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VOLUME 15 | NUMBER 3 |  MARCH 2020
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Upcoming Events
Save the Date
Court News
Practitioner's Notes
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


Upcoming Events

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).

Click here for more information

Save the Date

LACBA Trusts and Estates Lecture Series
Annual Trial Skills Lecture

Date: April 21, 2020
Location: Stanley Mosk Courthouse in the Presiding Judge’s Courtroom, room 222
Justice Maria E. Stratton
Judge Clifford L. Klein
Vivian L. Thoreen, Esq. (partner at Holland & Knight LLP)
James H. Turken, Esq. (partner at Greenspoon Marder LLP)

More Information to be announced.


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


Court News

Effective April 1, 2020, the Hon. Ana Maria Luna will be assigned to probate in Department 79. She will briefly overlap with Judge Suzuki, who will then move to Department 3 and handle long-cause matters. Judge Suzuki’s calendar will remain in Dept. 79.

Practitioner's Notes
Declarations of Urgency and Orders:
  1. Declarations of Urgency no longer work in processing orders. Proposed orders are sent into the order process for review while the Declaration re Urgency is simply filed but would not be seen until the proposed order reaches the top of the list for processing. If the entry of the Order is urgent (for example, if it’s needed before escrow can close), then submit the proposed order via the ex parte process.
  2. If there are exigent circumstances regarding the immediate entry of an Order, you may want to try having a proposed order prepared at the hearing in case the Bench Officer may be able to sign it that day.
  3. Particularly since the entry of orders can be delayed if the terms do not track the Minute Order, in cases where a settlement has been reached and there are multiple matters on calendar, you may want to provide the Judicial Assistant written notes (they can be informal) about what relief will be recited into the record and what the Minute Order should reflect. The written notes should be pre-cleared with all counsel involved and any parties who are self represented.
  4. If you are seeking approval of settlements in multiple matters, a separate petition needs to be filed for each case number.
Recent Cases
Evidence Law

An economic consultant with no experience allocating costs for a subscription-based newspaper with paid advertising, lacked the foundational knowledge to conduct a cost analysis for a claim that a defendant sold a certain type of print advertising at prices that violated California’s Unfair Practices Act; an expert’s uninformed reliance on another’s analysis is not the mark of an opinion rooted in sound logic.

San Francisco Print Media Company v. The Hearst Corporation - filed Jan. 31, 2020, First District, Div. Three
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 461
Full text click here >

Real Property

A trial court erred in concluding that a coastal development permit was required under state law regulations promulgated by the California Coastal Commission where the commission had certified a city’s local coastal program and the local coastal program provisions did not require coastal development permits for improvements to existing structures.

Citizens for South Bay Coastal Access v. City of San Diego - filed Feb. 18, 2020, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 679
Full text click here >

Social Security

Denial of disability benefits was appropriate where the administrative law judge provided specific and legitimate reasons for discounting the opinions of the claimant’s physicians, correctly concluded that the claimant’s impairments did not result in an inability to ambulate effectively, and relied reasonably on a vocational expert's testimony despite the expert's failure to provide information about the sources underlying the testimony.

Ford v. Saul - filed Feb. 20, 2020
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 18-35794
Full text click here >

Probate Law

Probate Code § 825(a) requires that the proposed conservatee be produced at the hearing on the guardianship petition unless certain exceptions are met; the proposed conservatee may be excused from attending the hearing if she expressly communicated that she is unwilling to attend and does not contest the conservatorship or oppose the proposed conservator. There is no authority allowing a biological parent to waive the §1825 rights of an adult proposed conservatee, regardless of the degree of mental impairment.

Conservatorship of A.E. - filed Feb. 18, 2020, Second District, Div. Six
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 677
Full text click here >

A contingent future interest is property no matter how improbable the contingency; persons in existence, who are specifically designated in a trust instrument to take in default of the exercise of a power of appointment by the holder of the preceding estate, are beneficiaries of that trust and acquire vested remainder interests, although their interests are subject to complete divestment. If a proceeding will adversely affect a person’s property interest, due process requires that the person be given notice by mail of the proceeding and an opportunity to be heard when the person’s name and address are reasonably ascertainable.

Roth v. Jelley - filed Feb. 24, 2020, First District, Div. Two
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 792
Full text click here >

A probate court did not err in equitably reforming a pour-over will where there was substantial evidence the testator’s actual and specific intent at the time the trust and will were drafted was to dispose of her separate property only; where there is a mistake in expression of the testator’s actual and specific intent at the time the will was drafted, the will should be reformed to express that actual intent.

Wilkin v. Nelson - filed Feb. 3, 2020, publication ordered Feb. 26, 2020, Second District, Div. Six
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 907
Full text click here >

Real Property

Whether a trespass or nuisance claim for an encroachment is barred by the statute of limitations turns on whether the encroachment is continuing or permanent; for permanent encroachments, the three-year statute of limitations begins to run on the date the encroachment began, and bars all claims brought after its passage; for continuing encroachments, a plaintiff may assert a claim even if the encroachment began outside the limitations period, but is limited to recovering damages incurred in the preceding three-year period.  The crucial test of the permanency of a trespass or nuisance is whether the trespass or nuisance can be discontinued or abated.

Madani v. Rabinowitz - filed Feb. 24, 2020, Second District, Div. four
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 800
Full text click here >


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