Conservatorship of the Estate of Brokken – Probate Court could not award attorneys’ fees when a conservator was not appointed – plus Tate comments, and a video about mediating conservatorship disputes and cases

Conservatorship of the Estate of Brokken, California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District Division Six (March 15, 2021) 2d Civ. No. B303898 (Super. Ct. No. 17PR00194) (Santa Barbara County).

Summary. A petition for the conservatorship of Doris Mae Brokken was filed by her adult children over Doris’ strong objection. It was alleged that Doris suffered from ongoing mental health issues and that her behavior had become increasingly erratic. After two years of litigation and negotiation, the parties settled the matter without the need for a conservatorship. Doris voluntarily agreed to engage in professional mental health services and the petition was dismissed. The petitioners sought to recover their attorney fees as part of the settlement. Doris did not believe they were legally entitled to fees, but to facilitate settlement, she agreed to let the Probate Court decide whether the petitioners are entitled to fees and, if so, the amount of such fees. Petitioners filed a petition requesting the Probate Court to award them attorneys’ fees under Cal. Probate Code §2640.1. Doris opposed the petition. The Court awarded attorneys’ fees. Doris appealed the Court’s decision. On appeal, the Court of Appeal held that petitioners could not petition for an award of attorneys’ fees because no conservator (temporary or permanent) was appointed, and that §2640.1 applied, if at all, only if a conservator is appointed.

I have pasted copies of both Probate Code §§2640.1 and 2640 below.

Takeaway. Brokken is both legally and factually specific. The case does highlight one of the risks that a petitioner takes when filing a petition for conservatorship, i.e., attorneys’ fees incurred. The petitioners would have been able to petition for the recovery of attorneys’ fees if a temporary or permanent conservator was appointed; however, even in that circumstance the Court would have had discretion over the amount of fees to award. An additional difficulty for the petitioners was that Doris would not agree to the recovery of attorneys’ fees in the settlement agreement.  

If Doris had agreed to the recovery of attorneys’ fees in the settlement agreement, and if a petition for Court approval of the settlement agreement had been filed, would the Court have approved the attorneys’ fees? We don’t know. However, and assuming that the settlement agreement did not specify the fees pursuant to §2640.1, my view is that the Court probably would have approved the settlement because the fees would have been agreed upon in the settlement agreement which is a contract.

If Doris had agreed to the recovery of attorneys’ fees in the settlement agreement, but then suit had to be brought to enforce the settlement agreement, would the Court have enforced the payment of attorneys’ fees? Again, we don’t know. However, and assuming that the settlement agreement did not specify the fees pursuant to §2640.1, again my view is that the Court probably would have enforced payment of the fees because the fees would have been agreed upon in the settlement agreement which is a contract.

There are a lot of moving parts in a conservatorship case. You will find other posts about conservatorships in this blog. Here is a link to a copy of a video about mediating conservatorship disputes and cases https://californiaestatetrust.com/2020/08/15/video-you-can-resolve-and-settle-your-convervatorship-dispute-and-case-dave-tate-esq-litigation-disputes-and-mediator-california/

Below I have pasted copies of both Probate Code §§2640.1 and 2640.

California Probate Code §2640.1

(a) If a person has petitioned for the appointment of a particular conservator and another conservator was appointed while the petition was pending, but not before the expiration of 90 days from the issuance of letters, the person who petitioned for the appointment of a conservator but was not appointed and that person’s attorney may petition the court for an order fixing and allowing compensation and reimbursement of costs, provided that the court determines that the petition was filed in the best interests of the conservatee.

(b) Notice of the hearing shall be given for the period and in the manner provided in Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 1460) of Part 1.

(c) Upon the hearing, the court shall make an order to allow both of the following:

(1) Any compensation or costs requested in the petition the court determines is just and reasonable to the person who petitioned for the appointment of a conservator but was not appointed, for his or her services rendered in connection with and to facilitate the appointment of a conservator, and costs incurred in connection therewith.

(2) Any compensation or costs requested in the petition the court determines is just and reasonable to the attorney for that person, for his or her services rendered in connection with and to facilitate the appointment of a conservator, and costs incurred in connection therewith.

Any compensation and costs allowed shall be charged to the estate of the conservatee. If a conservator of the estate is not appointed, but a conservator of the person is appointed, the compensation and costs allowed shall be ordered by the court to be paid from property belonging to the conservatee, whether held outright, in trust, or otherwise.

(d) It is the intent of the Legislature for this section to have retroactive effect.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 493, Sec. 28. Effective January 1, 2007.)

California Probate Code §2640

(a) At any time after the filing of the inventory and appraisal, but not before the expiration of 90 days from the issuance of letters or any other period of time as the court for good cause orders, the guardian or conservator of the estate may petition the court for an order fixing and allowing compensation to any one or more of the following:

(1) The guardian or conservator of the estate for services rendered to that time.

(2) The guardian or conservator of the person for services rendered to that time.

(3) The attorney for services rendered to that time by the attorney to the guardian or conservator of the person or estate or both.

(b) Notice of the hearing shall be given for the period and in the manner provided for in Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 1460) of Part 1.

