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Upcoming Events
Save the Date
Court News
Online Webinars
Recent Cases


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

Jana G. Garrotto
Lewitt Hackman

Stefanie S. Cutler
Ruttenberg Cutler Broomer, LLP

Jessica G. Gordon
Thompson Coburn LLP

Julie Birkel
Hill, Farrer & Burrill LLP

Trusts and Estates Executive Committee Officers:

Jana G. Garrotto, Chair
Deborah Keesey, Vice-Chair
Susan Barlevav Devermont, Secretary & Treasurer
Stefanie S. Cutler, Immediate Past Chair


Upcoming Events

Court Appointed Counsel Training re: Guardian Ad Litems

Date: January 30, 2021, 1:30 p.m.—3:00 p.m.

Location: Webinar

Description: : Guardian Ad Litems – Practicalities and Ethics; 1.5 MCLE units

Registration: more information to be announced. 

Save the Date

Proposition 19 and Its Impact on the Parent-Child & Grandparent-Grandchild Exclusion

Date: February 5, 2021, 12:30 p.m.—1:30 p.m.

Location: Webinar

Description: The presenters will address how Proposition 19 changes reassessment exemptions on transfers of real property from a parent-to-child or grandparent-to-grandchild starting February 16, 2021.

Speakers: Jeffrey Prang, Los Angeles County Assessor, and Kevin Sayles, Vice President of Lawyers Title

More information to be announced.

LACBA Trusts and Estates Section Lecture Series Webinars

Date: February 26, 2021, 12:30 p.m.—1:30 p.m.

Location: Webinar

Description: Dog and Pony Show; Legislation and Case Updates

Speakers: Marshal A. Oldman and Marc L. Sallus of Oldman, Cooley, Sallus, Birnberg, Coleman, & Gold LLP

Registration: More information to be announced.

Date: March 22, 2021, 12:30 p.m.—1:30 p.m.

Location: Webinar

Description: Judgment Enforcement Issues for Trust and Estate Practitioners

Speaker: Adam L. Streltzer

Registration: More information to be announced.

View from the Bench

Date: April 15, 2021, 12:30 p.m.—1:30 p.m.

Location: Webinar

Registration: More information to be announced.

Where's the 'Fun' in Dysfunctional Families? Interactive Case Studies

Date: April 22, 2021, 4:00 p.m.—5:30 p.m.

Location: Webinar

Description: Through three (3) interactive case studies, this panel demonstrates how Professional Fiduciaries can team up with an Aging Life Care Managertm and trusted counsel to develop solutions to tricky family situations. The team will address how best to “wow” and persuade the judge to implement their solutions. The case studies will be derived from the practices and experiences of the panel and made interactive through multiple choice questions posed using the polling features of Zoom. Come ready to interact and vote for your best solutions to some hair-raising, dysFUNctional situations!

Speakers: Hon. Mary Thornton-House (Ret.); Lauriann Wright, Esq.; Robert Earnest, CLPF; and Brenda Shorkend, ALCM

Registration: More information to be announced.

Court News
Judge Jonathan L. Rosenbloom will be reassigned from Department F46, Chatsworth, to Probate Department 79, effective February 1, 2021

Our congratulations and warm welcome to Judge Jonathan L. Rosenbloom.

Updates as to Kern County Probate Court operations due to Covid-19 Pandemic

You can find the Zoom link under “Remote Court Hearings” at

See Standing Orders dated December 14, 2020 by clicking here.

LACBA Trust and Estates Section Webinars -
Available Online

Trusts and Estates Programming is also available from the LACBA Shop Online. Click any blue link below.

Aviva Bobb CAC Advanced Training

This advanced training for court appointed counsel will address E.C. 730 Reports, the conservatee's right to stay home, dual diagnosis conservatees, Family Law crossover Issues, and tips regarding LA CourtConnect. The esteemed panel of presenters will include Judge May, Judge Rosenbloom, Judge Bobb, and other members of the Probate judiciary.

Impact of Proposition 19 on Trust and Estate Practitioners

A part of the FREE LECTURE SERIES, this program will discuss the impact of California Proposition 19 (the Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue for Wildfire Agencies and Counties Amendment of 2020) on trust and estate practitioners from the perspective of an estate planner, a real property attorney, and a broker.



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


Recent Cases

Civil Procedure

When the Civil Discovery Act authorizes a monetary sanction, the trial court must impose such a sanction, unless the offending party acted with substantial justification or the imposition of the sanction would be unjust; where a trial court finds that a party engaged in extensive and deliberate misconduct, the trial court abuses its discretion in declining to impose sanctions.

Kwan Software Engineering, Inc. v. Hennings - filed Dec. 2, 2020, Sixth District
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 5762
Full text click here

Constitutional Law

A state actor cannot unilaterally seek to destroy a person’s property without first providing the individual notice of the intent to do so; a state actor who applies for a court order to destroy a person’s putative property, without notice to the person who has asserted ownership, is not entitled to qualified immunity.

