Click for LACBA Trusts and Estates Section Newsletter Online Version
dark blue triangle in newsletter heading
Upcoming Events
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
Lewitt Hackman

Stefanie S. Cutler
Ruttenberg Cutler Broomer, LLP

Jessica G. Gordon
Gordon Trust Law

Julie Birkel
Hill, Farrer & Burrill LLP

Trusts and Estates Executive Committee Officers:

Debbie Keesey, Chair
Susan Barlevav Devermont, Vice-Chair
Sarah Broomer, Secretary & Treasurer
Jana G. Garrotto, Immediate Past Chair


T and E banner-536w
Upcoming Events

2021 Trusts and Estates Lecture Series

Title Insurance and Real Property Issues: Probate, Trusts, & Estates 2021 Edition

Date: October 22, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Speaker: Kevin Sayles, Lawyers Title

Description: 1.0 CLE credits. FREE for all attendees!
The presenter will discuss the recent developments in title insurance and real property issues as it relates to probate, trusts, and estates.

Click here to register or for more information.

Save the Date

2021 Trusts and Estates Lecture Series

Handling Decedents' Estates and Trusts with Community Property or Debt Issues

Date: November 5, 12:30 p.m.

Speaker: Lynda I. Chung, Valensi Rose PLC

Description: 1.0 CLE credits. FREE for all attendees!
Following a spouse's death, the surviving spouse and heirs are often left with the decedent's debts.  In some estates, it is the surviving spouse who asserts claims against his or her decedent spouse.  This program will discuss how California community property law affects creditors' claims against the decedent's estate or trust and the surviving spouse's and heirs' exposure to the decedent's debts.  The program will also discuss potential community property disputes which can arise between the surviving spouse and the decedent's spouse's estate and practical tips to handle such disputes.

Registration: More information to be announced.


Probate Minor's Counsel Mandatory Training

Date: November 13

Topics confirmed thus far are - A Primer on Guardianships and LGBTQIA Issues in Guardianships (Elimination of Bias Credit)

Speakers: Stefanie Bennett, Esq., Mieko Failey, Esq., William Spiller, Esq.

Registration: More information to be announced.


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


Court News

LASC Probate Court Changes

Please note the following changes currently scheduled to take effect in the LASC Probate Court in January 2022:

i. Social distancing rescinded
ii. Hearings will be scheduled at the following times:
1. 8:30 – Initial Petitions & OSC’s
2. 9:30 – Contested matters, Matters requiring more time, Motions;
3. 10:30 – Guardianships;
4. 11:00 – Conservatorships;
5. 1:30 – Evidentiary hearings, Trials.
iii. Ex Partes –  Ex Partes will continue to be handled as drop off (no attendance of counsel) and court will set the matter for hearing if necessary.

Click below to see the latest updates from the Los Angeles Superior Court regarding the Appellate Division for 2022 and Mandatory Upgrades to Odyssey Case Management System affecting availability of some Online Services:

Practitioners' Notes:

Please place date of the Ex Parte under the title of the pleading. Often the date and time of the intended Ex Parte appearance is buried in the Declaration of Ex Parte Notice and the probate attorneys processing the Ex Partes have to take extra time to find the date. Providing this information under the title of the pleading will help encourage the faster processing of the Ex Parte.

Special Announcements

Authors wanted for Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine

Los Angeles Lawyer magazine, the premier publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association which is distributed to all of its members monthly, is seeking scholarly articles and practice tips written by lawyers on topics of current interest to its readers. If you have recently spoken at a seminar, you probably already have materials that can be adapted for such an article. Please contact Norm Chernin at or Trusts and Estates Section Liaison Cynthia Pearson at to discuss publication of your article in the magazine and for further article guidelines.

Recent Cases

Attorney Fees

An oral contingency fee agreement between a company and its in-house counsel is void under Business and Professions Code §6147.

Missakian v. Amusement Industry - filed Sept. 29, 2021, Second District, Div. Five
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 5462
Full text click here

Civil Procedure

An attorney who represents only himself and does not pay or become liable to pay consideration in exchange for legal representation may not recover attorney fees under the equitable common fund doctrine, but may seek recovery of legitimate, reasonable costs excluding attorney fees under that doctrine.

