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Trust Me

Author: California Lawyers Association - Trusts & Estates

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Conversations brought to you by the Trusts and Estates Section of the California Lawyers Association..
12 Episodes
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Our guest for this episode, Terrence M. Franklin, shares an incredible story of a Last Will and Testament from 1846 that played a very important role in his family history. He hopes that telling this story can help bend the arc of history towards justice.  About Our Guest:Terrence M. Franklin is a partner at Los Angeles based firm Sacks Glazier Franklin & Lodise.  He is a seasoned attorney with nearly three decades of experience handling trust and estates and probate litigation, disputes and appeals. Terry is also a member of ACTEC (the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel) and was the immediate past Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.  He’s also served as Chair of the Diversity Committee of the Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section of the American Bar Association.  He can be reached at: tfranklin@trustlitigation.laAbout Our Host: Host Anna Soliman is Trust Counsel and Managing Director for Fiduciary Trust International of California out of the Los Angeles Office. Prior to joining Fiduciary Trust International, Anna was an estate tax attorney for the Internal Revenue Service and also worked in private practice, specializing in estate planning and trust administration for ultrahigh net worth individuals.  She is also a TEXCOM member and is involved with the Fiduciary Income Tax Section of the American Bar Association.   Thank you for listening to Trust Me!
In this month’s episode of Trust Me! we interview Chelsea Suttmann and Melissa Karlsten, authors of a recent article entitled “Advanced Planning—A Decade in Review: What Have We Learned Over the Last Decade and Where Are we Headed?” The article appeared in Volume 27, Issue 1 of the California Trusts and Estates Quarterly published by the Trusts and Estates Section of the California Lawyers Association.We discuss changes and threatened changes in estate tax law from 2010 forward, from the fiscal cliff “use-it-or-lose-it” estate tax exemption planning to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. We next turn our attention to the estate tax proposals before Congress, particularly the Biden Administration’s “Build Back Better” plan. Although the legislation is still very fluid, listeners will get a sense of what might be coming our way in the near future. We also reflect on the lessons learned through the twists and turns of estate tax law in the last decade, and what planners should be thinking about and discussing with their clients as we move into 2022. Thank you for listening to Trust Me!
In writing or performing, it is important to know your audience.  In probate litigation, your audience is often the judicial officer presiding over the case.  In this podcast, we sit down with Judge David J. Cowan to get his view on some key topics in handling contested probate proceedings.First, we explore the subject of pleadings and crafting a petition to tell a story.  We next discuss bench trials and how Judge Cowan approaches them, including how he considers testimony on mental capacity and susceptibility to undue influence.  Lastly, we discuss a bit narrower of a topic, relating civil cases to probate cases, which Judge Cowan currently oversees.This podcast should provide some insight on how a judicial officer may look at your case.About Our GuestJudge David J. Cowan is Supervising Judge of the Civil Division of the Los Angeles County Superior Court.  He previously served as Supervising Judge of the Probate and Mental Health Division of the Superior Court.  Judge Cowan is also a member of the Probate and Mental Health Advisory Committee to the Judicial Council of California as well as former vice-chair of the Probate Law Committee of the California Judges Association.About Our HostRyka Farotte is a research attorney at the Los Angeles County Superior Court.  He is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the California Lawyer Association’s Trusts and Estates Section.Welcome to Trust Me! Thank you for listening to Trust Me. 
The trustee is in the driver’s seat in how a trust is administered, deciding when and how assets will be allocated.  Parents who create trusts to benefit their children often pick one or more of them to serve as trustee.  The beneficiaries become unhappy with what the trustee is doing or failing to do.   A lawyer hired by the beneficiaries may file a petition in the Superior Court asking the judge to remove the trustee.When is enough, enough?  What factors will a California probate judge consider when deciding whether to remove a trustee?  In this episode, we discuss Trolan v. Trolan, a case involving six sibling co-trustees, the Court of Appeal provided guidance to trustees, beneficiaries and their lawyers and explore the subject of trustee removal litigation.  The key statute is California Probate Code section 15642.  We’ll also talk about how disputes might be resolved in mediation, which a probate judge can require under Breslin v. Breslin.About Our Guests:Denise E. Chambliss is a shareholder at Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel based in San Jose.  She chairs the firm's Trust and Estate Practice Group and its Trust and Estate Litigation Practice Group.  She litigates trust and estate cases across California and wrote an article on Trolan that appeared in Trusts and Estates Quarterly.  Denise was the lead attorney in a published case of first impression, Wilkin v. Nelson, in which the court granted judicial reformation of a decedent’s pour-over will to exclude unintended community property.  As an Alameda County Superior Court judge for over 20 years, Judge Marshall Whitley developed a statewide reputation as an expert in trust and estate cases.  He served as Supervising Judge, Judicial College faculty, Chair of the Probate Section for the Judicial Council’s Education & Research Committee, and Chair of the Council’s Probate Advisory subcommittees on Trusts and Rules & Forms.  As a law professor, Judge Whitley taught Taxation, Wills & Trusts, Probate Procedure, and Mediating Trust & Estate Disputes.  Currently a mediator – arbitrator - special discovery master, Judge Whitley helps resolve complex disputes involving technical and highly emotional issues.  He is a member of the panel at ADR Services, Inc.  About Our Host:Jeffrey Galvin is a partner at Downey Brand LLP based in Sacramento.  He litigates trust and estate cases around Northern California, representing trustees and beneficiaries.  He created and edited the blog Trust on Trial, which covers on California trust and estate litigation.  He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the California Lawyers Association.  Thank you for listening to Trust Me!
Inheritance Forgery

