Elder Abuse Restraining Orders To Prevent Isolation And Financial Elder Abuse – California Assembly Bill No. 1243, and White v. Wear

Elder abuse restraining orders are in the California news. See my prior February 7, 2022, post discussing recently enacted California Assembly Bill No. 1243, New law expands legal standing in California to petition for a restraining order to stop and prevent elder and dependent adult isolation abuse at https://wordpress.com/post/californiaestatetrust.com/2385.

The following is a discussion about the March 8, 2022, restraining order decision in White v. Wear (March 8, 2022, E076352) ____ Cal. App. 5th ________, in which the court upheld an elder abuse restraining order that precluded the respondent from making or facilitating any change to the estate plan of her 94-year-old stepfather.

In White v. Wear the Court of Appeal held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in entering a restraining order against a step child who tried to unduly influence her mother’s elderly husband to change his estate plan to benefit the mother and the step child. California has long had statutes prohibiting elder and dependent adult abuse – however, there still are relatively few court decisions that interpret or apply those statutes. In White v. Wear the Court discussed restraining orders under California Welfare and Institutions Code section 15657.03 under which a court may issue a restraining order to prevent threatened or actual physical and financial abuse of an elder or a dependent adult.

Quoting from White v. Wear, the following is additional overview from the Court’s Opinion:

“The parties to this appeal are no strangers to this court. This case is yet another skirmish in a long series of disagreements about the control of the multi-million-dollar estate[1] of nonagenarian[2] Thomas S. Tedesco.[3] Plaintiff and respondent Laura White is one of Thomas’s three biological daughters and a cotrustee of his living trust. (Conservatorship of Tedesco (Sept. 19, 2019, E070316) [nonpub. opn.] review denied Dec. 18, 2019, S258835 (Conservatorship, E070316).) Defendant and appellant Debra Wear aka Debbie Basara Wear is one of Thomas’s stepdaughters. In 2013, Thomas suffered serious health issues, which resulted in significant cognitive impairment, leaving him susceptible to being unduly influenced by anyone close to him. Gloria Tedesco, Thomas’s second wife, began denying White and her sisters access to their father, causing him to believe that they were stealing from him. Wear assisted Gloria, her mother, in unduly influencing Thomas via contacting, or facilitating access to, attorneys in order to change Thomas’s estate plan to disinherit his biological family in favor of Gloria and her family. Thus, on August 13, 2015, a permanent conservator of Thomas’s estate was appointed.

Despite the existence of the conservatorship, Wear continued to assist Gloria in taking actions to unduly influence Thomas to change his 30-plus-year estate plan. Consequently, upon White’s petition, the superior court issued an elder abuse restraining order (EARO), restraining Wear for three years from, among other things, financially abusing Thomas, contacting him (either directly or indirectly), facilitating any change to his estate plan, coming within 100 yards of him, and possessing any guns, other firearms, and ammunition. (Welf. & Inst. Code,[4] § 15657.03.) Wear contends the EARO is void because (1) the judge was disqualified and (2) he violated due process by substantially amending the allegations in the petition and prohibiting her from possessing firearms and ammunition. She further asserts the petition fails to state a cause of action for elder financial abuse. We agree the court erred in including a firearms and ammunition restriction in the EARO and direct the court to strike it. Otherwise, we affirm.[5]

Slowly, over time, California is adding additional teeth to its elder and dependent adult abuse statutes and cases, and to the toolbox that attorneys and other professionals can use to prevent and remedy elder and dependent adult abuse. If you scroll through this blog you will find other blog posts discussing conservatorships, elder and dependent adult abuse, mental and physical capacity and limitations, undue influence, litigation, mediation, and other related topics.

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Best to you,

David Tate, Esq. (and inactive CPA)

  • Litigation, Disputes and Trials – Business, Contract/Commercial, Owner, and Founder; and Trust, Estate, Elder/Dependent Abuse, Conservatorships, POA, Real Property, Health and Care, Contentious Administrations, etc.
  • Mediator
  • D&O, Governance, Workplace, Boards, Committees, and Executives, Investigations, Internal Controls and Auditing, Law, Laws and Legislation, Responsibilities and Duties, Rights, Liability, and Damages, etc.

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.

Also note – sometimes I include links to or comments about materials from other organizations or people – if I do so, it is because I believe that the materials are worthwhile reading or viewing; however, that doesn’t mean that I don’t or might not have a different view about some or even all of the subject matter or materials, or that I necessarily agree with, or agree with everything about or relating to, that organization or person, or those materials or the subject matter.

