Bringing Down the Hammer – California Appellate Court Upholds $1,000 Per Day Sanction For Failure To Timely File Accounting

by Carlena L. Tapella
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

As trusts and estates litigation counsel, we often have matters where a fiduciary, either as a trustee, conservator, personal representative, or agent under a power of attorney, fails to provide financial information when properly requested, or to provide an accounting if one is required under law.  The result is that the person seeking the accounting may be left with no alternative but to file a petition with the court for an order compelling the fiduciary to submit an accounting,

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Is the Britney Spears Conservatorship "Toxic"?

by Danielle F. Diebert
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

Britney Spears says so.  After thirteen years of conservatorship, on June 23, 2021, Britney appeared remotely at her conservatorship hearing and relayed her emotional plea to the judge to terminate her conservatorship without the need for any further evaluation.

The June 23, 2021, Hearing: ”I’m [Not] A Slave 4 U”

At the hearing on June 23, 2021, and after years of relative silence, Britney expressed to the judge that she felt that the conservatorship was “abusive” and that she wanted her life back.  

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Lest We Forget, Conservatees Have Personal Rights

by Carlena L. Tapella
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

Conservatorship proceedings are commenced for a variety of reasons, but the most common circumstance is when an elderly person requires assistance, either with their medical care, or their financial affairs, or both, and that individual does not have an alternative in place which would eliminate the need for a conservatorship.

The establishment of a conservatorship does not deprive a conservatee of all of their personal and legal rights.  Unless the court makes a specific determination otherwise,

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When Do You NOT have the Right to Remain Silent? Conservatorship Proceedings and Equal Protection Clause Claims

The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

Thanks to Law and Order, we’re all familiar with the beginning of a person’s Miranda Warning: “You have the right to remain silent.  Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”  What many may not know, however, is that this is a right only afforded to those involved in criminal proceedings.  In civil cases, there is no constitutional right to refuse to testify.  Historically, this has been intended to ensure that our criminal justice system—which can deprive a person of their freedom,

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There's No Place Like Home - Heightened Evidentiary Standard for Moving Conservatees from Their Personal Residence

by Carlena L. Tapella
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

Frequently when a conservatorship proceeding is commenced, the proposed conservatee is residing in his or her personal residence. Having a conservatorship established can be a distressing experience for a conservatee who has awareness of the effect of such a proceeding. One primary concern may be whether there is going to be a change to living arrangements with which the conservatee has been familiar, sometimes for decades. Naturally, it is commonplace for a conservatee to express that they “don’t want to go to a care home.” In recognition of the need to affirmatively preserve the right of conservatees to remain in their own personal residence,

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A Case Lesson in “What Not To Do” When Billing as a Conservator

by Daniel C. Kim
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

Based on recent appellate cases, one of which is discussed below, the court’s scrutiny of conservators’ conduct and, specifically, private fiduciaries, is seemingly on the rise. Private fiduciaries acting as conservators should always remain focused on performing and charging only for those services that are consistent with the best interests of their conservatees. California case law continues to refine that understanding.

In the recent case of the Conservatorship of Presha,

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