Click for LACBA Trusts and Estates Section Newsletter Online Version
dark blue triangle in newsletter heading
Save the Date
Court News
Recent Cases


The Trusts and Estates eBulletin
is published monthly by the Trusts and Estates Law Section, coeditors:

Jana G. Garrotto

Stefanie S. Cutler
Ruttenberg Cutler, LLP

Jessica G. Gordon
Thompson Coburn LLP

Trusts and Estates Executive Committee Officers:

Stefanie S. Cutler, Chair
Jana G. Garrotto, Vice-Chair
Deborah Keesey, Secretary & Treasurer
Marc L. Sallus, Immediate Past Chair


Save the Date

Minors Counsel Training

Date: February 8, 2020
Time: 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Location: LACBA

More Information to be announced.

LACBA Trusts and Estates Lecture Series

Date: February 18, 2020 (* Rescheduled from 1/14/2020)
Time: 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.
Location: Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Topic: Ethical Issues in Trust & Estates
Speakers: Hon. Mary Thornton House, Judge (Ret.) and Stefanie Cutler, Esq.

More Information to be announced.

No Certificate of Independent Review?
Can the Gifts to A Prohibited Transferee Otherwise Be Salvaged?

Date: March 19, 2020
Location: LACBA
Speakers: Nancy Reinhardt, Esq. (Law Offices of Nancy Reinhardt), Mark Lester, Esq. (Jones, Lester, Schuck, Becker & Dehesa), and Sarah S. Broomer, Esq. (Ruttenberg Cutler Broomer, LLP).

More Information to be announced.


We'd like to thank The Sanborn Team for their sponsorship of our events.


Court News

Changes in the Probate Court

Our gratitude and sincere thanks to Judge David J. Cowan for his distinguished service on the Probate Court for the past six and an half years. We thank him for his service and wish him well in his new Civil Assignment at Mosk. Judge Cowan’s last day in Probate is January 31, 2020.

We also congratulate Judge Brenda Penny, the current Assistant Supervising Judge, who is to be the next Supervising Judge of Probate and Mental Health and Judge Robert Wada who will be the next Assistant Supervising Judge.

New Procedure for Requests for Continuances of Petitions

Effective January 15, 2020, the Probate Division is changing the process for seeking a continuance of petition hearing dates at the Stanley Mosk and Antelope Valley courthouses.

A new form, Form LASC PRO 080, Request to Continue Petition Hearing and Order, must be used to request a continuance of any petition hearing date. The form may not be used to request a continuance of an Order to Show Cause hearing, trial, settlement conference, restraining order or motion. Additional details are available in Form LASC PRO 081-INFO, including these important requirements:

  • A separate form is required for each petition hearing sought to be continued.
  • The forms and fees must be submitted for filing no less than five court days from the scheduled hearing date.
  • Requests for continuance submitted less than five court days from the hearing date must be made by filing an Ex Parte Application or by appearing and making the request at the hearing.
  • If the petition is uncontested, only the signature of the requesting person is required on the Request to Continue Hearing form.
  • If the petition is contested, the signatures of all respondents or persons who have appeared are required.

Pursuant to Government Code Section 70617(c)(1) & (2), a $20 fee is applicable for filing the Request to Continue Petition Hearing and Order form. The fee is less than the fee required to file an Ex Parte Application.

Please note the Court will eliminate the practice of allowing email requests to be submitted to the Probate Attorney or Probate Examiner assigned to prepare the Probate notes on the petition hearing to be continued.

The new forms may soon be accessed at and are attached hereto:

Changes as to Appointments of Court Appointed Counsel in Probate

The Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles (Court) is making changes to procedures impacting Court-Appointed Counsel in Probate. Applications to be considered for addition to the Court-Appointed Counsel Panel (Panel) may now be submitted at any time throughout the year.

Effective January 15, 2020, initial appointments will be generated randomly. The Court will offer appointments, along with a copy of the petition via email, to one panel member at a time. This process replaces the current process of sending the invitation to accept the appointment to multiple attorneys and accepting the first response. If a Panel member declines an appointment, names of counsel will not be removed or moved down to the bottom of a list when an appointment is declined. The Court will draw the name of another Panel member randomly from those who have made themselves available within the geographical region of the petitioner.

The Panel member will have 48 hours to advise the Court whether he or she accepts or declines the proposed appointment. If a Panel member fails to respond to the Court within 48 hours, the Court will extend the offer to another Panel member.