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:

http://tateattorney.com – business, D&O, audit committee, governance, compliance, etc. – previously at http://auditcommitteeupdate.com

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

David Tate, Esq. (and inactive California CPA) – practicing as an attorney in California only.

New law expands legal standing in California to petition for a restraining order to stop and prevent elder and dependent adult isolation abuse

California Assembly Bill No. 1243, signed by Governor Newsom  on September 23, 2021, in relevant part expands the definition of an “interested party” who has legal standing to petition the court for a restraining order to enjoin (i.e., stop and prevent) elder and dependent adult isolation abuse. Assembly Bill No. 1243 is effective beginning January 1, 2023.

For the purpose of seeking the restraining order to enjoin (i.e., to stop and prevent) the isolation, pursuant to Assembly Bill No. 1243, beginning January 1, 2023 the term interested party will be expanded to include the following: “Interested party” means an individual with a personal, preexisting relationship with the elder or dependent adult. Thus, for example, if the requisite factual circumstances exist, friends and family members will now (beginning January 1, 2023) have legal standing to file a petition requesting the court to issue an order enjoining the wrongdoer from isolating the elder or dependent adult victim.

Elder and dependent adult cases present challenging legal issues relating to proof and remedies. And the elder or dependent adult victim can feel torn and pulled in different emotional and relationship directions. For example, situations are common where a wrongdoer is trying to unduly influence or take financial advantage of and to be alone with and isolate the elder or dependent adult victim so the wrongdoer can more easily badmouth others or take or steal or get the victim to change her or his estate planning documents, while good family members and friends are also trying to protect the elder or dependent adult and to keep the wrongdoer away. I have seen in these situations a wrongdoer who tries to use the law to help the wrongdoer to be able to continue to see and be with the elder or dependent adult victim including petitioning the court for an order to prevent the good people from keeping the wrongdoer away. And the victim is torn because she or he mistakenly believes the wrongdoer is actually a benevolent friend or family member.

Although California law does tend to extend legal standing in elder and dependent adult abuse cases more broadly than the laws in some other states (such as Florida, for example, where it is still too limited), even in California legal standing needs to be expanded to the greatest extent possible so that wrongdoers aren’t able to hide behind the law as a shield, and Assembly Bill No. 1243 will be helpful in that regard (beginning January 1, 2023). But, of course, this new provision would be even more helpful if it is made effective immediately.  

The following are select relevant wording provisions from Assembly Bill No. 1243:

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1.

(a) It is the intent of the Legislature to prevent domestic violence, including elder and dependent adult abuse, and particularly to preserve the physical and mental health of vulnerable Californians.

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(b) The Legislature finds and declares that one way perpetrators of domestic violence, including elder and dependent adult abuse, are able to continue with their abuse is by preventing trusted friends and family members from seeing or contacting a vulnerable adult. As the vulnerable adult is isolated, it becomes more and more difficult for others to identify signs of abuse. The isolation also allows the perpetrator to potentially take over finances and hide any indications that they are doing so.

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A court order is not required for an elder or dependent adult to engage in visitation from anyone from whom the elder or dependent adult desires visitation.

(c) The Legislature further finds and declares that it is extremely important that the health and well-being of a vulnerable adult be front and center in any decision affecting them.

(d) It is the intent of the Legislature that the changes made by this act ensure that vulnerable adults are able to protect and preserve their physical and mental health, by making certain that these vulnerable adults are able to maintain important familial and social connections that they desire, and that a perpetrator does not cut off those relationships in an attempt to take advantage of the vulnerable adult.

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SEC. 3.

Section 15657.03 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

15657.03.

 (a) (1) An elder or dependent adult who has suffered abuse, as defined in Section 15610.07, may seek protective orders as provided in this section.

(2) (A) A petition may be brought on behalf of an abused elder or dependent adult by a conservator or a trustee of the elder or dependent adult, an attorney-in-fact of an elder or dependent adult who acts within the authority of a power of attorney, a person appointed as a guardian ad litem for the elder or dependent adult, or other person legally authorized to seek the relief.

(B) (i) Subject to clause (ii), if the petition alleges abuse of an elder or dependent adult in the form of isolation, the term “other person legally authorized to seek the relief” as used in subparagraph (A) includes an interested party as defined in paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) [DTate: see below].

(ii) Clause (i) shall apply only for the purpose of seeking an order enjoining isolation under subparagraph (E) of paragraph (5) of subdivision (b).

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(b) For purposes of this section:

(1) “Abuse” has the meaning set forth in Section 15610.07.

(2) “Conservator” means the legally appointed conservator of the person or estate of the petitioner, or both.

