Court Updates 2020

During these unprecedented times Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, APC is active and available to help you with the Court Process and is available to litigate matters.

Given the retirement of Probate Judge Elizabeth Lippitt,  Effective October 2, 2020, the Probate Division at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, 111 N. Hill Street, Los Angeles, will implement the following change:  Newly Appointed Judge Lee R. Bogdanoff will be assigned to Department 29 of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Bogdanoff to the court on August 28, 2020, to replace B. Scott Silverman.  Judge Bogdanoff received his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

The September 2, 2020, Alameda County Probate Bench/Bar Meeting was sponsored  by the ACBA and EBTEL.  Alameda County Probate Judge Sandra Bean and Commissioner Ruben Sundeen presented a meeting on the new procedures and systems in place in the Probate Department during the Covid-19 crisis. Pursuant to Local Emergency rule 1.8b Remote hearings generally will be conducted through the BlueJeans audio and video conference platform.  Bluejeans can be accessed at or through the Court’s BlueJeans web site at

On August 4, 2020, the Beverly Hills Bar Association presented Catching Up with the Probate Judges and Presentation of the Timothy Whitehouse Award to Judge David J. Cowan.  Judge Cowan has been a long time Los Angeles Probate Judge and most recently the presiding Los Angeles County Probate Judge before moving on to a new civil assignment. Judges of the Probate Court for Los Angeles County discussed the current state of the Probate Court and will address issues and concerns affecting the Court, the courtroom transitions and any other questions submitted by our members.The Beverly Hills Bar Association Trust and Estate Section deals with issues such as estate planning; trust administration; probate of decedents’ estates; avoidance of probate; and the protection of incompetents and their assets through guardianships and conservatorships.

Next, to promote social distancing in the Los Angeles Probate Court during Covid-19, as of June 22, 2020, Probate practitioners and litigants are authorized to appear by phone or by video conference. The LaCourtConnect link here to arrange a video or call conference:


Recent relevant issues and cases include:


Code of Civil Procedure §664.6 allows courts to enter judgment under the terms of a settlement agreement, but a court cannot enter a judgment that contains an unenforceable liquidated damages clause. Where a landlord and tenant agreed to a stipulated judgment under which the landlord was entitled to judgment of a sum certain if the tenants did not vacate the property before an agreed-upon deadline, entry of judgement against the tenant pursuant to the stipulation was an unenforceable penalty since the stipulation was a compromise of disputed claims, the parties made no effort to anticipate the amount of damages that may flow from a breach of the stipulation, and there was no meaningful relationship between the amount and the stipulation for the tenant to vacate the property.

Graylee v. Castro – filed July 13, 2020, publication ordered Aug. 4, 2020, Fourth District, Div. Three
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 3595

Probate Code §21622 does not preclude application of a general disinheritance clause.

Rallo v. O’Brian – filed Aug. 3, 2020, Second District, Div. Three
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 3600

California’s Probate Code provides a statutory right of  recovery to children omitted from a decedent’s will or trust.
(§ 21600 et seq.) Section 21622 states: “If, at the time of the execution of all of decedent’s testamentary instruments effective at the time of decedent’s death, the decedent failed to provide for a living child solely because the decedent believed the child to be dead or was unaware of the birth of the child, the child shall receive a share in the estate equal in value to that which the child would have received if the decedent had died without having executed any testamentary instruments.”

The Probate Code did not always distinguish between omitted children born before execution of the testamentary documents and those born after execution. Enacted in 1931, former section 90 reflected the state’s “prior public policy against unintentional omission of a child from a parent’s will.” (Mowry, supra, 107 Cal.App.4th at p. 341.)

Accordingly, the enactment of the predecessor to section 21622 changed the statutory treatment of omitted children living at the time the decedent executed his will or trust. (Mowry, supra, 107 Cal.App.4th at p. 343; Della Sala, supra, 73 Cal.App.4th at p. 469.)

The presumption against unintentional omission remains intact for after-born children, however. They are “entitled to an intestate share unless an intention not to provide for the child appears from the will,”  or other exception under section 21621 is demonstrated. (Della Sala, at p. 469, fn. 4, italics added.)

Please contact Ginzburg & Bronshteyn to properly understand your rights and obligations as they relate to trust, estate, and conservatorship cases.  It is crucial to have appropriate advice throughout all stages of litigation. We provide invaluable, creative, efficient and cost-effective legal services. To discuss your needs and discover your options, consult the Los Angeles incapacity and estate planning attorneys at Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, APC. We serve clients in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, and throughout Southern and Northern California including Agoura Hills, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Camarillo, Encino, Hermosa Beach, Hidden Hills, Irvine, Lake Sherwood, La Jolla, Malibu, Marin County, Oxnard, Pasadena, Palo Alto, San Diego, San Francisco, San Rafael, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Simi Valley, Tarzana, Thousand Oaks, Torrance, West Los Angeles,Westlake Village, and Woodland Hills. Our attorneys are renowned for producing high quality work and working diligently to achieve our client’s goals. If you or someone you know is dealing with a dispute over the administration or execution of trust or estate in California, you should contact an experienced trusts and estates litigation attorney to ensure your interests are represented. We have developed a reputation for effective representation in complex and sophisticated matters as we guide you through the complex legal process. We are experienced in obtaining and defending against conservatorships. Our experienced Los Angeles conservatorship attorneys are here to help clients in Ventura County, Los Angeles, Orange County, Northern California and throughout Southern California defend their rights under the law. If you have questions about a loved one’s mental capacity, call the law firm of Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, APC at (310) 914-3222, (415) 465-6555, (858)605-4565, or (818) 787-1011, or reach us by using our online contact form.