Trusts & Estates Bulletin

A Compendium of Recent Cases

  Brought to you by LACBA's Trusts & Estates Section  *  Volume III, Number 12  *  August 2008 
An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association  *  Contact Us  *  Join the T & E Section  *  Archived Issues



Trusts & Estates Bulletin is published monthly by the Trusts & Estates Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA).

David C. Nelson,
Loeb & Loeb LLP, Editor


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

-Trusts and Estates-
Prospective conservatee who requests substitute appointed counsel must be given a full opportunity to state the reasons for his request as in a criminal case. Trial court’s failure to afford prospective conservatee a full opportunity to state his reasons for requesting substitute counsel violated his right to due process of law where he was not at the hearing, and there was no evidence to support a finding that he voluntarily failed to appear or to refute appointed counsel’s representation that he was "suffering from extreme anxiety, stomach issues, and he can’t come to court."
     Conservatorship of David L. - filed July 2, 2008, Third District
     Cite as 2008 SOS 3933
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-Trusts and Estates-
No-contest clause in trust instrument will not be applied to trust amendments in the absence of specific language to that effect, and where such language did not exist, beneficiaries whose shares were diminished by the amendments were entitled to a "safe harbor" declaration that challenge to trust amendment would not trigger no-contest clause. Language of trust amendments generally incorporating provisions of the original instrument by reference did not render no-contest clause applicable to those amendments in the absence of language drafted in such a manner as to clearly incorporate clause into the amendments themselves.
     Perrin v. Lee - filed July 16, 2008, Fourth District, Div. Three
     Cite as 2008 SOS 4213

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-Trusts and Estates-
Where decedent's estranged wife, daughter, and girlfriend each claimed portions of decedent's estate and entered into a written settlement agreement, wife was estopped from asserting statutory right as surviving spouse to have her share of decedent's property pass without administration pursuant to Probate Code Sec. 13500 because permitting wife's share to pass without administration would reduce size of estate administered and reduce statutory administration commissions and attorney fees which are computed on the size of estate subject to administration, thereby affecting daughter, who had administered estate for years, and estate attorney, who expended over 240 hours in performing services for estate, and because wife would have been personally responsible for attorney fees had property passed to wife outside probate, wife benefited from fact that estate was administered.
     Estate of Bonanno - filed July 22, 2008, Second District, Div. Three
     Cite as 2008 SOS 4370
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