Wright v. Beck - filed Dec. 1, 2020
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 19-55084
Full text click here


A trial court could reasonably determine that there was no agreement to arbitrate where the arbitration clause in a rental agreement was located on the back of the form, after the purchaser’s signature, and the back of the form was filled from top to bottom with closely spaced lines of small type, with nothing to call attention to the arbitration clause. When a party defeats an independent petition to compel arbitration, the action is terminated and the prevailing party on the petition is entitled to fees under Civil Code §1717. The filing of an appeal does not stay a motion for attorney fees.

Domestic Linen Supply Co. v. L J T Flowers - filed Dec. 4, 2020, Second District, Div. Six
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 5772
Full text click here

The definition of a prevailing party in a contract’s attorney fee provision does not trump the definition in Civil Code §1717. A defendant was not a prevailing party even though it admitted it owed plaintiff a portion of the contractual damages the plaintiff was seeking, and the jury’s lump sum award was for less than plaintiff’s damages claim at trial, because the defendant never tendered any portion of the plaintiff’s damages and requested a jury instruction indicating that it denies that it breached the contract.

Waterwood Enterprises v. City of Long Beach - filed Dec. 18, 2020, Second District, Div. One
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 6060
Full text click here >


Sufficient evidence supported a trial court’s finding of alter ego liability where the defendants owned all of the corporation’s stock, made all of the management decisions, commingled assets and made unauthorized use of corporate assets to pay for personal expenses.

Kao v. Joy Holiday - filed Nov. 12, 2020, publication ordered Dec. 7, 2020, First District, Div. Three
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 5824
Full text click here

Family Law  

A Probate Court cannot order forced visitation against the will of an adult conservatee, and against the judgment of her conservator.

Conservatorship of Navarrete - filed Dec. 4, 2020, publication ordered Dec. 21, 2020, Fourth District, Div. Two
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 6104
Full text click here

A juvenile court may, in its discretion and consistent with due process, condition a contested hearing concerning the parental relationship exception upon a parent’s submission of an offer of proof; the offer of proof must address two components of the parental relationship exception, namely, the parent’s regular contact with the child, and the existence of a beneficial parent-child relationship; the offer of proof need not address whether the existence of that relationship constitutes a compelling reason for determining that termination would be detrimental to the child.

In re A.G. - filed Dec. 18, 2020, Sixth District
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 6079
Full text click here

A community that has received a pro tanto interest in separate property (which includes reimbursement for payment of the mortgage principal) is not also entitled to reimbursement for payment of property taxes on separate property.

Marriage of Klemunes - filed Dec. 29, 2020, Third District
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 6210
Full text click here


Exclusive jurisdiction under Probate Code §17000 refers only to whether a matter should be heard in a superior court’s probate department or in another department of that same superior court; nothing in the statute vests jurisdiction or venue in one superior court as against a different county superior court. A probate court’s in rem jurisdiction over a decedent’s assets does not exist in the absence of a probate estate; a lawsuit over a decedent’s assets did not arise from the probate of an estate the estate had been settled and those assets had been transferred into an inter vivos trust that existed outside of probate.

Capra v. Capra - filed Dec. 22, 2020, Third District
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 6110
Full text click here 

Real Property

The word stock in Revenue and Taxation Code §62(a)(2) applies to all classes of stock, including both voting and non-voting stock.

Prang v. Amen - filed Dec. 7, 2020, Second District, Div. Five
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 5809
Full text click here

Even if cutting a tree’s roots constituted a common law trespass, Civil Code §3346 would not allow a trebling of damages without an intentional crossing of boundary lines into the land of another to injure timber.

Russell v. Man - filed Nov. 17, 2020, publication ordered Dec. 11, 2020, Fourth District, Div. Two
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 5932
Full text click here

A power of sale in a trust deed is enforceable even if the statute of limitations has run on the underlying obligation. Where the trust deed to a marital residence serves as the security for an obligation, the residence is presumptively community property, and if one spouse did not execute the trust deed, she has the power to void it.

Trenk v. Soheili - filed Dec. 21, 2020, Second District, Div. two
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 6092
Full text click here

Complete physical dispossession of a property is not a prerequisite to an award of damages under Code of Civil Procedure §1268.620.

San Joaquin Regional Transit District v. Superior Court (DSS-2731 Myrtle) - filed Dec. 1, 2020, publication ordered Dec. 28, 2020, Third District
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 6220
Full text click here

Trusts and Estates

There is no authority prohibiting the establishment of a limited conservatorship solely because it may result in an adult student’s transfer from a school that has failed to meet her educational needs. A probate court can consider its personal observations of a conservatee in assessing her ability to care for herself. A court is not required to set forth on the record the less restrictive alternatives to a conservatorship that it considered.

Conservatorship of O.B. - filed Dec. 2, 2020, Second District, Div. Six Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 5758
Full text click here


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