Trusts and Estates

2014 Case Alerts

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Stine v. Dell’Osso

Filed October 17, 2014, First District, Div. One 
Cite as A137679

Successor conservator sued predecessor conservator’s counsel for malpractice in connection with original conservator’s alleged misappropriation of assets from the estate.  Counsel successfully demurred on the basis she had represented only the original conservator, not the conservatee, and, further, that the claim would be barred by the same defense of unclean hands counsel could assert against the original conservator. Held, the successor fiduciary exception to the rule of privity permits such a malpractice claim, and unclean hands is also not applicable as a defense in those circumstances. 

Jenkins v. Teegarden

Filed October 23, 2014, Fourth District, Div. Two 
Cite as E059692

Trial court decision rejecting claim to invalidate donative transfer (here a quitclaim deed) under former Probate Code § 21350 reversed on grounds that although the statute was repealed and replaced by Probate Code § 21380, the former statute continues to govern an instrument executed before January 1, 2011. Further, the court rejects the argument that a transfer for good consideration is not a “donative transfer” within the meaning of both statutory schemes.  Instead, a transfer is a “donative transfer” if it is for inadequate consideration.

Aulisio, Jr. v. Bancroft

Filed October 30, 2014, Fourth District, Div. Three
Cite as G048906

Sole trustee of a revocable living trust who is also the sole settlor and beneficiary may appear in court proceedings in propria persona.  General rule requiring trustee to appear via counsel is based on the notion that the trustee represents the interests of others and is thus engaging in the unauthorized practice of law unless represented by counsel.  Where, as here, the sole trustee owes duties only to himself or herself, the rationale of the general rule is inapplicable.

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