Leiper v. Gallegos - filed Sept. 23, 2021, Second District, Div. Six
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 5290
Full text click here >

An order made directing execution of a judgment, or staying execution of a judgment, is appealable. Application of the disentitlement doctrine was justified where a litigant willfully refused to comply with a trial court’s order compelling mediation and arbitration on an ongoing basis for four years, and engaged in actions designed to negate the court’s order, and the litigant violated at least five orders awarding fees and costs.

Findleton v. Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians - filed Sept. 29, 2021, First District, Div. Two
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 5473
Full text click here >

An order granting a motion to quash service of summons is appealable. Service by publication requires strict compliance with the applicable statutes; if a legal description or a property is given, then the omission of the street address is not fatal, but if the legal description was not given, the omission of the street address is fatal.

Humphrey v. Bewley - filed Sept. 28, 2021, Fourth District, Div. Two
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 5422
Full text click here>

Consumer Protection

A petitioner seeking judicial findings that would enable him to petition the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to classify him as a special immigrant juvenile under federal immigration law has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence the facts supporting SIJ status; where a trial court has found his evidence did not support the requested findings, the petitioner has the burden on appeal of showing that he is entitled to the SIJ findings as a matter of law.

Guardianship of S.H.R. - filed Sept. 2, 2021, Second District, Div. One
Cite as 2021 S.O.S.4963
Full text click here >

Criminal Law and Procedure

There is no exception to the marital privilege if the marriage is nonviable.

People v. Barefield - filed Sept. 10, 2021, Third District
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 5085
Full text click here >


Dual-purpose communications between an attorney and client were not privileged where the primary purpose of the documents was to obtain tax advice, not legal advice.

In re Grand Jury - filed Sept. 14, 2021
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 21-55085
Full text click here >

A trial court erred in failing to give weight to an expert declaration where there were undisputedly no circumstances that made the expert’s testimony inadmissible; the contradiction between the expert’s declaration and his deposition testimony does not eliminate the declaration’s evidentiary value where the declaration did not flatly contradict the deposition testimony and provided no basis to conclude that the opinion expressed in the declaration was actually the valid one.

Harris v. Thomas Dee Engineering - filed Sept. 2, 2021, First District, Div. Five
Cite as 2021 S.O.S.4958
Full text click here>


A testator’s statement that I declare that for convenience or through inadvertence title to some property owned by myself and my husband may be held of record in the form of joint tenancy, but that all such property is in fact intended to be our community property does not reflect a clear and unequivocal intent to sever a joint tenancy at the time of execution of the will since the language is nonspecific, it does not refer to any particular property, and it does not clearly provide that testator intended a unilateral severance of joint tenancy in co-owned properties to be irrevocable during her lifetime and to take immediate effect.

Pearce v. Briggs - filed Aug. 4, 2021, publication ordered Aug. 31, 2021, Fifth District
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 4923
Full text click here >

Probate Code §15402 does not establish an independent rule regarding modification; it codifies the existing rule that the power of revocation includes the power of modification, thus an available method of revocation is also an available method of modification—unless the trust instrument provides otherwise.

Haggerty v. Thornton - filed Sept. 16, 2021, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 5162
Full text click here >

A challenge to investment decisions that a trust expressly empowers a trustee to make, can amount to a contest; the purpose of no contest clauses is to discourage litigation that challenges the intent of the donor, and a pleading that initiates such litigation can violate a no contest clause even if its allegations are later withdrawn. A no contest clause is overbroad whenever it imposes a forfeiture for bringing a claim that should be permitted as a matter of public policy.

Dae v. Traver - filed Sept. 27, 2021, Second District, Div. Two
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 5404
Full text click here >

Real Property

The Quiet Title Act’s statute of limitations is jurisdictional.

Wilkins v. U.S. - filed Sept. 15, 2021
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 20-35745
Full text click here >

While a landowner has no common law right to an unobstructed view over adjoining property, a municipal ordinance specifically allowing a property owner to seek an abatement of a tree view obstruction provides a cause of action based on a nuisance theory, and the tree view obstruction constitutes a continuous nuisance.

Kahn v. Price - filed Sept. 22, 2021, First District, Div. Three
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 5301
Full text click here >


© 2021 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 200 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

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