(3) “Interested party” means an individual with a personal, preexisting relationship with the elder or dependent adult. A preexisting relationship may be shown by a description of past involvement with the elder or dependent adult, time spent together, and any other proof that the individual spent time with the elder or dependent adult.

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(5)(E) (i) After notice and a hearing only, an order enjoining a party from abusing an elder or dependent adult by isolating them. An order may be issued under this subparagraph to restrain the respondent for the purpose of preventing a recurrence of isolation if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence, to the satisfaction of the court, that the following requirements are met:

(I) The respondent’s past act or acts of isolation of the elder or dependent adult repeatedly prevented contact with the interested party.

(II) The elder or dependent adult expressly desires contact with the interested party. A court shall use all means at its disposal to determine whether the elder or dependent adult desires contact with the person and has the capacity to consent to that contact.

(III) The respondent’s isolation of the elder or dependent adult from the interested party was not in response to an actual or threatened abuse of the elder or dependent adult by the interested party or the elder or dependent adult’s desire not to have contact with the interested party.

(ii) The order may specify the actions to be enjoined, including enjoining the respondent from preventing the interested party from in-person or remote online visits with the elder or dependent adult, including telephone and online contact.

(iii) An order enjoining isolation under this section is not required for an elder or dependent adult to visit with anyone with whom the elder or dependent adult desires visitation.

(iv) An order enjoining isolation shall not be issued under this section if the elder or dependent adult resides in a long-term care facility, as defined in Section 9701, or a residential facility, as defined in Section 1502 of the Health and Safety Code. In those cases, action may be taken under appropriate federal law.

(v) An order enjoining isolation shall not be issued under this section if the elder or dependent adult is a patient of a health facility as defined in subdivision (a), (b), or (f) of Section 1250 of the Health and Safety Code. In those cases, action may be taken under other appropriate state or federal law.

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Best to you,

David Tate, Esq. (and inactive CPA)

  • Litigation and Disputes – Business, Contract, Owner, and Founder; and Trust, Estate, Elder/Dependent Abuse, Conservatorships, POA, Real Property, Administrations, etc.
  • Mediator
  • D&O, Governance, Workplace, Boards, Committees, and Executives, Investigations, Internal Controls and Auditing, etc.

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:

http://tateattorney.com – business, D&O, audit committee, governance, compliance, etc. – previously at http://auditcommitteeupdate.com

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

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

⁃  Litigation, disputes and trials (primarily in the following areas):

Commercial and business, and business owner, investor, shareholder, D&O, officer, director, governance, accountings, lost income, profits and royalties, and business-related;

Trust, estate, elder abuse, POA, conservatorship, contentious administrations, ethics, etc.;

Workplace and employment, and real property; and

Various other cases and areas (environmental contamination, accidents, insurance, etc.).

⁃  Boards and committees including audit and governance committees, investigations, independence, conflicts, governance, diligence, risk management, ESG, etc. – representation and advising re conduct, authority, duties and responsibilities, rights, and liability.

⁃  Services as a mediator, and dispute resolution.

BATNA doesn’t get you to settlement or resolution – instead, looking for answers does –

BATNA is an acronym that stands for Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. It is defined as the best or most advantageous alternative that a negotiating or mediating party can take or has if negotiations and reaching settlement or resolution are failing or are not moving forward and if it is believed that settlement is breaking down cannot be reached. BATNA was presented in the book Getting to YES: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (first published in 1981), and it continues to be used as a consideration that a negotiating or mediating party can and should use when deciding whether or not to engage in negotiation or mediation, or whether or not to continue negotiating or mediating when things seem to have stalled or reached an impasse.

Whereas considering BATNA (i.e., why a party should negotiate or keep negotiating) is a good means of moving the parties or a party back from a precipice or position wherein negotiations or mediation breakdown or breakdown at least temporarily, BATNA doesn’t get you to settlement – instead, moving beyond or back from BANTA, being openminded, continuing to explore options, looking for answers, considering the negatives and unknowns, and moving forward toward resolution do move the parties toward settlement and resolution or at least in part on some of the issues.

Thus, the parties, and the mediator need to consider the toolbox of options, and approaches and ways for the parties to continue talking and moving forward from the current position and from their current positions toward resolution or resolutions.

Parties can move off of their positions – or can be willing or induced to move off of their positions, by any number of means, such as, for example:

Persuasion;

Moving within the or their perceived global range of options;

Expanding the or their global range of options;

Disclosing or making known more about or what was previously known about their global range of options;

Force or threat, so to speak;

Changed circumstances;

Optics or disclosure to or about outside stakeholders or influencers;

Additional examination, discovery, evidence or related information, documents, or disclosure;

Additional understanding about the applicable law, burdens of proof, and presumptions;

Additional information about the possible trier of fact; and

More – that is, the long list depends on the particular situation at issue.

