by John T. Anderson, Chairman
Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust
and Probate Law by the State Bar of California,
Board of Legal Specialization
Following are notes from the January 28, 2010 meeting of the Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law Section of the Long Beach Bar Association. Darciann Horton, Probate Attorney, and LaKendra McGlothin, Probate Examiner presented the following, with an occasional assist by Judge Paul:
They try to update the probate notes two weeks in advance. E-mail the person (Darciann Horton or LaKendra McGlothin) whose initials are on the notes. If notes are not cleared, they will indicate a continuance date. You do not have to e-mail you’re “okay” with the continuance. If the date is NOT okay, then e-mail to ask to change it. They are in Long Beach only Wednesday and Thursday.
If you file a supplement to clear notes, let them know by e-mail. LaKendra tries to clear matters even if she is not in Long Beach, and will often ask you to e-mail a conformed copy of the filed supplement so she can try to clear it from where she is at.
Try to clear matters before 1 PM on Wednesday so they have time to get the documents that have to be reviewed.
Darciann Horton, Esq.:
California Rule of Court §7.702 sets the requirements for extraordinary fees and by reference for Conservatorships and Guardianships. Regardless of how detailed your fee schedule is, you need to set forth a narrative of what was done, by category, showing the result and the benefit derived.
The Judge commented on fee disputes. He wants reports he can read, draw conclusions from, and make a finding. What did you do? What was the result to the estate?
The fact that no one objects is not the issue. Even with a probate estate the consent of the heirs is NOT determinative. In addition, the size of the estate is important regardless of the effort or the result.
The Judge says he will try to give you what you deserve, but if he opens the Petition and “it smells like a skunk” it will be dealt with as such.
P.C. §2620.2 concerns Late Filings of Accountings. If they file a late accounting, it is to be reported to their licensing board. It is a mandatory reporting and, it is considered to be contempt of court.
Remember the mandated use of Judicial Council Accounting forms in Conservatorships and Guardianships with the supporting documents when required.
The use of the “omnibus clause” in Orders for Distribution is NOT acceptable unless is it clear that the persons and assets are the correct ones.
The Probate Attorney will not approve continuances of an Order to Show Cause. The Judge wants to see you and determine “Why are you here?” It costs the court money to set these and have you there.
A question on waiving of the final account in a Conservatorship where the sole heir is the conservator was raised. Darci responded, “Rarely, and only by the Judge.” They want to see what care was required and provided to the conservatee.
The Long Beach court is one which will approve Heggstad Petitions, but only where “written intent” is shown.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED: The Los Angeles Superior Court is offering the following training, free of charge:
Orientation & Training for non-Professional Conservators. March 1, April 5, May 3, and June 7 from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm. They will explain the Duties of Conservator, how to care to the Conservatee, how to prepare for the accounting and how to access valuable resources. Attendees need to bring their copy of the Handbook for Conservators or purchase one at the courthouse. The cost for the Handbook is $21.95 and can be purchased at the Forms Window in Room 426.
Conservatorship Accounting Training for non-Professional Conservators. February 22, March 15, April 19, May 17 and June 21 from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm. They will explain the Proper Accounting Format and How to Prepare and Accounting. Attendees need to bring their Handbook for Conservators, a filed stamped copy of the Order Appointing the attendee as Conservator, and a filed stamped copy of the attendee’s Letters of Conservatorship.
These classes are held on a “walk-in” basis with no need to R.S.V.P. and are at the Los Angeles Superior Court-Stanley Mosk Courthouse, 111 N. Hill St. Resource Center Room 426 (4th Floor), Los Angeles, CA.
If you have questions regarding these classes contact Susy Wong, Probate Secretary at (213) 974-5501 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
John T. Anderson, Section Chair
Certified Specialist in Probate, Trust and Estate Planning
By the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization