Sep 16, 2019
TENTATIVE RULINGS

 
Probate Calendar

Thursday, September 12, 2019, 2:30 p.m. – Hon. Jennifer V. Dollard

Courtroom 18, 3055 Cleveland Avenue, Santa Rosa

Probate matters will be heard as follows
 
Law & Motion Calendar: Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. in Courtroom 18
Probate Calendar: Thursday at 2:30 p.m. in Courtroom 18
Limited Conservatorship Calendar: Friday at 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom 15 
 
Courtroom 18 is located at the Civil and Family Law Courthouse:
3055 Cleveland Avenue, Santa Rosa, California 95403
 
Courtroom 15 is located at the North end of the Hall of Justice:
600 Administration Drive, Santa Rosa, California 95403
 
 
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If the tentative ruling is accepted, no appearance is necessary unless otherwise indicated. You must notify the probate clerk at (707) 521-6893 if you wish to be heard in response to the tentative ruling. Any interested party who wishes to be heard in opposition to a petition must notify all other parties of the intent to appear. Both notifications must be completed no later than 4:00 p.m. on the court day immediately preceding the day of the hearing.
 
Unless notification to the probate clerk has been given as provided above, the tentative rulings shall become the rulings of the court at 2:45 p.m. on the day of the hearing. 
 
In accordance with CRC Rule 3.670, CourtCall is available for telephone appearances on the Probate Calendar, except for hearings on petitions to confirm the sale of property and other matters in which the court determines that a personal appearance would materially assist in the determination of proceedings or in the effective management or resolution of the particular case.

 

 
1. MARBLESTONE, R
CONS OF AMBER WEISSENBACK
SPR-61054
PTN TO TRANSFER CONS TO SAN MATEO COUNTY
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Continued to October 31, 2019, at 2:30 p.m. in Department 18 for compliance with Sonoma County Local Rule 6.4C2. Petitioner is directed to file and serve notice of hearing and a copy of the petition on the Office of the Probate Court Investigator.
 
 
2. SPAULDING, G
CONS OF JEANETTE LEE BECKMAN
SPR-87394
ACCTG; & PTN FOR TERM
STATUS UPDATE
 
TENTATIVE RULING: On the matter of the status update previously scheduled, no appearance is required as the parties reached a stipulation signed by the Court on September 3, 2019. The specially set judicial settlement conference calendared for September 13, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. remains on calendar. Counsel should inform the court’s judicial assistant if they desire this settlement conference to be vacated, or re-set.
 
On the accounting, the matter is continued to October 3, 2019 for compliance with local Court Rule 6.2D.5. As the Court Investigators did not receive a courtesy copy of the pleadings (and were not listed on the proof of service) as required by the local rule, a timely review by the court could not be accomplished.
 
 
3. CAIN, T
     WEINROTH, D
EST OF CONNIE JO BERRY-LEHMAN
SPR-87794
PTN FOR SUSPENSION OF POWERS & REMOVAL OF ADMIN; APPT SUCC ADMIN
 
TENTATIVE RULING: This matter is continued to March 5, 2020 at 2:30 in Department 18 pursuant to the stipulated request of the parties filed on September 9, 2019.
 
 
4. STUBBS, G
     GARDNER, L         
CONS OF L KEN MCREE
SPR-89116
PTN FOR TERMINATION; C’TOR FEES
 
TENTATIVE RULING: The petition for termination of the conservatorship of the person is continued to October 31, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. in Department 18. The court is aware that on December 6, 2018, the conservatee executed an Advance Healthcare Directive, prepared by attorney Bart Kemp, which nominated Petitioner as the conservatee’s agent to make healthcare decisions. The issue raised by this is both a legal and factual one: Whether a conservatee can execute an Advanced Healthcare Directive; and if so, whether this conservatee has capacity to do so. Presently, the only capacity declaration before the court states the conservatee lacks capacity. As there is a claim of changed circumstances, Petitioner is directed to file a new capacity declaration, no later than October 22, 2019.
 
Objections have been filed on conservator’s petition for fees and attorney fees. Pursuant to Local Rule 6.2 G2 the parties are ordered to meet and confer in a good faith attempt to resolve the controversy. If such resolution is not possible, then each party shall file a Statement of Issues as provided in Local Rule 6.2 G3. The petition for fees is continued as set forth above.
 
 
5. MEZZETTA, M
EST OF ROBERT J BREHM
SPR-89174
ACCT & RPT
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Appearances required. The petition is seeking a reserve of $200,000 for any potential audit related to unpaid taxes and closing expenses. This is an extraordinarily high reserve which requires more justification. Otherwise, the court intends to approve the petition.
 
 
6. PIASTA, J
EST OF JESSE LEE FREITAS
SPR-89406
WAIVER OF ACCT & RPT
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Approved.
 