(c) Upon the hearing, the court shall make an order allowing (1) any compensation requested in the petition the court determines is just and reasonable to the guardian or conservator of the estate for services rendered or to the guardian or conservator of the person for services rendered, or to both, and (2) any compensation requested in the petition the court determines is reasonable to the attorney for services rendered to the guardian or conservator of the person or estate or both. The compensation allowed to the guardian or conservator of the person, the guardian or conservator of the estate, and to the attorney may, in the discretion of the court, include compensation for services rendered before the date of the order appointing the guardian or conservator. The compensation allowed shall be charged to the estate. Legal services for which the attorney may be compensated include those services rendered by any paralegal performing legal services under the direction and supervision of an attorney. The petition or application for compensation shall set forth the hours spent and services performed by the paralegal.

(d) Notwithstanding subdivision (c), the guardian or conservator shall not be compensated from the estate for any costs or fees that the guardian or conservator incurred in unsuccessfully opposing a petition, or other request or action, made by or on behalf of the ward or conservatee, unless the court determines that the opposition was made in good faith, based on the best interests of the ward or conservatee.

(e) Notwithstanding subdivision (c), the guardian, conservator, or attorney shall not be compensated with any government benefits program moneys unless deemed by the court as necessary to sustain the support and maintenance of the ward or conservatee, but in no event may this exceed the amount permitted by federal laws and regulations.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 847, Sec. 6. (SB 303) Effective January 1, 2020.)

Best to you. David Tate, Esq. (and inactive CPA)

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Remember, every case and situation is different. It is important to obtain and evaluate all of the evidence that is available, and to apply that evidence to the applicable standards and laws. You do need to consult with an attorney and other professionals about your particular situation. This post is not a solicitation for legal or other services inside of or outside of California, and, of course, this post only is a summary of information that changes from time to time, and does not apply to any particular situation or to your specific situation. So . . . you cannot rely on this post for your situation or as legal or other professional advice or representation.

Thank you for reading this post. I ask that you also pass it along to other people who would be interested as it is through collaboration that great things and success occur more quickly. And please also subscribe to this blog and my other blog (see below), and connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

My two blogs are:

Business, D&O, audit committee, governance, compliance, etc. http://auditcommitteeupdate.com

Trust, estate, conservatorship, elder and elder abuse, etc. litigation and contentious administrations http://californiaestatetrust.com

Best to you, David Tate, Esq. (and inactive California CPA) – practicing in California only

Litigation, Disputes, Mediator & Governance: Business, Trust/Probate, Real Property, Governance, Elder Abuse, Workplace, Investigations, Other Areas

Comments about Britney Spears’ conservatorship following the February 11 hearing . . .

As you might be aware, it is still very difficult for the public to obtain information about the proceedings in the Spears conservatorship. That fact is unusual as the general rule is that court proceedings are supposed to be, and are required to be open to the public, unless there is very good reason for some, or all, of the proceeding to not be open. Court proceedings are open to the public unless the Court makes a ruling otherwise. But, again, the presumption and legal principle that a court proceeding will be open to the public is very strong.

My understanding, based on what I have been able to read, is that following the February 11, hearing, Bessemer Trust and Jamie Spears remain as co-conservators of the estate, apparently with equal shared powers and authority. And that Jodi Montgomery remains as the conservator of the person.

This conservatorship is an ongoing saga. Current primary issues appear to include at least the following:

Will the conservatorship of the estate continue as it is, or be modified, or be terminated?

Will Jamie Spears continue as co-conservator of the estate as it is, or will his powers and authorities be modified, or will his appointment as co-conservator of the estate be terminated?

How will Bessemer Trust and Jamie Spears be able to work together as co-conservators of the estate? Will they be able to work together?

How much weight will the Court give to the requests for changes in the conservatorship that are being made by Britney Spears?

Will any of the issues and orders at the trial Court level be taken up on appeal?

And, perhaps, will the conservatorship of the person continue as it is, or be modified, or be terminated?

The following are a few additional observations:

Generally, conservators are required to communicate with the conservatee and to ask her about her wishes on important matters. However, that doesn’t bind the conservator to the conservatee’s wishes. The Court also should take the conservatee’s wishes into consideration.

Less restrictive options to the conservatorship and to the terms of the conservatorship must be taken into consideration by the Court and the parties. A conservatorship is a restriction on the rights of the conservatee.

On some issues the conservatee is entitled to a jury trial. Otherwise, the Judge has very significant authority to decide issues in a conservatorship, but those decisions must be made based on and in accordance with the applicable laws, the various burdens of poof that might apply, the standards of decision making that might apply (e.g., preponderance of the evidence or some higher standard), and the evidence.

Unless the court orders otherwise, if two co-conservators are ordered, the two co-conservators both must “concur” to exercise a power. Cal. Probate Code §2105. Other than whether either or both of the conservatorships of the estate and of the person will continue, or be modified, or be terminated, I would view the interactions between Bessemer Trust and Jamie Spears as probably being the most difficult and pressing issue. News reports indicate or suggest that there are ongoing disagreements over co-conservator scope of authority and possibly co-conservator decision making and ability to agree. Disagreements of those types could prompt the Court to make changes to its co-conservator order. See, e.g., Cal. Probate Code §§2105.5, and Chapter 9 including §2650, in addition to other Probate Code sections.

Best to you. David Tate, Esq.

As the mediator – I facilitated a trust dispute settlement yesterday (and into the night)

Success stories are good to report. As the mediator I helped the parties and their counsel reach settlement in a trust dispute case yesterday and last night. I cannot say anything specific about the case or the mediation, of course. There were multiple contentious issues about which the parties held strong viewpoints. But all of the parties and their counsel prepared well for the mediation and kept working toward resolution into the night. The parties and their counsel are to be congratulated for their successful resolution – and they will be much better off and happier having resolved their dispute.

