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Special Announcements
Did You Know?
Recent Cases
The Trusts and Estates Bulletin is published monthly by the Trusts and Estates Section, coeditors:

Jana Gordon Garrotto
Law Offices of Garrotto & Garrotto

Stefanie S. Cutler
Bloom & Ruttenberg

Richard A. Luftman
Richard A. Luftman, Attorney at Law

Roseann DeRosa
Law Office of Roseann DeRosa

Trusts and Estates Executive Committee:

William L. Winslow, Chair
Matthew W. McMurtrey, Vice-Chair
Julia L. Birkel, Secretary
Trudi Schindler, Immediate Past Chair

Denise T. Ambrosio
Aurora Basa
Susan Ellen Barlevav
Stefanie S. Cutler
Roseann DeRosa
Zachary Dresben
Yolande P. Erickson
Jana Gordon Garrotto
Sibylle Grebe
Duncan Hromadka
Stephen M. Lowe
Richard A. Luftman
Albert F. Mikulencak
Leigh Shipp Muniz
Mary L. O'Neill
John E. Rogers, Jr
Marc L. Sallus
Donald Scoggins

Ex Officio Members:
James R. Birnberg
Susan Jabkowski
Kira S. Masteller
Amy L. McEvoy
Jonathan L. Rosenbloom
Stuart David Zimring

Special Announcements
Announcement from the Chair

The Trusts and Estates Section Executive Committee has temporarily suspended the popular "Brown Bag Lunch" programs at the downtown Stanley Mosk Courthouse. Our program for November, regarding bonds for personal representatives, was cancelled, as was a scheduled January date.

In October the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA) announced a plan to charge fees for attending a Brown Bag program that offers CLE credit. The new fees would be $50 for members of the Trusts and Estates Section and $65 to other LACBA members; however, such programs could still be offered free of charge if no CLE units were provided.

LACBA's announced plan for our section, part of a plan for all the sections, is now undergoing a review by LACBA leadership and concerned section leaders. Your Executive Committee is hopeful that some policy more appealing to section members can be devised; but in the meantime, we find neither of the two options offered ($50/$65 instead of free admission, or free admission but no CLE) to be good choices at present for our programming efforts.

Bill Winslow
Trusts and Estates Section
Did You Know?

Did you know… in the Central District, for an appointment of a Probate Referee in a decedent’s estate; use LASC local form PRO001 which can be found at Paragraph Six on the judicial council form, Order for Probate, is not used to appoint a Probate Referee.

Recent Cases
Civil Procedure

Trial court had specific jurisdiction over non-resident defendant, served by publication after diligent efforts at personal service failed, in action in which it was alleged that California real property was fraudulently conveyed to him by his wife to evade claim by plaintiff creditor.

Buchanan v. Soto - filed November 6, 2015, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2015 S.O.S. 5315
Full text click here 


Trial court erred in taking judicial notice of pleadings in foreign action for the purpose of resolving disputed factual issues on demurrer.

Richtek USA, Inc. v. uPI Semiconductor Corporation - filed November 24, 2015, Sixth District
Cite as 2015 S.O.S. 5614
Full text click here 


Where auto sales agreement between seller and Spanish-speaking buyer was negotiated in Spanish, with written contract in English and Spanish, and trial court found that English-language portion contained an arbitration clause but Spanish portion did not, there was no enforceable agreement to arbitrate.

Ramos v. Westlake Services LLC - filed October 30, 2015, publication ordered November 24, 2015, First District, Div. Two
Cite as 2015 S.O.S. 5618
Full text click here

Criminal Law and Procedure

Finding that incompetent minor had been restored to competency did not deprive him of due process where both the judicial officer and expert witness observed that minor was engaged in the proceedings, and there was no hint in the record that he did not understand what was taking place at the attainment-of-competency hearing.

In re Albert C. - filed November 10, 2015, Second District, Div. Five
Cite as 2015 S.O.S. 5329
Full text click here

Family Law

If property is acquired during marriage with both separate and community funds, the transmutation requirements of Family Code Sec. 852 must be satisfied before the reimbursement provisions of Sec. 2640 apply. Where there was no express transmutation of husband’s separate property, his property contributions remained separate property. He held a separate property interest in the property proportionate to the separate property funds that he contributed.

In re Marriage of Bonvino - filed November 10, 2015, Second District, Div. Five
Cite as 2015 S.O.S. 5342
Full text click here 

Real Property

Tenant may not challenge the allegedly defective service of a three-day notice via a motion to quash service of summons, because the three-day notice is an element of an unlawful detainer action. The broad declaration of Delta Imports, Inc. v. Municipal Court (1983) 146 Cal. App. 3d 1033, that a motion to quash is the proper way to contest whether an unlawful detainer complaint states a cause of action and to challenge service of a notice to pay or quit, is not supportable.

Borsuk v. Appellate Division of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (La Hillcreste Apartments, LLC) - filed November 23, 2015, Second District, Div. Four
Cite as 2015 S.O.S. 5606
Full text click here  

Trusts and Estates

Appellate court cannot "undo" a sale of trust property that had been completed with court approval under Probate Code Sec. 1310(b). Testimony of physicians experienced in determining capacity supported conclusion that trustee was lawfully removed, as incapable of managing trust affairs, under the criteria of Sec. 811. Extraordinary circumstances, notably the fact that major trust asset was facing an imminent death spiral because of trustee's behavior, supported order for immediate sale of that asset. Revocation of trust did not preclude remaining trustee from completing sale of trust asset under "wind up" powers.

Sterling v. Sterling - filed Nov. 16, 2015, Second District, Div. Eight
Cite as 2015 S.O.S. 5464
Full text click here


FirstMerit Bank sought to enforce a money judgment against Reese by applying for an order under Code Civ. Proc., § 708.510 assigning Reese’s interest in two trusts to FirstMerit, and an order restraining her from otherwise disposing of her right to payment under the trusts. The trial court denied the motion because a debtor’s interest in a trust is specifically not subject to such an assignment order.
The court of appeal affirmed. The only means by which a judgment creditor may enforce a money judgment against a beneficiary’s interest in a trust is by a lien under Code Civ. Proc., § 709.010.  However, such an order must be sought from the court with jurisdiction over the trust. In this case the trusts were administered in Ohio. Therefore, even if FirstMerit had utilized the correct procedure, the California court had no jurisdiction to impose such a lien.

FirstMerit Bank, N.A. v. Diana L. Reese - filed November 19, 2015, Fourth District, Div. Two
Cite as E061480
Full text click here


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