Inheritance Forgery

2021-07-2630:49

Inheritance forgery can take many forms, including phony estate planning documents that redirect assets to a scammer and fake deeds that spring the family home from the decedent’s estate.  Forgery used to be a crime that could result in the death penalty.  But in the mid-twentieth century, concern about forgery waned.  Based in part on the perception that counterfeit estate plans are rare, several states relaxed the formalities traditionally associated with wills in an effort to avoid technical deficiencies that might cause them to fail.   Has the pendulum swung too far?  In California and elsewhere, inheritance forgery may be more common than many folks assume and perhaps we should find new ways to combat it.  Certainly we should keep forgery risks in mind as we consider statutory innovations like electronic wills created on smartphones.   Professor David Horton is our guest for this episode.  The topic of this podcast, his co-authored piece Inheritance Forgery, appeared in the Duke Law Journal and can be downloaded along with his other articles here.   The podcast begins with a tale about high stakes fraud in rural Kansas.  As reported in an appellate opinion, an elderly widower named Earl Field hired Wanda Oborny to be his bookkeeper.  She forged a codicil (i.e., amendment) to his will and nearly ended up with half of his $20 million estate, to the detriment of a local university.  Justice prevailed (after a lengthy trial and appeal) and Oborny eventually pleaded guilty to mail fraud.  Along the way, a murder/suicide took the lives of the two “witnesses” to the codicil.    About Our Guest: David Horton is a Professor of Law at UC Davis. He received his B.A. cum laude from Carleton College in 1997 and his J.D. from UCLA School of Law in 2004. At UCLA, he was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as Chief Articles Editor of the UCLA Law Review.  He then practiced at Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco and clerked for the Honorable Ronald M. Whyte of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.Horton teaches and writes in the areas of wills and trusts, arbitration law, and contracts.  His work has won several national awards and appeared in the Yale Law Journal, Stanford Law Review, N.Y.U. Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, California Law Review, among many other journals. About Our Host:Jeffrey Galvin is a partner at Downey Brand LLP based in Sacramento.  He litigates trust and estate cases across Northern California.  He created and edited the blog Trust on Trial.  He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the California Lawyers Association.  This is his first foray into podcasting. Produced by: Foley Marra Studios
Our returning guests for this episode are Bryan Kirk of Fiduciary Trust International and Daniel Lorenzen of Fox Rothschild, LLP.  We discuss issues that arise when trust companies administer trusts from a drafting attorney’s point of view and a trust company’s point of view.  This is the second of a two-part series.  In this episode, we review specific distribution provisions and issues that may arise through the lens of a corporate trustee.About Our Guests:Daniel Lorenzen is a partner in the California offices of Fox Rothschild, LLP, and has been practicing in the trusts and estates field for 18 years. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan law school.  He can be reached at: DLorenzen@foxrothschild.com Bryan Kirk is Director of Estate and Financial Planning for Fiduciary Trust International.  He is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate, and a graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law.  He can be reached at: bryan.kirk@ftci.comAbout Our Host: Host Anna Soliman is Trust Counsel and Managing Director for Fiduciary Trust International of California out of the Los Angeles Office. Prior to joining Fiduciary Trust International, Anna was an estate tax attorney for the Internal Revenue Service and also worked in private practice, specializing in estate planning and trust administration for ultrahigh net worth individuals.  She is also a TEXCOM member and is involved with the Fiduciary Income Tax Section of the American Bar Association.  
Our guests for this episode are Bryan Kirk of Fiduciary Trust International and Daniel Lorenzen of Fox Rothschild, LLP.  We discuss issues that arise when trust companies administer trusts from a drafting attorney’s point of view and a trust company’s point of view.  This is a two-part series.  In the first episode, we discuss the need for a corporate trustee, certain discretionary language and how a corporate trustee may feel about holding certain types of assets.  In the second episode, we review specific distribution provisions and issues that may arise through the lens of a corporate trustee.About Our Guests:Daniel Lorenzen is a partner in the California offices of Fox Rothschild, LLP, and has been practicing in the trusts and estates field for 18 years. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan law school.  He can be reached at: DLorenzen@foxrothschild.com Bryan Kirk is Director of Estate and Financial Planning for Fiduciary Trust International.  He is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate, and a graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law.  He can be reached at: bryan.kirk@ftci.comAbout Our Host: Host Anna Soliman is Trust Counsel and Managing Director for Fiduciary Trust International of California out of the Los Angeles Office. Prior to joining Fiduciary Trust International, Anna was an estate tax attorney for the Internal Revenue Service and also worked in private practice, specializing in estate planning and trust administration for ultrahigh net worth individuals.  She is also a TEXCOM member and is involved with the Fiduciary Income Tax Section of the American Bar Association.  