Best to you. David Tate, Esq.

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Remember, every case and situation is different. It is important to obtain and evaluate all of the evidence that is available, and to apply that evidence to the applicable standards and laws. You do need to consult with an attorney and other professionals about your particular situation. This post is not a solicitation for legal or other services inside of or outside of California, and, of course, this post only is a summary of information that changes from time to time, and does not apply to any particular situation or to your specific situation. So . . . you cannot rely on this post for your situation or as legal or other professional advice or representation.

Thank you for reading this post. I ask that you also pass it along to other people who would be interested as it is through collaboration that great things and success occur more quickly. And please also subscribe to this blog and my other blog (see below), and connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Best to you, David Tate, Esq. (and inactive California CPA) – practicing in California only

Litigation, Disputes, Mediator & Governance: Business, Trust/Probate, Real Property, Governance, Elder Abuse, Investigations, Other Areas

Blogs: Trust, estate/probate, power of attorney, conservatorship, elder and dependent adult abuse, nursing home and care, disability, discrimination, personal injury, responsibilities and rights, and other related litigation, and contentious administrations http://californiaestatetrust.com

Business, D&O, board, director, audit committee, shareholder, founder, owner, and investor litigation, governance and governance committee, responsibilities and rights, compliance, investigations, and risk management  http://auditcommitteeupdate.com

My law practice primarily involves the following areas and issues:

Trust, Estate, Probate Court, Elder and Dependent Adult, and Disability Disputes and Litigation

  • Trust and estate disputes and litigation, and contentious administrations representing fiduciaries, beneficiaries and families; elder abuse; power of attorney disputes; elder care and nursing home abuse; conservatorships; claims to real and personal property; and other related disputes and litigation.

Business, Business-Related, and Workplace Disputes and Litigation: Private, Closely Held, and Family Businesses; Public Companies; Nonprofit Entities; and Governmental Entities

  • Business v. business disputes including breach of contract; unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices; fraud, deceit and misrepresentation; unfair competition; licensing agreements, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; etc.
  • Misappropriation of trade secrets.
  • M&A disputes.
  • Founder, officer, director and board, investor, shareholder, creditor, VC, control, governance, decision making, fiduciary duty, conflict of interest, independence, voting, etc., disputes.
  • Buy-sell disputes.
  • Funding and share dilution disputes.
  • Accounting, lost profits, and royalty disputes and damages.
  • Insurance coverage and bad faith.
  • Access to corporate and business records disputes.
  • Employee, employer and workplace disputes and processes, discrimination, whistleblower and retaliation, harassment, defamation, etc.

Investigations, Governance, and Responsibilities and Rights

  • Corporate, business, nonprofit and governmental internal investigations.
  • Board, audit committee, governance committee, and special committee governance and processes, disputes, conflicts of interest, independence, culture, ethics, etc.; and advising audit committees, governance committees, officers, directors, and boards.

Mediator Services and Conflict Resolution

* * * * *  

Headline says Britney Spears wants conservatorship case to be open to the public: – and related conservatorship legal issues . . . .

I have provided immediately below a snapshot from a September 3, 2020, Today article headline on Yahoo Entertainment relating to the Britney Spears conservatorship, and a request that the conservatorship case be made open to the public.

Although the length of time that the conservatorship has been in place really has nothing to do with the issues in the case – nevertheless, although the conservatorship has been in place for 12 years, other than news stories, which might or might not be entirely accurate and for the most part do not contain a full discussion or a discussion from the legal perspective, it has been very difficult if not impossible to determine what legal arguments have been made, the actual evidence that has been presented, and the basis for the court’s rulings in the case. Will that be changing in the future . . . well, we don’t know, but it might be.

More and more headlines about the case are now appearing in the news, and they raise interesting legal issues as they pertain to conservatorships and court proceedings in general. Historically there have been few California appellate decisions relating to conservatorship proceedings and conservatee rights, but that has slowing been changing. For example, in more recent California appellate court conservatorship cases it has been held that in a conservatorship there is a right to a jury trial (at least on the issue of whether or not there should be a conservatorship) whereas in probate court cases in general there is no such right, and at least on conservatorship issues that involve fundamental rights the burden of proof that is applied is clear and convincing (which is a heightened standard, that requires stronger evidence before the limitation is justified and can be ordered).

Although different courts have used different wording to describe various burdens of proof, the following descriptions have been used:

  • The preponderance of the evidence burden is essentially more likely than not.
  • The beyond a reasonable doubt burden is designed to exclude as nearly as possible the likelihood of an erroneous judgment and imposes almost the entire risk of error upon the party bearing the burden of proof.
  • The clear and convincing burden is an intermediate standard that increases the burden on the party seeking relief requiring a finding of high probability, based on evidence so clear as to leave no substantial doubt and sufficiently strong to command the unhesitating assent of every reasonable mind.

