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Upcoming Events
Save the Date—Year at a Glance
Special Announcements
Recent Cases


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

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

Stefanie S. Cutler
Bloom & Ruttenberg

Roseann DeRosa

Jessica Ghirardo Gordon
Thompson Coburn LLP

Trusts and Estates Executive Committee Officers:

Julia L. Birkel, Chair
Marc L. Sallus, Esq, Vice-Chair
Stefanie S. Cutler, Secretary & Treasurer
Matthew W. McMurtrey, Immediate Past Chair


Upcoming Events
Annual Trusts and Estates Symposium @ Millennium Biltmore
Date: September 15, 2017
Program and Lunch: 12:00—4:30 p.m.
Location: 506 South Grand Ave Los Angeles, CA 90071

Program Description:
This year’s symposium will explore the effect proposed changes to the rules of professional conduct will have on an attorney’s approach to clients with diminishing capacity. A second panel will examine the impact family law issues have on both estate planning and post-death administration. Plus a third panel will present practical advice for navigating California’s complicated property tax rules.

3 hrs CLE credit, 1 hr Legal Ethics credit including Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Legal Specialization Credit.

Click here for more information and to register

Save the Date - Year at a Glance

For the purposes of planning for busy schedules, below is a listing of the dates for the events that the Trusts and Estates Section has scheduled for the upcoming year:

October 28, 2017
Limited Conservatorship PVP Training @ LACBA
(Additional Info TBA)

November 18, 2017
Aviva Bobb PVP @ Sportmen's Lodge
12825 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604 (Additional Info TBA)

December 7, 2017 –
Probate Atty/Judge CLE  Evening Program @ LACBA
Evening mixer/program (Additional Info TBA)

March 15, 2018
CLE Program @ LACBA
(Additional Info TBA)

April 21, 2018
Fundamental PVP @ LACBA
(Additional Info TBA)

June 7, 2018  –
View From the Bench @ Omni
(Additional Info TBA)
Special Announcements

Click here for new information regarding transfer of ownership documents from the Los Angeles County Registrar- Recorder/County Clerk’s Office

Recent Cases
Bankruptcy Law

A bankruptcy estate is entitled to the full amount of spendthrift trust distributions due to be paid as of the petition date, but the estate may not access any portion of that money the beneficiary needs for his support or education, as long as the trust instrument specifies that the funds are for that purpose. Estate may also reach 25 percent of expected future payments from the spendthrift trust, reduced by the amount the beneficiary needs to support himself and his dependents.

In re Reynolds - filed Aug. 15, 2017
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 12-60068
Full text click here >

Family Law

A man can be both a sperm donor and a presumed parent responsible for child support under Family Code Sec. 7611(d). The inability to establish parenthood under Sec. 7613 does not preclude a finding of parenthood under Sec. 7611(d).

County of Orange v. Cole - filed Aug. 15, 2017, Fourth District, Div. Three
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 4112
Full text click here >

Juvenile courts must make a parental unfitness or detriment finding by clear and convincing evidence before terminating the rights of noncustodial, nonoffending fathers. A father's entitlement to these constitutional safeguards does not vanish just because his child was under a legal guardianship at the outset of the dependency. The best interest of the child standard set forth in Probate Code Sec. 1516.5 applies when a legal guardian seeks to have the child declared free from the custody and control of one or both parents, not when the only reason a juvenile court is considering terminating parental rights is because the state brought a successful dependency action against the guardians.

In re D.H. - filed Aug. 22, 2017, Fourth District, Div. Two
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 4202
Full text click here >

The doctrine of collateral estoppel barred father from seeking a discharge of his child support arrears due to being the children's sole provider when he had previously sought such equitable relief. Although father may not have used the term "Trainotti credits" in the prior litigation, he effectively requested the type of relief described in Trainotti. Father was not entitled to equitable relief from the child support arrearages because father had unclean hands due to wrongfully withholding the children from mother.

In re Marriage of Parker - filed Aug. 22, 2017, Fourth District, Div. Two
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 4210
Full text click here >

Family Code Sec. 3104 does not authorize great-grandparents to petition for visitation.

Ed H. v. Ashley C. - filed Aug. 24, 2017, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 4271
Full text click here >

A court's discretion to make a permanent spousal support order retroactive is limited by Family Code Sec. 4333. The statute allows retroactivity only to the date of filing of the notice of motion or order to show cause regarding permanent support, not to the initiation of the action.

In re Marriage of Mendoza & Cuellar - filed Aug. 25, 2017, Fourth District, Div. Three
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 4355
Full text click here >

The "common necessaries of life" under Family Code Sec. 914 are items that all families need, such as food, clothing and shelter. The "necessaries of life" depend on the circumstances of the particular marriage. The "station in life" test applies to determine if a pre-separation debt was incurred for the "necessaries of life." A debt incurred by an attorney-spouse for office computer equipment was for the necessaries of life for that particular marriage, in part because that spouse's law practice generated community property income.

Direct Capital Corporation v. Brooks - filed Aug. 30, 2017, Third District
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 4390
Full text click here >


A party is entitled to a stay of discovery in an insurance coverage dispute if the discovery being sought is logically related to factual issues in a third-party action against the insured and no confidentiality order would adequately protect the insured's interests.

Riddell, Inc. v. Superior Court (Ace American Insurance Co.) - filed Aug. 23, 2017, Second District, Div. Seven
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 4214
Full text click here >

A title insurance company owed no coverage for a defect in the title for a parcel of property after its insured transferred ownership of the property to a third-party through a non-judicial foreclosure sale. There is no obligation to pay benefits under a title policy unless there is a loss. A secured lender suffers an indemnifiable "loss" under a title policy only if the lender fails to recoup the debt because of an undisclosed senior lien. Buyers who purchase property without a warranty receive the property in whatever condition title was in at that time.

Hovannisian v. First American Title Insurance Company - filed July 25, 2017, publication ordered Aug. 11, 2017, Fifth District
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 4083
Full text click here >

An indirect deprivation of an elder's property by reducing the value of the elder's voluntary transfer of funds into a trust will constitute a deprivation of an elder's property for purposes of the Elder Abuse Act.

Mahan v. Charles W. Chan Insurance Agency, Inc. - filed Aug. 23, 2017, First District, Div. Four
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 4284
Full text click here >

Real Property

A tree qualifies as a work of public improvement for purposes of inverse condemnation if the tree is deliberately planted by or at the direction of the government entity as part of a planned project or design serving a public purpose or use, such as to enhance the appearance of a public road.

Mercury Casualty Co. v. City of Pasadena - filed Aug. 24, 2017, Second District, Div. Three
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 4315
Full text click here >

Welfare and Institutions

Admission of case-specific hearsay testimony from an expert witness on hearing for appointment of a conservator was error. Such error was harmless where this unimpeached testimony was the only medical evidence before the jury.

Conservatorship of the Person of K.W. - filed Aug. 3, 2017, First District, Div. Five
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 3920
Full text click here >



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