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

If Your Estate Or Trust Holds Difficult To Value Assets – Get Your Valuation Experts In Order (Slide)

View the above jpg, or click on the below link for a more clear view.

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

 

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

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Buskirk v. Buskirk (August 14, 2020) 53 Cal. App. 5th 523 – holding that personal jurisdiction rules are the same for trust proceedings as they are for civil proceedings – i.e., California’s jurisdictional reach is long

The following is a summary of Buskirk v. Buskirk which is a recent and important case that discussed the reach of California’s jurisdiction in trust/probate court cases.

Buskirk v. Buskirk (August 14, 2020) 53 Cal. App. 5th 523 – holding that personal jurisdiction rules are the same for trust proceedings as they are for civil proceedings – i.e., California’s jurisdictional reach is long, personal jurisdiction depends on the connections that the defendant, and/or the facts, and/or the assets that are at issue, had or have with California

Buskirk affirms the view of personal jurisdiction that I have followed in probate court cases – i.e., that California’s jurisdictional reach is long, but, of course, it is not unlimited. Broadly viewed, the approach is: (1) was or is the defendant located in California, or (2) to what extent did the relevant facts or actions occur in California, or (3) to what extent were or are the assets that are at issue located in California? In Buskirk for example, the court held that California does have jurisdiction over the settlor/trustee although she used to be but now no longer was located in California. The court evaluated the history of the settlor/trustee’s actions in California, the relevant facts and actions that had occurred in California, and the extent that the assets that were at issue were located in California.

The opinion in Buskirk also is helpful because it is fairly long and detailed as to the various different facts that were involved and that the Court considered. There are a lot of facts in Buskirk that are also present or that could also be present in a typical California probate court case. Below you will find a summary of the opinion including some quotes from the court.

“As a matter of state law, personal jurisdiction rules are the same for civil and trust proceedings. [See Prob. Code § 17004 . . . .]”

California courts may exercise jurisdiction to determine matters concerning trust property located in California—particularly land—even if the trust is administered elsewhere.

California courts may exercise jurisdiction on any basis consistent with the state or federal Constitutions. Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 410.10.

Court focuses on the defendants’ relationship to the forum state when assessing personal jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction is proper if a defendant has minimum contacts with the state such that the lawsuit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.

Personal jurisdiction can be all-purpose (also called “general”) or case-linked (also called “specific”).

With case-linked jurisdiction, the court may adjudicate only those disputes relating to defendants’ contacts with the forum.

Case-linked jurisdiction is proper when: (1) defendants have purposefully availed themselves of forum benefits; (2) the controversy relates to the defendants’ contacts with the forum; and (3) the exercise of jurisdiction comports with fair play and substantial justice.

When considering purposeful availment prong of case-linked jurisdiction test, court considers whether the defendants’ conduct connects them to the forum in a meaningful way.

Defendants purposefully avail themselves of a forum’s benefits, such that case-linked jurisdiction is proper, if they intentionally direct their activities at a forum such that, by virtue of the benefit the defendants receive, they should reasonably expect to be subject to jurisdiction there.

A defendant need not physically enter California at all to be subject to personal jurisdiction in California.

“A defendant need not physically enter California at all to be subject to personal jurisdiction here. (Halyard Health, Inc. v. Kimberly-Clark Corp. (2019) 43 Cal.App.5th 1062, 1075, 256 Cal.Rptr.3d 915.) Nor can the mother undo her lifelong California contacts by moving to a new state. No matter where they now live, Respondents’ activities have involved a trust that was created and managed in California, that is governed by California law, and that continues to hold interests in California real property. Respondents have purposefully availed themselves of the California forum.”

“Next we tackle the second prong about “relatedness”: whether the son’s claims relate to Respondents’ contacts with California. We look for a substantial connection between Respondents’ forum activities and the son’s claims. (Vons, supra, 14 Cal.4th at pp. 452, 456, 58 Cal.Rptr.2d 899, 926 P.2d 1085.)”

“To defeat exercise of case-linked jurisdiction on fairness grounds, the defendant must present a compelling case that exercising jurisdiction would be unreasonable.”

“Venue is separate from personal jurisdiction. Witkin Library Reference: 2 Witkin, Cal. Procedure (5th ed. 2008) Jurisdiction, § 158 [Ownership, Possession, or Use of Property.]”

“Among other findings, the trial court specifically found most of the Trust properties currently are in Idaho, the son is no longer a Trust beneficiary, and the mother has moved to Idaho. We accept those factual findings and do not question them.”