Another requirement in a conservatorship is that the court, and thus also the parties, must consider whether there are workable options that are less restrictive than a conservatorship, or that are less restrictive than a full conservatorship, or that are less restrictive with respect to some of the issues and the prospective conservatee or conservatee’s alleged needs, limitations and deficiencies. Whether or not there is a conservatorship, or whether a conservatorship continues and in what form and under what authorities, rights and restrictions, is not supposed to be based on a medical or other diagnosis – it is based on actual needs, limitations and deficiencies that are established based on the factual evidence pertaining to the prospective conservatee or conservatee’s abilities to act and make decisions on behalf of herself or himself and to protect herself or himself and her or his interests, and the limitations therein that exist.

In that regard, facts and circumstances can change over time; thus, when a conservatorship is granted, that conservatorship also is scheduled for review by the court to determine whether facts and circumstances or the conservatee’s abilities and needs have changed. An interested person who has sufficient standing also can file a petition requesting that some or all of the aspects of the conservatorship be changed, including a request that the conservatorship be terminated, or that other changes be made.   

Regarding whether the case is open to the public, the general and overriding legal principle is that cases are open to the public unless it can be established that a case should not be public based on the particular facts of that case. A conservatorship proceeding is a legal proceeding in which the state (i.e., the government through the court) is being requested to take away or limit some, or sometimes many or most, of the prospective conservatee’s important personal, constitutional, and fundamental legal decision making and other rights and freedoms.

I’m assuming that Britney Spears’ case has not been public because previously she either requested, or she at least agreed or did not oppose, that the case would not be open to the public. That certainly would not be surprising given privacy and public image issues or concerns. Nevertheless, those concerns could exist in every conservatorship case, although not necessarily to the extent that they might exist in a case that involves a very public figure. How much bearing should the extent that a prospective conservatee or an existing conservatee is a public figure have on whether or not the case is open to the public? I haven’t researched for those court decisions, but the issue might already have been briefed in Britney Spears’ case.

As the above headline indicates, if in fact Ms. Spears is now requesting that her case be open to the public, as she in fact might be requesting especially as various other headlines appear to have indicated that she is starting to fight and oppose the conservatorship or at least parts of it, a strong argument can be made that her case should be open to the public.

Some of these similar issues and principles were at play a few years back in one of my cases in which it was difficult to convince a court to seal previously filed pleadings and declarations in a case that involved significant privacy issues (a prior, years ago completed sexual harassment case in which the victim now was requesting that the court seal the records). There are three primary reasons why legal proceedings generally and in principle are open to the public absent strong evidence and legal authority to the contrary, and a court order:

(1) to demonstrate that justice is meted out fairly,

(2) to provide a means by which citizens scrutinize and check the use and possible abuse of judicial power, and

(3) to enhance the truthfinding function of the proceeding.

NBC Subsidiary (KNBC-TV), Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County (1999) 20 Cal. 4th 1178, 1219.

Thus, if Ms. Spears is in fact requesting that her conservatorship case now be open to the public, there is a strong legal principle that supports her request. Of course, that doesn’t mean that such a request will be granted, but that is what makes the law and court proceedings what they are.

More to follow on this interesting case.

Below you will also find two short videos, one discussing resolution and settlement of conservatorship disputes and cases, and the other providing a summary overview of my mediator qualifications and experience. Best to you, Dave Tate.

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Remember, every case and situation is different. It is important to obtain and evaluate all of the evidence that is available, and to apply that evidence to the applicable standards and laws. You do need to consult with an attorney and other professionals about your particular situation. This post is not a solicitation for legal or other services inside of or outside of California, and, of course, this post only is a summary of information that changes from time to time, and does not apply to any particular situation or to your specific situation. So . . . you cannot rely on this post for your situation or as legal or other professional advice or representation.

Thank you for reading this post. I ask that you also pass it along to other people who would be interested as it is through collaboration that great things and success occur more quickly. And please also subscribe to this blog and my other blog (see below), and connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Best to you, David Tate, Esq. (and inactive California CPA) – practicing in California only

Litigation, Disputes & Mediator: Business, Trust/Probate, Real Property, Governance, Elder Abuse, Investigations, Other Areas

Blogs:

Trust, estate/probate, power of attorney, conservatorship, elder and dependent adult abuse, nursing home and care, disability, discrimination, personal injury, responsibilities and rights, and other related litigation, and contentious administrations http://californiaestatetrust.com

Business, D&O, board, director, audit committee, shareholder, founder, owner, and investor litigation, governance and governance committee, responsibilities and rights, compliance, investigations, and risk management  http://auditcommitteeupdate.com

My law practice primarily involves the following areas and issues:

Trust, Estate, Probate Court, Elder and Dependent Adult, and Disability Disputes and Litigation

      • Trust and estate disputes and litigation, and contentious administrations representing fiduciaries, beneficiaries and families; elder abuse; power of attorney disputes; elder care and nursing home abuse; conservatorships; claims to real and personal property; and other related disputes and litigation.

Business, Business-Related, and Workplace Disputes and Litigation: Private, Closely Held, and Family Businesses; Public Companies; Nonprofit Entities; and Governmental Entities

      • Business v. business disputes including breach of contract; unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices; fraud, deceit and misrepresentation; unfair competition; licensing agreements, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; etc.
      • Misappropriation of trade secrets.
      • M&A disputes.
      • Founder, officer, director and board, investor, shareholder, creditor, VC, control, governance, decision making, fiduciary duty, conflict of interest, independence, voting, etc., disputes.
      • Buy-sell disputes.
      • Funding and share dilution disputes.
      • Accounting, lost profits, and royalty disputes and damages.
      • Insurance coverage and bad faith.
      • Access to corporate and business records disputes.
      • Employee, employer and workplace disputes and processes, discrimination, whistleblower and retaliation, harassment, defamation, etc.