Our guests for this episode are Scott Frasier and Matt Owens, authors of an article to be published in the Trusts and Estates Quarterly called “Let’s Get Digital! ESI in Trust and Estate Litigation.” We discuss the ethical duties of attorneys in regard to E-discovery, preservation letters to clients and opposing counsel aimed at avoiding spoliation of evidence issues, and common sources of electronically stored information, or (ESI). We learn what “native format” and “meta data” are, and when you might request it. Finally, we talk about how to sift through mountains of ESI to find the relevant information and address privacy concerns.Their article is a must-read for all trust and estate litigators, as well as planners and those who represent trustees. Today’s episode will be eye-opening to those who have not dealt extensively with ESI issues.About Our Guests:Scott Fraser is an attorney at Crist Biorn Shepherd Roskoph located in Palo Alto, California.  Scott is a frequent contributor to CEB, having acted as the update author for  chapters in Drafting Revocable Trusts, California Will Drafting, and California Estate Planning, and has been recognized by Super Lawyers in the category of estate planning and administration.  Matt Owners is a partner at Withers in the law firm’s San Diego office and handles matters all across California. Matt is a certified specialist in estate planning, trust, and probate law, is a TEXCOM member, and has been recognized by Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, and Private Client Global Elite in the category of trust and estate litigation. https://www.withersworldwide.com/en-gb/people/matthew-r-owensAbout Our Host:Host Herb Stroh is a partner at McCormick Barstow LLP, and practices out of the San Luis Obispo office. Herb is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. He is past chair of the Trusts and Estates Section of the California Lawyers Association and represents the Section on the CLA Board of Representatives. He is also Treasurer of CLA for the 2020-2021 year.  Herb has extensive experience in all aspects of trust, probate, conservatorship, and guardianship conflict resolution.  He also has experience in all aspects of estate planning and administration of trusts, probate estates, special needs trusts, and conservatorships. Mr. Stroh has also served as a mediator in a variety of trust and estate disputes both in Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo counties.
Guests for this episode of “Trust Me!” are Tom Shaver and Neil Wertlieb. Tom served as Editor to the Fourth Edition of the Guide to The California Rules of Professional Conduct for Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Counsel. Tom discusses the process of reviewing and updating the fourth edition of the Guide. He also explains the effort to make this edition even more of a practice guide with  expanded sample discussions and new chapters on litigation and technology. For more information about the Guide, including how to purchase your own copy go to:https://calawyers.org/trusts-and-estates/the-trusts-and-estates-ethics-guide-is-here/?utm_source=podcast&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=teCo-Chair of the California Lawyers Association’s Ethics Committee Neil Wertlieb joins the podcast to tell us about the work of the Ethics Committee as well as ethical issues relevant to trusts and estates attorneys. We talk about conflicts—who is and who isn’t a client, conflicts when the fiduciary is also a beneficiary, and current and advance client conflict waivers. Finally, we consider ethical issues relevant during a pandemic.Thomas Shaver was an attorney with Hartog Baer & Hand in Orinda for over seventeen years, with a practice focused on estate planning, post-death administrations, and related estate and gift taxation. He served for six years as a member of the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section.  In his final two years of that term he chaired the Ethics Subcommittee that coordinated the research, updating and revision of the Ethics Guide for trusts and estates practitioners that the Section published at the end of last year.  Neil J. Wertlieb brings more than three decades of experience as a corporate transactional lawyer, including two decades as a partner at Milbank LLP.   Mr. Wertlieb’s areas of expertise include: corporate governance and business transactions (including acquisitions, securities offerings and restructurings); and attorney ethics and attorney standard of care.  