“Mother intentionally connected with California for her own benefit, such that connection satisfied purposeful availment prong of case-linked jurisdiction over mother in son’s action for accounting of family real estate trust, where mother was lifelong California resident, created trust with her husband in California and chose California law to govern trust, trust held interests in California real estate, mother had filed four lawsuits in California involving trust property, and, since leaving California, mother had engaged in transactions aimed at extinguishing the trust’s interests in the California real estate.”

“Daughters’ connections with California satisfied purposeful availment prong of case-linked jurisdiction in son’s action for accounting of family real estate trust, where daughters were successor beneficiaries and successor trustees of the trust, which originated in California, was governed by California law, and held interest in California real estate, daughters participated in trust transactions, and daughters physically came to California to get their mother, who was trustor, and to move her to Idaho, which triggered the trust changes at issue.”

“Uncle’s connections with California satisfied purposeful availment prong of case-linked jurisdiction in son’s action for accounting of family real estate trust, where uncle had role in managing trust, which originated in California, was governed by California law, and held interest in California real estate, uncle also participated in the trust’s real estate transactions, and uncle assisted in moving trustor mother from California to Idaho, which was event that changed trust’s operation.”

“Son’s claims for accounting of family real estate trust and for removal of trustees related to mother’s, uncle’s, and daughters’ contacts with California, as required for court to assert case-specific jurisdiction over them; mother, uncle, and daughter were connected to California through the trust, which was the topic of the son’s suit, suit asserted that they harmed son and the trust by engaging in below-market California land deals and that mother created an impermissible conflict of interest, son claimed the transactions rendered them unfit to serve as trustees, and son sought appointment of professional fiduciary as trustee and claimed he had been refused an accounting.”

“Exercise of case-linked jurisdiction over mother, uncle, and daughters was fair in son’s action for accounting of family real estate trust; son was resident of California, mother previously had chosen to litigate in California regarding trust, daughters or their agents came to California to move mother to Idaho, uncle was successor trustee and managed its affairs for mother, who had lived in California for 89 years, and while mother was elderly and one daughter had cancer, court would make reasonable accommodations.”

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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

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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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

 

New Case – Estate of Ashlock – relating to Probate Code Section 859 recovery of “twice the value of the property recovered”

On March 3, 2020, the California Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District, in Estate of Ashlock, Case No. F078083, issued a new Opinion, part of which was certified for publication, in the long-running battle involving the Estate of Lonnie Lamont Ashlock, Stacey Carlson and Gabriel Ashlock. These are hotly litigated cases. There have been several prior appellate Opinions issued, most of which are unpublished. Indeed, only a small part of the March 3, 2020, Opinion is certified for publication.

These cases involve trust, will, partnership, alleged forgery, alleged breach of fiduciary duty, instrument/document contests, and other issues, also including California Probate Code Sections 850-859.

The holding in the published part of the March 3, Opinion is that Probate Code Section 859 provides for recovery of the actually recovered property plus twice (or two times, or double) the value of the recovered property. As noted in the Opinion, California Appellate Court’s have interpreted the wording of Section 859 in different ways. For example, one Court has interpreted the Section as stating that the recovery of twice (or two times, or double) the value means the recovery of the actual property plus the value of the recovered property. For example, if the recovered property has a value of $1,000, under the first scenario (and in accord with the Opinion in Estate of Ashlock) the recovery would be the property ($1,000) plus an additional $2,000 (twice the value of the property), whereas under the second scenario the recovery would be the property ($1,000) plus an additional $1,000.

An increasing number of cases involve claims under Probate Code Sections 850-859. Unfortunately, and surprisingly, there are few appellate cases that interpret those code sections or that apply different fact situations to those code sections. It is my view that particularly with respect to Sections 850 and 859 it would have been helpful if the Legislature had made some of the wording and provisions more clear. Many of my cases involve Probate Code Sections 850-859.

For your ease of reference, below I have pasted the current wording of California Probate Code Sections 850 and 859.

Section 850

(a) The following persons may file a petition requesting that the court make an order under this part:

(1) A guardian, conservator, or any claimant, in the following cases:

(A) Where the conservatee is bound by a contract in writing to convey real property or to transfer personal property, executed by the conservatee while competent or executed by the conservatee’s predecessor in interest, and the contract is one that can be specifically enforced.

(B) Where the minor has succeeded to the interest of a person bound by a contract in writing to convey real property or to transfer personal property, and the contract is one that can be specifically enforced.

(C) Where the guardian or conservator or the minor or conservatee is in possession of, or holds title to, real or personal property, and the property or some interest therein is claimed to belong to another.