Investigations, Governance, and Responsibilities and Rights

      • Corporate, business, nonprofit and governmental internal investigations.
      • Board, audit committee, governance committee, and special committee governance and processes, disputes, conflicts of interest, independence, culture, ethics, etc.; and advising audit committees, governance committees, officers, directors, and boards.

Mediator Services and Conflict Resolution

* * * * *

 

Video – You Can Resolve And Settle Your Convervatorship Dispute And Case – Dave Tate, Esq., Litigation, Disputes, And Mediator – California

Greetings to all of my friends, colleagues, and connections, and other people who are interested – below is a short video discussing resolution and settlement of conservatorship disputes and cases. Please contact me if I can help you settle your case or dispute. Best to you, Dave Tate

Below I have also provided my video with a summary overview of my mediator qualifications and experience:

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Remember, every case and situation is different. It is important to obtain and evaluate all of the evidence that is available, and to apply that evidence to the applicable standards and laws. You do need to consult with an attorney and other professionals about your particular situation. This post is not a solicitation for legal or other services inside of or outside of California, and, of course, this post only is a summary of information that changes from time to time, and does not apply to any particular situation or to your specific situation. So . . . you cannot rely on this post for your situation or as legal or other professional advice or representation.

Thank you for reading this post. I ask that you also pass it along to other people who would be interested as it is through collaboration that great things and success occur more quickly. And please also subscribe to this blog and my other blog (see below), and connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Best to you, David Tate, Esq. (and inactive California CPA) – practicing in California only

Litigation, Disputes & Mediator: Business, Trust/Probate, Real Property, Governance, Elder Abuse, Investigations, Other Areas

Blogs:

Trust, estate/probate, power of attorney, conservatorship, elder and dependent adult abuse, nursing home and care, disability, discrimination, personal injury, responsibilities and rights, and other related litigation, and contentious administrations http://californiaestatetrust.com

Business, D&O, board, director, audit committee, shareholder, founder, owner, and investor litigation, governance and governance committee, responsibilities and rights, compliance, investigations, and risk management  http://auditcommitteeupdate.com

My law practice primarily involves the following areas and issues:

Trust, Estate, Probate Court, Elder and Dependent Adult, and Disability Disputes and Litigation

      • Trust and estate disputes and litigation, and contentious administrations representing fiduciaries, beneficiaries and families; elder abuse; power of attorney disputes; elder care and nursing home abuse; conservatorships; claims to real and personal property; and other related disputes and litigation.

Business, Business-Related, and Workplace Disputes and Litigation: Private, Closely Held, and Family Businesses; Public Companies; Nonprofit Entities; and Governmental Entities

      • Business v. business disputes including breach of contract; unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices; fraud, deceit and misrepresentation; unfair competition; licensing agreements, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; etc.
      • Misappropriation of trade secrets.
      • M&A disputes.
      • Founder, officer, director and board, investor, shareholder, creditor, VC, control, governance, decision making, fiduciary duty, conflict of interest, independence, voting, etc., disputes.
      • Buy-sell disputes.
      • Funding and share dilution disputes.
      • Accounting, lost profits, and royalty disputes and damages.
      • Insurance coverage and bad faith.
      • Access to corporate and business records disputes.
      • Employee, employer and workplace disputes and processes, discrimination, whistleblower and retaliation, harassment, defamation, etc.

Investigations, Governance, and Responsibilities and Rights

      • Corporate, business, nonprofit and governmental internal investigations.
      • Board, audit committee, governance committee, and special committee governance and processes, disputes, conflicts of interest, independence, culture, ethics, etc.; and advising audit committees, governance committees, officers, directors, and boards.

Mediator Services and Conflict Resolution

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Video – Dave Tate, Esq. Mediator Qualifications and Experience Introduction – California

Greetings to all of my friends, colleagues, and connections, and other people who are interested – below is a short video discussing my mediator qualifications and experience – please contact me if I can help you settle your case or dispute. Best to you, Dave Tate

———————————————————————-

Remember, every case and situation is different. It is important to obtain and evaluate all of the evidence that is available, and to apply that evidence to the applicable standards and laws. You do need to consult with an attorney and other professionals about your particular situation. This post is not a solicitation for legal or other services inside of or outside of California, and, of course, this post only is a summary of information that changes from time to time, and does not apply to any particular situation or to your specific situation. So . . . you cannot rely on this post for your situation or as legal or other professional advice or representation.

Thank you for reading this post. I ask that you also pass it along to other people who would be interested as it is through collaboration that great things and success occur more quickly. And please also subscribe to this blog and my other blog (see below), and connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Best to you, David Tate, Esq. (and inactive California CPA) – practicing in California only

Litigation, Disputes & Mediator: Business, Trust/Probate, Real Property, Governance, Elder Abuse, Investigations, Other Areas

Blogs:

Trust, estate/probate, power of attorney, conservatorship, elder and dependent adult abuse, nursing home and care, disability, discrimination, personal injury, responsibilities and rights, and other related litigation, and contentious administrations http://californiaestatetrust.com

Business, D&O, board, director, audit committee, shareholder, founder, owner, and investor litigation, governance and governance committee, responsibilities and rights, compliance, investigations, and risk management  http://auditcommitteeupdate.com

My law practice primarily involves the following areas and issues:

Trust, Estate, Probate Court, Elder and Dependent Adult, and Disability Disputes and Litigation

      • Trust and estate disputes and litigation, and contentious administrations representing fiduciaries, beneficiaries and families; elder abuse; power of attorney disputes; elder care and nursing home abuse; conservatorships; claims to real and personal property; and other related disputes and litigation.