He served as an ethicist as a Founding Member and Co-Chair of the California Lawyers Association Ethics Committee, a past Chair of  California State Bar’s Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct, past Chair of  Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Professional Responsibility and Ethics Committee and as Special Deputy Trial Counsel for California State Bar’s Office of Chief Trial Counsel. For additional information, please visit www.WertliebLaw.com. Host Herb Stroh is a partner at McCormick Barstow LLP, and practices out of the San Luis Obispo office. Herb is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. He is past chair of the Trusts and Estates Section of the California Lawyers Association and represents the Section on the CLA Board of Representatives. He is also Treasurer of CLA for the 2020-2021 year.  Herb has extensive experience in all aspects of trust, probate, conservatorship, and guardianship conflict resolution.  He also has experience in all aspects of estate planning and administration of trusts, probate estates, special needs trusts, and conservatorships. Mr. Stroh has also served as a mediator in a variety of trust and estate disputes both in Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo counties. 
We continue our discussion of updates with Patrick A. Kohlmann and Vivian Thoreen presenters at the 2020 Annual meeting of as seminar entitled “Case Law and Other Changes in Trusts and Estates Practices”. In this concluding episode we discuss Levin v Winston-Levin (2019) 39 Cal.App.5th 1025 and Estate of Ashlock 45 Cal.App.5th 1066, both of which centered on Probate Code Section 859--the so called “double damages” statute. After a quick discussion on gametic material via the case of Robertson v. Saadat (2020 48 Cal.App.5th  630 we wind up with an examination AB 327. The bill enacts new PC 21385, which intends to overrule a part of the Lintz v Lintz case as to at-death transfers.Their webinar entitled “Case Law and Other Changes in Trusts and Estates Practices” can be found at https://cla.inreachce.com/Details/Information/22eda857-2531-44ac-b154-92bf70dac442?utm_source=podcast&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=te Patrick is the managing partner at Temmerman, Cilley, & Kohlmann of San Jose and Danville, Ca. He specializes in the areas of estate and business planning, trust and decedent's estate administration, property tax planning, probate, conservatorships, and related trust and estate litigation.Vivian Thoreen is the executive partner of Holland & Knight's Los Angeles office and chairs the firm's national Private Wealth Services Dispute Resolution Team. She is a litigator and experienced trial attorney focusing on complex trust, estate, conservatorship and guardianship matters.Host Herb Stroh Mr. Stroh is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. He has extensive experience in all aspects of trust, probate, conservatorship, and guardianship conflict resolution.  He also has experience in all aspects of estate planning and administration of trusts, probate estates, special needs trusts, and conservatorships.If you have questions, comments, and suggestions for future topics please email Herb at herbstroh@gmail.com  Trust Me Theme"Hip Jazz"Music: www.bensound.com
Patrick A. Kohlmann and Vivian Thoreen pick out some highlights from the presentation at the 2020 Annual meeting entitled “Case Law and Other Changes in Trusts and Estates Practices”. In this episode we cover Pena vs. Day (2019) 39 Cal.App.5th 546, which involves a question of what constitutes an amendment to a trust, and Tubb v. Berkowitz (2020) 47 Cal.App.5th 548, a power of appointment case. We discuss the practical issues raised by these cases for litigators and planners.Their webinar entitled “Case Law and Other Changes in Trusts and Estates Practices” can be found at https://cla.inreachce.com/Details/Information/22eda857-2531-44ac-b154-92bf70dac442?utm_source=podcast&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=te Patrick is the managing partner at Temmerman, Cilley, & Kohlmann of San Jose and Danville, Ca. He specializes in the areas of estate and business planning, trust and decedent's estate administration, property tax planning, probate, conservatorships, and related trust and estate litigation. Vivian Thoreen is the executive partner of Holland & Knight's Los Angeles office and chairs the firm's national Private Wealth Services Dispute Resolution Team. She is a litigator and experienced trial attorney focusing on complex trust, estate, conservatorship and guardianship matters.Host Herb Stroh Mr. Stroh is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. He has extensive experience in all aspects of trust, probate, conservatorship, and guardianship conflict resolution.  He also has experience in all aspects of estate planning and administration of trusts, probate estates, special needs trusts, and conservatorships. If you have questions, comments, and suggestions for future topics please email Herb at herbstroh@gmail.com  Trust Me Theme"Hip Jazz"Music: www.bensound.com
Trust Me - Trailer

Trust Me - Trailer

2021-01-0701:14

“Trust Me!” is produced by the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the California Lawyers Association (“TEXCOM”). The Podcast Committee is composed of Herb Stroh, Ciran O’Sullivan, Ryka Farotte, and Jeff Galvin. Suggestions for topics or other feedback can be sent to Herb at herbstroh@gmail.com . We value your input so please, let us hear from you.Trust Me Theme"Hip Jazz"Music: www.bensound.com
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