Estate Planning & Probate luncheon with Judge Glen Reiser, Ventura County Probate Judge

On May 26, 2016, the Estate Planning and Probate Section of the Ventura County Bar Association was fortunate to have Judge Glen M. Reiser, presiding probate judge, present a State of the Probate Court address at the Wedgewood Ventura.  Firm partner and trust litigator, Yasha Bronshteyn attended Judge Reiser’s presentation as to the current state of the Probate Court and new Probate Appellant Cases were discussed. Judge Reiser is currently assigned to Courtroom J6 at the Juvenile and Probate Courthouse hearing all probate, conservatorship, guardianship estates and environmental cases.  The Probate Court is located at 4353 E. Vineyard Avenue Oxnard, California 93036.  Judge Reiser was appointed to the Ventura Superior Court bench by Governor Pete Wilson in 1998.

Cases discussed included:

(1) The Carne v. Worthington – filed April 13, 2016, Fourth District, Div. One was an Appeal from an order of the Superior Court of San Diego County, Jeffrey S. Bostwick, Judge. This case concerned certain real property located at Via Regla in La Jolla, California. Record title to the Via Regla Property was held by the trustee to the 1985 Trust. The issue here was the decedent’s daughter’s Petition to confirm that certain real property previously owned by Liebler, located on Via Regla, had been properly transferred to the 2009 Trust. The 2009 Trust states, “I transfer to my Trustee the property listed in Schedule A, attached to this agreement,” and lists the Via Regla Property in Schedule A. The 2009 Trust is signed by Liebler as grantor and by defendant and respondent, Nancy Worthington, and Craig Castle as co-trustees. However, Decedent’s grandson claimed the 2009 Trust was not a valid trust because Liebler had not properly transferred title to the only asset allegedly in the 2009 Trust, the Via Regla Property. Specifically, Hasting argued that Liebler had not effectively transferred the Via Regla Property into the 2009 Trust because Liebler had failed to execute a deed transferring the property to the trust.

Trust language “I transfer to my Trustee the property listed in Schedule A, attached to this agreement,” was sufficient to convey to the trust a property listed in the schedule, and the trustor was not required to execute a separate deed in order to effectuate such conveyance. Because at the time the trust was created, a prior trust was a revocable inter vivos trust, and trustor was the sole trustee who owned no interest in the property as an individual, his signature on the later trust was sufficient “to convey good title” to the property from the prior trust to the later trust.

(2)  Conservatorship of Bower which was a Orange County Probate cases originally heard by Randall Sherman. This matter was Certified for Publication May 16, 2016, Fourth District, Div.

In the instant case Lynn Bower paid for the support and maintenance of her conservatee husband, David. The probate court ordered her to pay professional and legal fees directly to David’s conservators and creditors, reasoning that attorneys’ fees and conservator’s fees are part of the conservatee’s support and maintenance. Lynn paid the professional fees indirectly, by satisfying liens placed on community assets after they were sold, thus failing to comply with the literal terms of the order. As a result of Lynn’s noncompliance with the order, the probate court ordered the Bowers’ community estate divided under Probate Code section 3089, with David’s conservator receiving David’s share.

The appellate court reversed. In a conservatorship proceeding where the conservatee has community property interests, the probate court may divide the community property if the competent spouse refuses to comply with an order for the support and maintenance of a conservatee spouse. However, orders for fees for attorneys and conservators in conservatorships are distinct from orders for the support and maintenance of a conservatee spouse. Professionals cannot collect their fees under Probate Code section 3089.

Our experienced Los Angeles conservatorship attorneys are here to help clients in Santa Monica, Orange County and throughout Southern California defend their rights under the law.  With a presence in Northern California and Southern California the Law Office of Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP is dedicated to providing efficient, effective, strategic,  and affordable solutions to clients involved in conservatorship cases, trust and estate disputes, as well as other types of family law issues. We are here to help you and your loved ones. To discuss your needs and discover your options, consult the Los Angeles incapacity and estate planning attorneys at Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP. 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, Hidden Hills, Irvine, Lake Sherwood, Malibu, Marin County, Oxnard, Pasadena, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, 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.  If you have questions about a loved one’s mental capacity, call the law firm of Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP at (310) 914-3222, (415) 465-6555, or (818) 787-1011, or reach us by using our online contact form.