Business, Business-Related, and Workplace Disputes and Litigation: Private, Closely Held, and Family Businesses; Public Companies; Nonprofit Entities; and Governmental Entities

      • Business v. business disputes including breach of contract; unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices; fraud, deceit and misrepresentation; unfair competition; licensing agreements, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; etc.
      • Misappropriation of trade secrets.
      • M&A disputes.
      • Founder, officer, director and board, investor, shareholder, creditor, VC, control, governance, decision making, fiduciary duty, conflict of interest, independence, voting, etc., disputes.
      • Buy-sell disputes.
      • Funding and share dilution disputes.
      • Accounting, lost profits, and royalty disputes and damages.
      • Insurance coverage and bad faith.
      • Access to corporate and business records disputes.
      • Employee, employer and workplace disputes and processes, discrimination, whistleblower and retaliation, harassment, defamation, etc.

Investigations, Governance, and Responsibilities and Rights

      • Corporate, business, nonprofit and governmental internal investigations.
      • Board, audit committee, governance committee, and special committee governance and processes, disputes, conflicts of interest, independence, culture, ethics, etc.; and advising audit committees, governance committees, officers, directors, and boards.

Mediator Services and Conflict Resolution

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Working on Slides and a Video – You Can Resolve and Settle Your Conservatorship Dispute, Issues and Case

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco and California) – dave@tateattorney.com – Litigation, Governance, Administrations, Investigations, Mediator & Conflict Resolution

Greetings All: I am working on some materials (slides and an anticipated video) which I have titled: You Can Resolve and Settle Your Conservatorship Dispute, Issues and Case. I am aiming for the materials will be completed by the beginning of next week.

In a conservatorship there are a lot of potential moving parts and issues, and relationships, and they can be present before the initiation of a conservatorship petition, during the initial petition stage, and at all later times including during review of a conservatorship that has been approved – for example, below are some of the potential moving parts, issues and relationships:

  • Are there options that are less restrictive than a conservatorship?
  • Is or will it be a conservatorship of the estate?
  • Is or will it be a conservatorship of the person?
  • Does the conservatee have or need an attorney?
  • Will it be a court trial or a jury trial?
  • Is who the conservator will be an issue?
  • Are there placement or housing issues?
  • Are there medical care and treatment, or related capacity issues?
  • Are there medication issues?
  • Are there daily living needs issues?
  • Are there caregiver issues?
  • Are there other issues re the proposed/conservatee’s capacity?
  • Are there conservator special power issues?
  • Who are all of the people who are involved in the dispute or unresolved issues?
  • Are there relationship issues between the people who are involved?
  • Are there spouse or domestic partner, or girlfriend or boyfriend issues?
  • Are there visitation issues?
  • Are there elder or dependent adult about issues – financial, physical, undue influence, emotional, abandonment, etc.?
  • Are there liquidity or sufficiency of assets issues?
  • Are there estate planning or benefits needs?
  • Are there voting issues?
  • Are there married or marrying issues?
  • What facts and circumstances and issues are fluid, i.e., changing (undoubtedly some are)?
  • What options are available for each of the issues that are in dispute or are unresolved?
  • And also consider the other areas, and related issues, from my mediation and conflict resolution hexagon matrix.

Best to you, Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco and California) – dave@tateattorney.com

Litigation, Governance, Administrations, Investigations, Mediator & Conflict Resolution

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Remember, every case and situation is different. It is important to obtain and evaluate all of the evidence that is available, and to apply that evidence to the applicable standards and laws. You do need to consult with an attorney and other professionals about your particular situation. This post is not a solicitation for legal or other services inside of or outside of California, and, of course, this post only is a summary of information that changes from time to time, and does not apply to any particular situation or to your specific situation. So . . . you cannot rely on this post for your situation or as legal or other professional advice or representation.

Thank you for reading this post. I ask that you also pass it along to other people who would be interested as it is through collaboration that great things and success occur more quickly. And please also subscribe to this blog and my other blog (see below), and connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Best to you, David Tate, Esq. (and inactive California CPA) – practicing in California only.

I am also the Chair of the Business Law Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco.

Blogs

Trust, estate/probate, power of attorney, conservatorship, elder and dependent adult abuse, nursing home and care, disability, discrimination, personal injury, responsibilities and rights, and other related litigation, and contentious administrations http://californiaestatetrust.com

Business, D&O, board, director, audit committee, shareholder, founder, owner, and investor litigation, governance and governance committee, responsibilities and rights, compliance, investigations, and risk management  http://auditcommitteeupdate.com

My law practice primarily involves the following areas and issues:

Trust, Estate, Probate Court, Elder and Dependent Adult, and Disability Disputes and Litigation

      • Trust and estate disputes and litigation, and contentious administrations representing fiduciaries, beneficiaries and families; elder abuse; power of attorney disputes; elder care and nursing home abuse; conservatorships; claims to real and personal property; and other related disputes and litigation.

