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Upcoming Events
Save the Date
Court News
Practitioners' 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 Broomer, LLP

Jessica G. Gordon
Thompson Coburn 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

Gift to Prohibited Transferee?

Date: October 27, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Location: Webinar

Can You Ever Meet the "Clear & Convincing" Evidence Standard to Save the Gift to a Prohibited Transferee? Please join LACBA and the Trust and Estates section for this Lecture series program. The presenters will be discussing the below:

• categories of persons to whom “donative transfers” are presumptively assumed to be the product of fraud;

• certificates of independent review; and

• the difficulty in satisfying the “clear and convincing” evidence standard required to overcome the presumption.

Click here for more information

September Symposium - Part 3
Your Baby Turned 18 - Now What?

Date: October 28, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Location: Webinar

This will be presented by Julie Min Chayet, Managing Director, Private Client Advisor of Bank of America Private Bank in Westport, CT.

Julie Min Chayet will discuss key issues that arise when a child turns 18. As estate planning attorneys, we should educate our clients about these issues, and, in some instances, assist them in addressing some of these issues. Topics include healthcare directives and durable powers of attorney for college-aged children living outside of the household. Other topics that will be discussed are custodial accounts, 529 plans, health insurance and credit cards.

Registration: More information to be announced.

Save the Date

2020 Aviva K. Bobb Court Appointed Counsel Training

Date: November, 21, 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m
Location: Webinar

This advanced court appointed counsel training addresses E.C. 730 Reports, the Conservatee's Right to Stay Home, Dual Diagnosis Conservatees, Family Law Cross Over Issues, and Tips Regarding LA CourtConnect. The presenters include Judge May, Judge Rosenbloom, Judge Bobb, and a great group of probate colleagues. This program focuses on the higher level issues faced by court appointed counsel but will certainly have some useful tips for the probate bar as a whole. 4 hours of trusts and estates MCLE credit with 1 of the hours focused on the Competency requirement.

Registration: More information to be announced.


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


Court News

Please find below updates from LASC Probate Court as to Judicial Officers and Operations:

  • Current list of LASC Probate Judicial Officers are as follows:

Dept 2D – Judge Gus T. May
Dept 3 – Judge Paul T. Suzuki
Dept 4 – Judge Brenda Penny
Dept 4 (MSCs) – Judge Robert Wada
Dept 4 (MSCs) – Commissioner Mark Priver
Dept 5 – Judge Michael C. Small
Dept 9 – Judge Clifford L. Klein
Dept 11 - As an interim coverage arrangement, cases currently assigned to Dept. 11 and new cases assigned to Dept. 11 are handled by a current Probate judicial officer on a rotational basis (and based on Judicial Officer availability) until a replacement judicial officer is assigned to probate.
Dept 29 – Judge Lee R. Bogdanoff
Dept 44 – Judge Deborah L. Christian
Dept 67 – Judge Daniel Juarez
Dept 79 – Judge Ana Maria Luna

There is now a dedicated email address for Mandatory Settlement Conferences at:

  • In general, LACourtConnect appearances are going well and the majority of probate hearings are now heard remotely via LACourtConnect. For more information or to register to appear remotely, click here:
  • The Attorney Portal provides a centralized location where attorneys can find services provided by the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles. Subscription services are available now. For more information, see the Court’s Notice to Attorneys published September 25, 2020: 14202092510362320NT
    . Court Appointed Counsel will be able to see only cases they have been appointed to without a subscription fee.
  • Judge Lee R. Bogdanoff has joined the Probate division and is presiding in Dept. 29 of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse as of October 8th. Please join us in welcoming Judge Bogdanoff to Probate!
Recent Cases
Civil Procedure

In a Civil Code §3426.4 action, when a prevailing party receives an award of attorney fees, absent an enforceable agreement to the contrary, these fees belong to the attorney to the extent they exceed the fees the litigant already paid.

Aerotek v. Johnson Group Staffing (Porter Scott) - filed Sept. 15, 2020, Third District
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 4469
Full text click here >

A court may determine its jurisdiction before entering a default judgment. A trial court did not violate the plaintiffs’ due process rights by dismissing their case after providing specific notice it questioned its jurisdiction over the defendant and expressly inviting the plaintiffs to address that issue.

Brue v. Shabaab - filed Sept. 14, 2020, Second District, Div. Seven
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 4476
Full text click here >

An order granting a motion to strike is the signed order from which an appeal lies and constitutes entry of judgment triggering the 15-day jurisdictional time limit under Code of Civil Procedure §659. California Rules of Court 8.108 does not apply where the notice of motion for new trial was not filed within the jurisdictional limit of 15 days from service of notice of entry of the appealable order granting the anti-SLAPP motions.

Reyes v. Kruger - filed Sept. 25, 2020, Sixth District
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 4524
Full text click here >

A trial court had the authority to review motions to enforce a settlement agreement where the court expressly retained authority to ensure compliance with the settlement agreement’s terms; the court did not abuse its discretion in approving an amendment to the settlement’s eligibility criteria where the agreement expressly granted the parties the authority to amend the agreement with court approval and the court’s justification for ratifying the amendment was, thus, not illogical, implausible, or without any support.

In re Volkswagen Clean Diesel Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation - filed Sept. 10, 2020
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 19-16361
Full text click here >


A stipulation by the parties to an unlawful detainer action transformed a judicial arbitration into a binding contractual arbitration where the parties proceeded as through the arbitration were contractual and binding. A stipulation signed by counsel can be sufficient to show an arbitration agreement where the parties’ conduct was always consonant with a binding arbitration.

Rivera v. Shivers - filed Aug. 31, 2020, Fourth District, Div. Three
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 4270
Full text click here >

Family Law  

When a statute requires a fact to be found by clear and convincing evidence in a dependency case, and when there is a substantial evidence challenge, the reviewing court must determine whether the record contains substantial evidence from which a reasonable trier of fact could find the existence of that fact to be highly probable.

In re V.L. - filed Sept. 1, 2020, Second District, Div. Two 

A trial court erred in failing to send an alleged father statutory notice advising him of the process for elevating his status from alleged father and the consequences of not doing so; the error was prejudicial where the alleged father consistently maintained that he wanted custody of his daughter and he likely would have qualified as a presumed parent.

In re J.W.-P. - filed Sept. 8, 2020, First District, Div. Five; 
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 4391 
Full text click here > Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 4312


A defendant who is not a party to the contract or an agent of a party to the contract is a noncontracting party or stranger to the contract and, regardless whether the defendant claims a social or economic interest in the contractual relationship, may be liable in tort for intentional interference with contract.

Caliber Paving Co. v. Rexford Industrial Realty and Management - filed Sept. 1, 2020, Fourth District, Div. Three
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 4317
Full text click here >

Liability for the tort of intentional interference with expected inheritance arises if the interference resulting in injury is wrongful by some measure beyond the fact of the interference itself, such as improper motives or the use of improper means. The fact that a father signed a power of attorney authorizing his daughter to act as his agent did not allow the daughter to substitute her judgment for his when her judgment was in direct contravention of his wishes and was born out of her self-interest.

Gomez v. Smith - filed Sept. 22, 2020, Third District
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 4495
Full text click here >


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