(D) Where the minor or conservatee has a claim to real or personal property title to or possession of which is held by another.

(2) The personal representative or any interested person in any of the following cases:

(A) Where the decedent while living is bound by a contract in writing to convey real property or to transfer personal property and dies before making the conveyance or transfer and the decedent, if living, could have been compelled to make the conveyance or transfer.

(B) Where the decedent while living binds himself or herself or his or her personal representative by a contract in writing to convey real property or to transfer personal property upon or after his or her death and the contract is one which can be specifically enforced.

(C)Where the decedent died in possession of, or holding title to, real or personal property, and the property or some interest therein is claimed to belong to another.

(D) Where the decedent died having a claim to real or personal property, title to or possession of which is held by another.

(3) The trustee or any interested person in any of the following cases:

(A) Where the trustee is in possession of, or holds title to, real or personal property, and the property, or some interest, is claimed to belong to another.

(B) Where the trustee has a claim to real or personal property, title to or possession of which is held by another.

(C) Where the property of the trust is claimed to be subject to a creditor of the settlor of the trust.

(b) The petition shall set forth facts upon which the claim is based.

(Added by Stats. 2001, Ch. 49, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2002.)

Section 859

If a court finds that a person has in bad faith wrongfully taken, concealed, or disposed of property belonging to a conservatee, a minor, an elder, a dependent adult, a trust, or the estate of a decedent, or has taken, concealed, or disposed of the property by the use of undue influence in bad faith or through the commission of elder or dependent adult financial abuse, as defined in Section 15610.30 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, the person shall be liable for twice the value of the property recovered by an action under this part. In addition, except as otherwise required by law, including Section 15657.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, the person may, in the court’s discretion, be liable for reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. The remedies provided in this section shall be in addition to any other remedies available in law to a person authorized to bring an action pursuant to this part.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 99, Sec. 1. (AB 381) Effective January 1, 2014.)

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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:

Trust, Estate, Probate Court, Elder and Dependent Adult, and Disability 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, 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
  • 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 and special committee governance and processes, disputes, conflicts of interest, independence, culture, ethics, etc.; and advising audit committees, governance committees, officers, directors, and boards

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:

An internal investigation summary overview page from a prior blog post which you can find at https://wp.me/p75iWX-dk if the below scan is too difficult to read (and you will also find other posts about investigations on my blog):

 

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

 

AUDIT COMMITTEE SELF-EVALUATION

David W. Tate

Attorney at Law

Certified Public Accountant (inactive California)

Copyright 2019 David W. Tate (however, you are authorized to download and print these materials for your use, and to also pass them to other people who would be interested)

BLOGS

D&O, Audit Committees, Risk Management, Compliance, Investigations & Governance: http://auditcommitteeupdate.com

Trust, Estate, Conservatorship & Elder Abuse Litigation: http://californiaestatetrust.com

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/davetateesq

Twitter: http://twitter.com/davidtateesq

Self-evaluation is an important board and committee activity, and can be very helpful if done properly.

A.  Introduction and Overview

The following discussion covers audit committee self-evaluation and provides processes that you can use. As noted elsewhere in these materials, although many board and audit committee functions, responsibilities and tasks are specified by statute, regulation, rule or pronouncement, board and audit committee member standards of care remain significantly dependent on due diligence and prudent judgment.

Boards and audit committees of various entities are required by law, regulation or rule to conduct annual committee self-evaluations; however, it is worthwhile for boards and audit committees of all public and private companies and nonprofit entities to conduct self-evaluations. Board and audit committee jobs are challenging, ongoing, and technical in nature, and require the members to significantly interact with many people in different capacities within and outside of the entity. It only makes sense that both boards and audit committees should at least once each year take time to step back and review, evaluate and make improvements to their manners of operation, and also consider helpful actions that can be taken by other people with whom the boards and audit committees interact. Self-evaluation will be worthwhile even if it results in improving only one area of operation.

Board and audit committee responsibilities originate from several different sources at least including (1) activities and responsibilities that boards or audit committees voluntarily undertake or that are delegated to them; (2) the business judgment rule; (3) the specific laws, regulations and rules that are applicable to the entity’s directors and audit committee members; (4) the wording of the board and audit committee charters, if there are charters; (5) shareholder and stakeholder expectations, and (6) for audit committees, accounting and auditing pronouncements relating to the outside auditor’s activities.