Business, Business-Related, and Workplace Disputes and Litigation: Private, Closely Held, and Family Businesses; Public Companies; Nonprofit Entities; and Governmental Entities

      • Business v. business disputes including breach of contract; unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices; fraud, deceit and misrepresentation; unfair competition; licensing agreements, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; etc.
      • Misappropriation of trade secrets.
      • M&A disputes.
      • Founder, officer, director and board, investor, shareholder, creditor, VC, control, governance, decision making, fiduciary duty, conflict of interest, independence, voting, etc., disputes.
      • Buy-sell disputes.
      • Funding and share dilution disputes.
      • Accounting, lost profits, and royalty disputes and damages.
      • Insurance coverage and bad faith.
      • Access to corporate and business records disputes.
      • Employee, employer and workplace disputes and processes, discrimination, whistleblower and retaliation, harassment, defamation, etc.

Investigations, Governance, and Responsibilities and Rights

      • Corporate, business, nonprofit and governmental internal investigations.
      • Board, audit committee, governance committee, and special committee governance and processes, disputes, conflicts of interest, independence, culture, ethics, etc.; and advising audit committees, governance committees, officers, directors, and boards.

Mediator Services and Conflict Resolution

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Summary of California Trustee and Beneficiary Responsibilities and Rights, and Handling Contentious Trust Administrations and Other Family Situations (PPT slides saved as PDF)

The following is a link to a PDF of my PowerPoint slides for a Summary of California Trustee and Beneficiary Responsibilities and Rights, and Handling Contentious Trust Administrations and Other Family Situations: David Tate, Esq. – Summary of California Trustee and Beneficiary Responsibilities and Rights 02252020 Slides Saved as PDF

And below is a snapshot of page 1 of the slides. Best to you, Dave Tate, Esq.

 

 

When do you not have the right to remain silent in conservatorship proceedings (Weintraub Tobin) – with Tate’s comments added

I have provided below a link to a Weintraub Tobin post about conservatorship proceedings and when a conservatee or prospective conservatee might have or might not have the right to remain silent (i.e., the right to not be compelled to testify). The post references Conservatorship of Bryan S. which was a LPS conservatorship; however, some of the same arguments might also be made in regular or general conservatorship proceedings.

A conservatorship proceeding is a state action in which the court is petitioned to order that there be a limitation on the conservatee’s freedom of choice or decision making, and in some circumstances the conservatee’s personal freedom of movement, or of living condition, or of right to not be medicated.

This post by Weintraub is also timely in light of the State of California’s initiative to use conservatorship proceedings more often.

As noted, in Conservatorship of Bryan S. the Court held that the prospective conservatee did not have the right to refuse to testify unless the questions and the answers thereto may incriminate the prospective conservatee in a criminal matter – and that question or issue, i.e., about possible incrimination, could be relevant for consideration in at least some conservatorship proceedings. And I also note that Conservatorship of Bryan S. involved only one Court of Appeals – other Court of Appeals might differ and at some point this issue might be brought up to the California Supreme Court.

You can find other posts about conservatorship proceedings throughout this blog – in the search box type in the word conservatorship.

The following is a link to the Weintraub Tobin discussion: https://www.weintraub.com/blogs/when-do-you-not-have-the-right-to-remain-silent-conservatorship-proceedings-and-equal-protection-clause-claims

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Remember, every case and situation is different. It is important to obtain and evaluate all of the evidence that is available, and to apply that evidence to the applicable standards and laws. You do need to consult with an attorney and other professionals about your particular situation. This post is not a solicitation for legal or other services inside of or outside of California, and, of course, this post only is a summary of information that changes from time to time, and does not apply to any particular situation or to your specific situation. So . . . you cannot rely on this post for your situation or as legal or other professional advice or representation.

Thank you for reading this post. I ask that you also pass it along to other people who would be interested as it is through collaboration that great things and success occur more quickly. And please also subscribe to this blog and my other blog (see below), and connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Best to you, David Tate, Esq. (and inactive California CPA) – practicing in California only.

I am also the Chair of the Business Law Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco.

Blogs: Trust, estate/probate, power of attorney, conservatorship, elder and dependent adult abuse, nursing home and care, disability, discrimination, personal injury, responsibilities and rights, and other related litigation, and contentious administrations http://californiaestatetrust.com; Business, D&O, board, director, audit committee, shareholder, founder, owner, and investor litigation, governance, responsibilities and rights, compliance, investigations, and risk management  http://auditcommitteeupdate.com

Conservatee right to live in personal residence, and sale of personal residence – new 2020 law changes – forwarding from Weintraub Tobin

The following is a link to a discussion by attorney Carlena Tapella at Weintraub Tobin about two new conservatee personal residence rights beginning in 2020. https://www.weintraub.com/blogs/theres-no-place-like-home-heightened-evidentiary-standard-for-moving-conservatees-from-their-personal-residence

As discussed by Ms. Tapella, under present law it is presumed that the personal residence of the conservatee is the least restrictive and most appropriate residence where the conservatee should live. But beginning in 2020 that presumption can only be overcome by clear and convincing evidence, which is a significantly higher standard. Amended Probate Code Section 2352.5 will in part read: “In any hearing to determine if removal of the conservatee from the conservatee’s personal residence is appropriate, that presumption may be overcome by clear and convincing evidence.” And the petitioner or conservator also will be required to determine and establish the appropriate level of care, including the most appropriate residence. Amended Section 2352.5 will also in part read that: If the conservatee is living at a location other than the conservatee’s personal residence at the commencement of the proceeding, that determination shall either include a plan to return the conservatee to their personal residence or an explanation of the limitations or restrictions on a return of the conservatee to their personal residence in the foreseeable future.”

