not bound by wife’s signature on agreement to arbitrate, where wife purported to sign on his behalf due to "Stroke," but facility operator failed to establish that he had been so diagnosed, or had authorized wife to sign on his behalf, or was incapable of making his own decision. Wife’s purported signature on her husband’s behalf did not bind her to arbitrate her individual claims against facility operator. The "strong public policy" favoring arbitration does not relieve the party seeking to compel arbitration of the burden of proving that the other party consented.
     Goldman v. Sunbridge Healthcare, LLC - filed September 27, 2013, publication ordered October 28, 2013, Third District
     Cite as 2013 S.O.S. C069970
     Full text
Healthcare Law
Daughter of elderly patient had no authority to bind her mother to arbitrate claims against skilled nursing facility where there was no showing that mother’s physician had determined her to be unable to make her own health care decisions, and patient--in executing a form "power of attorney for health care" elected not to check the box allowing her "agent" to make health care decisions for her without a prior determination of incapacity by her physician--did not designate her daughter as her "primary health care agent" and did not authorize her agent to make any decisions other than "health care decisions" for her.
     Young v. Horizon West, Inc. - filed October 28, 2013, Sixth District
     Cite as 2013 S.O.S. H038736
     Full text

Family Law
Where marriage was dissolved prior to determination of property issues, and husband then remarried and subsequently died, resulting in litigation between surviving spouse and prior spouse over term life insurance--premiums for which were partially paid for after separation from prior spouse--as part of the pending family law litigation, the surviving spouse was a party for purposes of appellate standing.

Trial court’s ruling that life insurance proceeds were a community property asset was error where based on an insufficient factual record; characterization and apportionment of such proceeds depends upon whether post-separation premiums were paid with separate funds, community funds of the prior marriage, community funds of the subsequent marriage, or some combination thereof; whether decedent, if he paid with separate funds, was medically insurable when he began doing so; and, if so, whether decedent could have purchased a comparable policy at a comparable price when he began paying premiums with separate funds.
     In re Marriage of Burwell - filed October 31, 2013, Fifth District
     Cite as 2013 S.O.S. F064265
     Full text


Los Angeles County Bar Association
2012-2013 Trusts and Estates Section Newsletter

Amy L. McEvoy

Trudi Schindler

William L. Winslow

Immediate Past-Chair
Kira S. Masteller

Section Administrator
Brendan Tarnay


Julia L. Birkel
Jill A. Brousard
Jackson Chen
Stefanie S. Cutler
Roseann DeRosa
Kim D. Doering
Larry S. Dushkes
Jana Gordon Garrotto

Sibylle Grebe
Duncan Hromadka
Albert F. Mikulencak
Leigh Shipp Muniz
Mary L. O'Neill
Jacqueline M. Real-Salas
Marc L. Sallus

Liaison, Barristers Section, Lauren C. Liebes
Liaison, County Counsel, Susan Long, Deputy County Counsel
Liaison Public Interest, Yolande P. Erickson
Liaison, Beverly Hills Bar Association, Stefanie Cutler
Ex Officio, James R. Birnberg
Ex Officio, Susan Jabkowski
Ex Officio, Matthew W. McMurtrey
Ex Officio, Jonathan L. Rosenbloom

Ex Officio, Stuart Zimring

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