Staying Current with Trust, Conservatorship, and Accounting


Looking forward to the March 19, 2019, Probate Judges Lunch presented by the Beverly Hills Bar association-Trust and Estates Section.  This annual event is always well attended and a terrific opportunity to get the Judges’ perspective on court issues and policy.   Judges of the Probate Court for Los Angeles County will discuss 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 members.  In addition, the Timothy Whitehouse Award will be presented to Justice Maria E. Stratton for her outstanding contribution to the Probate Department of the Los Angeles Superior Court.  Lastly the Lunch will be attended by Supervising Judge David J. Cowan  as well as Los Angeles Superior Court Probate Judges Judge Clifford Klein (Department 9), Judge Daniel Juarez (Dept. 67, Judge Brenda Penny (Department 3), Judge Barbara Johnson (Dept 11) and Judge Paul Suzuki (Dept 79).

On February 5, 2019, Yasha Bronshteyn of Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, APC attended the program present by the Beverly Hills Estate Planning Counsil entitled Conquering The Unique Challenges Of Trust, Conservatorship And Probate Real Property Sales.  Trustees and Conservators often require specialized skills required to navigate these complex real estate transactions, Probate Court Rules and Probate Code Laws, as well as appropriate  the marketing and tax expertise to maximize and optimize the value of these properties.  It is importation to hire the correct attorneys; accountants, and other professionals to properly fulfill the fiduciary obligations of a Trustee or Conservator.

On February 7, 2019, Yasha Bronshteyn, Litigator and Firm Partner at Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, APC attended the Los Angeles County Bar Association – Trust and Estates Law Section presentation entitled Solving the Mysteries of Accounting.  Mr Bronshteyn’s practice focuses on complex estate and trust  litigation, probate and trust administration, conservatorship and guardianship / family law matters.  His clients include individuals, families, the elderly, and private fiduciaries.

The purpose of an accounting is to inform the court, beneficiaries, and interested parties of the assets on hand, off transactions that took place.  While a simple concept a significant amount of litigation result from objections to accounting and /or defending accounting.  A final account is subject to the provisions and requirements of Probate Code§ 1060-1064. When the estate is in a condition to be closed the personal representative should file a final account and petition for an order for final distribution of the estate.  In the Trust context accounting are often provided on  annual basis, but subject to the limitations of Probate Code§§ 16064(a) and 16068(b) a trust instrument can limit or waive the requirement of an accounting but not the duty to report. The trust instrument can also require that a trustee account or report more periodically than once a year. But see, Prob. Code§ 16062(e) where there can be no waiver of the trustee’s duty to account when the trustee is a “disqualified person.”

Another point of contention is often seeking an accounting while the trust is still revocable. While a trust is revocable, the trustee only owed a duty to settlors of the trust (or their conservator) who maintain the power to revoke the trust. See, Prob. Code§ 15800(b), 16069(a). However, after the trust becomes irrevocable a beneficiary may be able to compel the trustee to account for years when the trust was revocable. Evangelho v. Presoto, 67 Cal. App. 4th 615 (1998).  this concept has been litigated heavily and ultinately reach teh California Supreme Court in the Estate of Girladin. In the Estate of Girladin, 55 Cal. 4th 1058, 1070 (2012) the California Supreme Court held that “[w]hen the person holding the power to revoke dies, the rights of the contingent beneficiaries are no longer contingent. Those rights, which were postponed while the holder of the power to revoke was alive, mature into present and enforceable rights under division 9, the trust law.” Additionally, the California Supreme Court reasoned that an accounting could be compelled for the period while the settlor was living because “after the settlor has died and can no longer protect his own interests, the beneficiaries have standing to claim a violation of the trustee’s duty to the sett/or to the extent that violation harmed the beneficiaries’ interests.” Girladin, 55 Cal. 4th at 1071.

Please contact an attorney to properly understand your rights and obligations as they relate to accounting in the context.  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, Hidden Hills, Irvine, Lake Sherwood, Malibu, Marin County, Oxnard, Pasadena, Palo Alto, San Francisco, San Rafael, 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, APC at (310) 914-3222, (415) 465-6555, or (818) 787-1011, or reach us by using our online contact form.