Family Law Issues in Conservatorship Proceedings

On October 5, 2019, Judge Reva Goetz (Ret.) and Attorney Yasha Bronshteyn of Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, APC presented at the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Trust and Estate Section – Aviva K. Bobb Advanced Training for Court Appointed Counsel. The topic concerned Family Law Issues in Conservatorship Proceedings.

The United States and California constitutions protect marriage as a fundamental right. Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) 135 U.S. 2584, 2591

Probate Code §1900 – The appointment of a conservator of the person or estate or both does not affect the capacity of the conservatee to marry or to enter into a registered domestic partnership.

Family Code §300 – Marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between two persons, to which the consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary…

Interesting dynamics occur when dealing with the capacity to marry or divorce. Probate Code §810 – Rebuttable presumption all persons have capacity to make decisions and be responsible for their acts or decisions. Probate Code §810(b) – Person with mental or physical disorder may still be capable of…marrying… Probate Code §811 – Lack of capacity if mental deficit(s) significantly impare person’s ability to understand and appreciate the consequences of his or her actions regarding the type of action or decision they are undertaking

The main or seminal case concerning this issue is IRMO Greenway 217 Cal.App.4th 628, 639 (2013). Issue in this case was – Did the Husband (Dr. Greenway) have capacity to divorce Mrs. Greenway after forty plus years of marriage. The analysis should start with P.C. 810-811. Court findings: Each case will be fact specific, Level of capacity required changes depending on the issue at hand, and the three levels of capacity as outlined in the decision.

It is vital to keep in mind that spouses have fiduciary duties to one another. Including, but not limited to the duty to disclose. Moreover, spouses owe a higher duty to one another when transacting with community property than they owe each other regarding their own separate property. Family Code §720 – Husband and wife contract toward each other obligations of mutual respect, fidelity and support. Family Code §721 – With certain exceptions, a husband and wife are subject to the general rules governing fiduciary relationships where they occupy confidential relationships with each other. This confidential relationship imposes a duty of the highest good faith and fair dealing on each spouse, and neither shall take any unfair advantage of the other.

Other topics and speakers on October 5, 2019, included: The Capacity Declaration and Primer on Psychotropic Drugs by Dr. Daniel A. Plotkin, M.D. and An Appointed Attorney is an Advocate, Not a Reporter; “Interest” is an Interesting Concept; and (3) The Judge’s Perspective Judge Mary Thornton House, Ret., Ralph Hughes, Esq. and Anne Rudolph, Esq. (Hughes & Pizzuto, APC), and Samuel D. Ingham, III Esq. (Law Offices of Samuel D. Ingham, III).

Mr. Bronshteyn’s practice focuses on complex estate and trust litigation, probate and trust administration, conservatorship, and family law matters.  Mr. Bronshteyn is actively engaged in the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), as a member of the Executive Committee of the LACBA Trust & Estates Section.

Please contact Ginzburg & Bronshteyn to properly understand your rights and obligations as they relate to conservatorships.  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, Malibu, Marin County, Oxnard, Pasadena, Palo Alto, 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, or (818) 787-1011, or reach us by using our online contact form.