Prudent board and audit committee processes and diligence are also important to reduce member and entity liability and reputation risk. An increasing number of cases hold that board and audit committee members can be liable for failure to exercise sufficient diligence, failure to spot and respond to red flags, and failure to take action. Active board, committee and corporate diligence tend to demonstrate prudent business judgment and negate allegations of recklessness, improper intent, intentional wrongdoing, or “scienter” such as in the context of securities litigation, thus reducing the risk of securities liability and damages. In the context of audit committee activities, potential entity, board, and audit committee member liability typically arises in the context of alleged improper accounting practices, written and oral public misrepresentations (such as with respect to financial matters), and improper employment practices.

Although not required, there can be advantages to having a facilitator conduct an interactive interview approach to the self-evaluation process, but without performance grading or rating: it can be difficult to construct a questionnaire with standardized questions that would be similarly understood by each of the participants in the self-evaluation process; different people use different rating scales; different people express responses in different manners; and certain important issues will change from year to year. A facilitated approach may encourage better discussion and comment, compilation, continuity, explanation, and follow-up. Contact me if you are interested in committee self-evaluation assistance at a reasonable fixed fee.

Issues and topic areas to consider during the self-evaluation process will naturally vary from entity to entity, and from board and audit committee to board and audit committee. Thus, to stimulate discussion, below for both boards and audit committees I have provided lists of potential broad issues or topic areas to consider for discussion and evaluation, including both successes and possible improvements; and I have also outlined processes to assist your board and audit committee self-evaluation processes.

B.  Audit Committee Self-Evaluation

1.  Sample List of Issues and Topics to Consider for Audit Committee Self-Evaluation

The following is a list of issues and topic areas to consider for discussion and evaluation. The list is intended to help trigger thought processes, but, of course, is not exhaustive as areas of discussion and evaluation will vary from entity to entity, and from committee to committee. The following list is not intended to and does not suggest that each or any of the below issues and topics must be considered or covered and is not a checklist – instead, if your audit committee is required to conduct a specific evaluation process or to cover certain specific issues and topics, you will need to separately consider the specific requirements, if any, for your audit committee and its evaluation process pursuant to law, regulation or rule. In that regard, please also see the disclaimer and limitations at the beginning of these materials.

-Audit committee meeting agenda preparation and dissemination process.

-Committee member independence and situational independence, financial literacy, experience and expertise.

-Committee member access to information and/or education pertinent to the functions and responsibilities of the audit committee. Are the needs of the committee members being met, so that they are sufficiently knowledgeable and educated about the company or nonprofit and its industry; relevant significant accounting and auditing issues; relevant legal matters; internal controls, risk assessment and management; governance; and new developments in those and other areas?

-Committee and committee member interactions, including interaction between committee members, and between the committee and the board, the CEO, the CFO, the outside auditor, the internal auditor, legal counsel, compliance and ethics, HR, consultants, and other people.

-The committee’s processes for identifying and spotting issues, evaluation and decision making.

-The contents of the audit committee charter, and a mutual understanding of the audit committee’s responsibilities and tasks. The charter is a requirement for public companies, and is a good idea for many private companies and nonprofit entities. The charter is a prudent document to identify and clarify the audit committee’s responsibilities. In addition to the committee itself, it is important for the board, the executive officers, and other stakeholders to have a correct understanding about the committee’s responsibilities and limitations, and the extent to which state or local jurisdiction, U.S. and international requirements and responsibilities apply or may apply to your audit committee.

-Selection of the outside auditor; audit planning; review of the performance of the outside auditor; and review of the quarterly review and annual audit report and process (or compilation if appropriate).

-Review of recent developments relating to the business judgment rule, standard of care and acceptable reliance on other people.

-Review of accounting and financial internal and fraud/embezzlement related controls and processes, risk assessment and management, possible entity and individual liability and reputation risk exposure; and compliance assessment and management relating to laws, regulations, and rules that are within the scope of the audit committee’s functions and responsibilities including issues relating to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

– Review of the accounting department, and accounting and financial reporting for transactions including all of the subcomponents such as principles and policies applied (quality not just acceptability); judgments, estimates and reserves; timing and cutoff procedures; off balance sheet transactions; related party transactions; contingencies and liabilities; revenue recognition; expenses; inventories; goodwill; insider trading; and other matters relating to accounting and financial statement reports.

-Implementing revenue recognition rules, and other important, new or changing accounting principles.

-Review of internal investigation processes, procedures and needs.

-Review of the financial and internal audit functions, and how they can be helpful to the audit committee in the performance of its responsibilities and tasks.

-Review of risk management and uncertainty issues, practices and processes that are within the scope of the audit committee’s function and responsibilities.

-Implementing COSO 2013 or other appropriate processes.

-Documenting and reporting the audit committee’s activities and minutes.

-The audit committee’s use of attorneys and consultants.