Once a Panel member accepts an appointment, the Court will issue an order authorizing the Panel member to work up to 12 hours for initial appointments, or up to 10 hours for reappointments. To receive payment, Panel members must provide the Court an itemized list of all work performed on the Petition. Any additional work required beyond the 12 hours for initial appointments, or 10 hours for reappointments, must be submitted for pre-approval.

To ensure it only offers appointments to Panel members willing to serve clients in specified geographic regions, the Court established the following four regions. The regions are:

  • North (North District)
  • East (Northeast, East, Southeast, North Central, and South-Central Districts)
  • Central (Central District, and out of county conservatees)
  • West (Northwest, South, Southwest, West, and North Valley Districts)

The Court previously surveyed Panel members about the regions in which they are willing to serve. Counsel who did not specify a preference are designated as accepting appointments from all four regions. Counsel may change their region selection by emailing at any time.

Random appointments are made based on qualifications as represented by counsel at time of application, or renewal, and based on attorney availability and acceptance of appointments. Consequently, Panel membership does not guarantee a minimum number of appointments and randomized appointments may not result in equal assignments.

Should you have any questions regarding the Court-Appointed Counsel process, please contact the Court at

New Annual or Other Periodic Review Hearings in Guardianship Cases

Starting January 15, the Court is re-instituting annual or other periodic review hearings in guardianship cases, in the discretion of the assigned bench officer, to monitor the ward’s care and/or as may be needed to further the child’s best interests. Investigator reports may make recommendations in this regard - as they do now related to minors counsel. A new JTD will appear on the notes.

Probate Division Announces Online Scheduling for Settlement Conferences

Starting January 2, reservations for the SFVBA settlement officer program will no longer be in the book in Dept. 9 but will be made through an online program accessible from the Probate Division page of the Court’s website.

Click Here for More Information

Recent Cases
Civil Procedure

Showing up for trial unprepared may subject a party to monetary sanctions, but it does not constitute a waiver of the right to jury, and a court has no power under these circumstances to refuse to conduct a jury trial.

Chen v. Lin; Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles - filed Nov. 14, 2019
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 4006
Full text click here>

Real Property

Before appointing a receiver under Health and Safety Code §17980.7(c), a court must determine whether the owner of the property received constitutionally adequate notice and an opportunity to correct the health and safety violations within a reasonable amount of time, and whether the person nominated to be appointed as a receiver has the capacity and expertise to develop and supervise a viable financial and construction plan for the rehabilitation of the property.

City of Desert Hot Springs v. Valenti - filed Dec. 13, 2019, publication ordered Dec. 19, 2019, Fourth District, Div. Two
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 4436
Full text click here >

A hearsay statement concerning the boundary of land is admissible under Evidence Code §1323 as long as it does not lack trustworthiness, even if the declarant had an interest in the disputed boundary.

McDermott Ranch v. Connolly Ranch - filed Dec. 17, 2019, Third District
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 4339
Full text click here >

For purposes of Civil Code §2953, a loan modification agreement is appropriately viewed as the making or renewal of a loan secured by a deed of trust; this agreement is therefore subject to the anti-waiver provisions of §2953 and §2954c gives the homeowners the opportunity to cure their precipitating default by making up those missed payments and paying the associated late charges and fees, and in that way to avoid the consequences of default on the modified loan.

Taniguchi v. Restoration Homes LLC - filed Dec. 16, 2019, First District, Div. Two
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 4312
Full text click here


Primary assumption of risk does apply in a case where the defendants had not hired or engaged the plaintiff to confront the risk that resulted in his injuries.

Gordon v. Arc Manufacturing (Golden Eagle Insurance) - filed Dec. 19, 2019, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 4440
Full text click here >


© 2020 Los Angeles County Bar Association Contact LACBA at


You are subscribed to as %%emailaddr%% .

You are receiving this message because you are a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA) or one of its sections, have registered to receive correspondence through LACBA's website, or are a member of the legal profession. If you wish to be excluded from any future correspondence, please see instructions below or mail us at 1055 West 7th Street, Suite 2700, Los Angeles, CA 90017-2557.

To unsubscribe from this mailing list, click the following url, %%url.unsub%% or copy and paste the following url into your browser %%url.unsub%%

Trusts and Estates Section facebook icon LACBA twitter icon LACBA linkedin Trusts and Estates Section Homepage