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VOLUME 11 | NUMBER 7 | JULY 2016
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Save the Date
Court News
Special Announcements
Recent Cases
Legal Developments
The Trusts and Estates Bulletin
is published monthly by the Trusts and Estates Section, coeditors:

Jana Gordon Garrotto
Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin LLP

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 Officers:

Matthew W. McMurtrey, Chair
Julia L. Birkel, Vice-Chair
Marc L. Sallus, Esq, Secretary & Treasurer
William L. Winslow, Immediate Past Chair


Save the Date
Trusts and Estates Symposium
September 23, 2016
Biltmore Hotel

More information to follow
Court News

Filing Update: The following is the updated list of documents that are to be filed in the courtroom and in the clerk's office. Please note that TRIAL BRIEFS are now to be accepted at the clerk's office, effective immediately.

Please note that the following briefs are still to be submitted in the courtrooms:

Mediation Brief
Settlement Conference Statement/Brief

Special Announcements
Click here for LACBA Officer and Trustee Election results.
Recent Cases
Civil Procedure

Arbitration clause in agreement among business partners, requiring parties to arbitrate "any controversy between the parties arising out of this Agreement," did not extend to malpractice suit against one of the parties--who acted both as a participant in the venture and as its legal counsel--based on his acts or omissions while acting as counsel.

Rice v. Downs - filed June 1, 2016, Second District, Div. One
Cite as 2016 S.O.S. 2748
Full text click here


Parties had entered into a valid arbitration agreement but the arbitrator terminated arbitration proceedings without entering judgment because one party ran out of funds to pay for its share of the arbitration, and the district court found that nonpayment by that party was due to financial hardship, the party was entitled to continue litigating in court.

Tillman v. Rheingold, Valet, Rheingold, Shkolnik & McCartney - filed June 15, 2016
Cite as 2016 S.O.S. 13-56624
Full text click here

Family Law

Juvenile court erred in requiring parental notice before appointing a guardian ad litem for a child who was seeking findings necessary for a "special immigrant juvenile" application under federal law.

Alex R. v Superior Court (Mirian R.) - filed June 13, 2016, Second District, Div. Seven
Cite as 2016 S.O.S. 2848
Full text click here


The juvenile court is terminating a probate guardianship pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code Sec. 728, which permits such termination in a dependency proceeding if it is in the best interests of the minor, the best-interests finding need only be made by a preponderance of the evidence.

In re Z.F. - filed June 15, 2016, Third District
Cite as 2016 S.O.S. 2882
Full text click here

Real Property

Quantification of prescriptive loss is not necessary to quiet title to groundwater rights. Trial court did all that was required when it declared that landowners' overlying rights were superior to the rights of all appropriators, except for the prescriptive rights proved in the trial court proceedings.

City of Santa Maria v. Adam - filed June 24, 2016, Sixth District
Cite as 2016 S.O.S. 3059
Full text click here

Trusts and Estates

Trial court's finding that proposed conservatee was "gravely disabled" under the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act was unsupported by substantial evidence that he could not survive safely in the community. Trial court found he had "a strong awareness of his problems and of his medication," including some understanding that the voices he heard were not real and that he did not "seem to allow [the voices] to interfere with his life" and where he had a friend willing and able to assist him.

Conservatorship of Jesse G. - filed June 23, 2016, First District, Div. Two
Cite as 2016 S.O.S. 3068
Full text click here


In an action to invalidate a will and testamentary trust instrument drafted by the attorney who was the primary beneficiary, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence--as tending to show a common plan or scheme--that the attorney had similarly benefitted from other instruments that he drew up. Substantial evidence supported finding that attorney/beneficiary drafted or transcribed trust, even though the original trust document was "lost" in a burglary. Heirs argued that the attorney switched a page to make himself the beneficiary and trial court drew the inference--in part from evidence that the attorney was in decedent's home for several hours before he died--that the burglary was staged to thwart a forensic document examination.

Butler v. LeBouef - filed June 20, 2016, Second District, Div. Six
Cite as 2016 S.O.S. 2920
Full text click here

Legal Developments

Click the links below to view the following on retirement plans from the Internal Revenue Bulletin 2016-26, dated June 27, 2016.

IRS Notice 2016-39 —
Provides guidance as to whether payments received by an employee from a qualified retirement plan during phased retirement are amounts received as an annuity under section 72 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Revenue Procedure 2016-36 —
Provides that Notice 2016-39, recovery of investment in the contract from payments received from a retirement plan by an employee during phased retirement, does not apply to amounts that are received from a non-qualified contract.  The revenue procedure concludes that in applying the § 72 regulations cited in the Notice to a non-qualified contract, the possibility of further contributions to the contract or a subsequent election under the contract to receive the benefit payable under the contract in a different manner generally will not affect the determination of whether distributions are amounts received as an annuity.


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