-The company’s investor communication processes.

-Whistleblower, ethics, anonymous reporting and complaint handling processes to the extent that the reporting is within the scope of the audit committee’s function and responsibilities.

-Document retention policies.

-Review of the compliance and ethics function and processes that are within the scope of the audit committee’s responsibilities, and how they can be helpful to the audit committee in the performance of its responsibilities and tasks.

-Governance, including tone at the top, financial leadership, transparency and appearance.

-Review of employer, employee and workplace processes, culture, safety, and disciplinary practices that are within the scope of the audit committee’s function and responsibilities.

-Review of tax compliance and reporting issues that are within the scope of the audit committee’s function and responsibilities.

-Review of cybersecurity and internet security issues that are within the scope of the audit committee’s function and responsibilities.

-Insurance.

-Review of pension and health plan related issues that are within the scope of the audit committee’s function and responsibilities.

-Review of information privacy issues, practices and processes that are within the scope of the audit committee’s function and responsibilities.

-Review of asset protection, IP, trade secret, etc. practices to the extent that they are within the audit committee’s function and responsibilities.

-Review of environmental issues and safety that are within the scope of the audit committee’s function and responsibilities.

-Review of product and consumer safety issues, practices and processes that are within the scope of the audit committee’s function and responsibilities.

-Review of ESG, ESG processes, and ESG discussions and disclosures.

-Review of billing and accounting relating to the receipt of funds or revenue from governmental sources such as Medicare and Medicaid; compliance with applicable laws, regulations, rules and other requirements; and oversight of expenses relating to these areas.

-Review of the acceptance, receipt, allocation, expenditure or distribution, and accounting for all charitable and donor funds, grants, contributions, pledges and other resources, including compliance with all requirements, restrictions and special uses.

-Review of accounting for collaboration and joint venture arrangements, including the allocation of receipts/income and distributions/expenses between the entities.

-And, in this economic environment, review of the fair value of funds and investments, including loss of value; liquidity concerns; possible going concern issues; estimates for uncollectibles and related reserves; debt/loan covenants; and funding source uncertainties including those that relate to collaboration and joint venture arrangements.

-It is also important for the audit committee to clarify with the board what responsibilities it has, if any, for oversight of the numerous and various areas of taxation and compliance; ERISA, pension and health and welfare plans; investments; tax exempt status including fund raising, dues, solicitation, and political, campaign and lobby activities; and other areas significant to the entity.

-Discussion about audit committee membership and recruitment needs.

-Additional significant topics or issues that should be discussed.

2.  A Self-Evaluation Process and Format for Audit Committees

The following eight primary steps outline a proposed audit committee self-evaluation process that is workable for audit committees of public companies, private companies and nonprofit entities, whether using or not using, an outside facilitator.

 

Step 1. Determine the people who will be participating in the evaluation process, including the audit committee members, and other people, if any, to interview for comment.

Provide the names of the people who will participate in the evaluation process.

 

 

Step 2. Determine how the participant interviews will be conducted, individually or in a group, in person or by telephone, skype or some other means.

Provide comments or information about how the interviews will be handled with the various different people who will participate in the evaluation.

 

 

Step 3. Arrange participant individual or group interview dates and times.

Provide participant individual or group interview date and time information.

 

 

Step 4. Provide the participants with pre-interview materials and a list of possible issue or topic areas (broad and specific) for consideration and discussion. Of course, the participants can add additional issues or topics. Use this paper for that purpose.

Provide information regarding the status of disseminating the pre-interview materials.

 

 

Step 5. Have each participant provide a list of one to five, or more, issues or topic areas that the participant would specifically like to discuss during the evaluation process.

Provide comments and information regarding receipt of issues or topic areas from the self-evaluation process participants, and the respective issues or topic areas listed.

 

 

Step 6. Conduct information intake or interviews with participants individually or as a group.

Provide comments and information from the participants or the status of such – the input can be made by the participants themselves or by a facilitator during self-evaluation interviews.

 

 

Step 7. Summarize in a report format the issues and topic areas, information received, and suggestions made during the self-evaluation process.

Provide a summary in a report format.

 

 

Step 8. Provide a report back to the audit committee, and possibly conduct a committee group review of the self-evaluation process, information obtained, and suggestions made, and possible future actions or follow-up.

Provide additional comments and information about the self-evaluation process or results.

 

 

Concluding comments. I hope you have found this discussion helpful and at least a good starting point for your audit committee self-evaluation. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in discussing the audit committee self-evaluation process, or if you would like help with facilitation of committee self-evaluation at a reasonable fixed fee.

Best to you,

David Tate, Esq.

 

 

 

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.