In recent years several California Court decisions have significantly increased the rights of conservatees and prospective conservatees, including, for example, the right to a jury trial on at least some of the conservatorship issues. You should also be aware that a conservatee and a prospective conservatee also have the right to oppose the conservatorship and the conditions of the conservatorship, and also the right to be represented by an attorney – and in appropriate circumstances the Court will appoint an attorney to represent the conservatee or prospective conservatee. The Courts have recognized that a conservatorship proceeding is an action in which the person who has filed the petition is requesting the Court (the State or government) to limit or to take away or to restrict some of the prospective conservatee’s constitutional rights and rights to personal freedom and freedom of choice and decision making. You will see in some of my prior blog posts discussions about certain aspects of conservatorships.

At the link above Ms. Tapella also discusses 2020 changes that put restrictions on the sale of the conservatee’s residence. Amended Probate Code Section 2540 will in part read: “In seeking authorization to sell a conservatee’s present or former personal residence, the conservator shall notify the court that the present or former personal residence is proposed to be sold and that the conservator has discussed the proposed sale with the conservatee . . . . and whether the conservatee supports or is opposed to the proposed sale and shall describe the circumstances that necessitate the proposed sale, including whether the conservatee has the ability to live in the personal residence and why other alternatives, including, but not limited to, in-home care services, are not available. The court, in its discretion, may require the court investigator to discuss the proposed sale with the conservatee.”

The law of conservatorships, and conservatorship proceedings and administrations, including the responsibilities and rights of conservatees and conservators, continue to become more specialized and complicated, and conservatee rights continue to increase and be recognized by the California Legislature and by the Courts.

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Remember, every case and situation is different. It is important to obtain and evaluate all of the evidence that is available, and to apply that evidence to the applicable standards and laws. You do need to consult with an attorney and other professionals about your particular situation. This post is not a solicitation for legal or other services inside of or outside of California, and, of course, this post only is a summary of information that changes from time to time, and does not apply to any particular situation or to your specific situation. So . . . you cannot rely on this post for your situation or as legal or other professional advice or representation.

Thank you for reading this post. I ask that you also pass it along to other people who would be interested as it is through collaboration that great things and success occur more quickly. And please also subscribe to this blog and my other blog (see below), and connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Best to you, David Tate, Esq. (and inactive California CPA) – practicing in California only.

I am also the Chair of the Business Law Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco.

Blogs: Trust, estate/probate, power of attorney, conservatorship, elder and dependent adult abuse, nursing home and care, disability, discrimination, personal injury, responsibilities and rights, and other related litigation, and contentious administrations http://californiaestatetrust.com; Business, D&O, board, director, audit committee, shareholder, founder, owner, and investor litigation, governance, responsibilities and rights, compliance, investigations, and risk management  http://auditcommitteeupdate.com

My law practice primarily involves the following areas and issues:

Probate Court Disputes and Litigation

  • Trust and estate disputes and litigation, and contentious administrations representing fiduciaries and beneficiaries; elder abuse; power of attorney disputes; elder care and nursing home abuse; conservatorships; claims to real and personal property; and other related disputes and litigation.

Business and Business-Related Disputes and Litigation: Private, Closely Held, and Family Businesses; Public Companies; and Nonprofit Entities

  • Business v. business disputes including breach of contract; unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices; fraud, deceit and misrepresentation; unfair competition; licensing agreements, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; etc.
  • Misappropriation of trade secrets
  • M&A disputes
  • Founder, officer, director and board, investor, shareholder, creditor, VC, control, governance, decision making, fiduciary duty, conflict of interest, independence, voting, etc., disputes
  • Buy-sell disputes
  • Funding and share dilution disputes
  • Accounting, lost profits, and royalty disputes and damages
  • Access to corporate and business records disputes
  • Employee, employer and workplace disputes and processes, discrimination, whistleblower and retaliation, harassment, defamation, etc.

Investigations and Governance

  • Corporate and business internal investigations
  • Board, audit committee and special committee governance and processes, disputes, conflicts of interest, independence, culture, ethics, etc.

The following are copies of the tables of contents of three of the more formal materials that I have written over the years about accounting/auditing, audit committees, and related legal topics – Accounting and Its Legal Implications was my first formal effort, which resulted in a published book that had more of an accounting and auditing focus; Chapter 5A, Audit Committee Functions and Responsibilities, for the California Continuing Education of the Bar has a more legal focus; and the most recent Tate’s Excellent Audit Committee Guide (February 2017) also has a more legal focus:

Accounting and Its Legal Implications

Chapter 5A, Audit Committee Functions and Responsibilities, CEB Advising and Defending Corporate Directors and Officers

Tate’s Excellent Audit Committee Guide

The following are other summary materials that you might find useful:

OVERVIEW OF A RISK MANAGEMENT PROCESS THAT YOU CAN USE 03162018

Audit Committee 5 Lines of Success, Diligence, and Defense - David Tate, Esq, 05052018

COSO Enterprise Risk Management Framework ERM Components and Principles

From a prior blog post which you can find at https://wp.me/p75iWX-dk if the below scan is too difficult to read:

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