 
 
 
7. WEINKAUF, G
EST OF RAYMOND GEORGE ROBERTSON
SPR-090742
WAIVER OF ACCT & RPT
 
TENTATIVE RULING: The petition is continued to October 31, 2019, at 2:30pm in Dept. 18. The arrangement for the payment of attorney fees, which transforms the obligation of the estate into a personal obligation of the administrator, is unacceptable to the court.  Given the range of other options available, which are not irregular, the court requires an explanation why the estate cannot be closed after the sale of the property in question, or why the fees cannot be secured by a recorded lien on said property.  Alternately, the request may be amended to eliminate the current arrangement for payment of attorney fees in favor of a more regular arrangement prior to the continued hearing.
 
 
8. SO CO COUNSEL
EST OF RICHARD TERRILL HEATH
SPR-091006
ACCT & RPT
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Approved.
 
 
9. ZSHORNACK, E
TRUST OF PILAR D GUEVARRA
SPR-091333
STATUS. PTN TO DETERMINE TRUST ASSETS; IMPOSE CONSTRUCTIVE TRUST & FOR ACCTG
 
TENTATIVE RULING: The Court is in receipt of the interim report and account of Respondent/Trustee Anthony D. Guevarra and request for extension of ninety (90) days to complete investigation and final report and account. This matter is CONTINUED to December 19, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. in Department 18. Respondent/Trustee shall file his Report and Account three weeks prior to the continued hearing date and Petitioner shall file any objection no later than ten days prior to the continued hearing date. Pursuant to local rule 6.2 (G)(2), the parties are directed to meet and confer and make a reasonable and good faith attempt to informally resolve the controversy at a face-to-face conference, if possible, otherwise by telephone conference, before the continued hearing date with respect to any remaining issues raised by the Petition as well as the issues raised by the Interim Report, the final Report and Account (once filed) and any objection thereto.
 
 
 
10. ROSE, T
EST OF TERESA RAE ROUSSEAU
SPR-091452
ACCT & RPT
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Approved.
 
 
11. STERNFELD, J
CONS OF ANASTASIA PASCU
SPR-091744
PTN FOR INSTRUCTIONS
 
TENTATIVE RULING:  Petitioner is authorized to sell conservatee’s real property identified as “Bd. Tineretului 15, bl. A4, Sc. 1, Et 1, Ap 5” in Bucharest, Romania and the personal property therein without further order of court.
 
 
12. COOKE, N
EST OF JOSEPH MOROVICH
SPR-092186
ACCT & RPT
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Approved.
 
 
13. DENNIS, A
      GARDNER, L
      INGERSOLL, K
CONS OF DON ARVIS FOSTER
SPR-092401
PTN FOR ATTY FEES & COSTS
 
TENTATIVE RULING: In order to conserve resources of the conservatorship estate, and reduce serial appearances, this matter is continued to September 19, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. in Department 18, when another petition is calendared for hearing in this case.
 
 
14. O’DONNELL, D
EST OF JOAN S MAY
SPR-092606
ACCT & RPT
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Approved.
 
 
15. KELLY, J
EST OF RAUL G MARTIN
SPR-092654
PTN FOR TERMINATION & DISCHARGE OF PERS REP
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Approved.
 
 
16. SRL
GDN OF ROBERT JAACOB MOORE
SPR-093010
CONT FROM 7/18/19
PROOF OF FUNDS IN BLOCKED ACCOUNT
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Continued to October 17, 2019, at 2:30 p.m. in Department 18, to allow Petitioner time to file a signed Receipt and Acknowledgment that funds have been deposited into a blocked account. Bond and accountings shall be waived upon the filing of Receipt and Acknowledgment.
 
If Receipt and Acknowledgment is not filed by 4:00 p.m. on October 15, 2019, appearances will be required to provide the Court with a status update. 
 
 
 
17. CYPHERS, K
EST OF JEFFREY CRAIG HUDSON
SPR-093023
PTN DIRECTING SECURITY BENEFIT LIFE INS CO TO DISTRIBUTE FUND TO PETITIONER/BENE
 
TENTATIVE RULING: The court has received the stipulation of the parties and the proposed order. The court notes that the proposed order, consistent with the stipulation, seeks to direct the Security Benefit Life Insurance Company, Inc.’s distribution of the decedent’s individual retirement account. Notably,  Security Benefit Life Insurance Company, Inc. is not a party to the stipulation; however the accompanying order with the stipulation specifically directs its actions. The parties will either need to obtain the consent of Security Benefit Life Insurance Company, Inc., or provide authority that the court may act in accordance with the stipulation absent Security Benefit Life Insurance Company, Inc.’s consent. Accordingly, the matter is continued to October 31, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. in Department 18.
 
 
 
18. JACOBS, K
EST OF FLORENCE L ESHOM
SPR-093034
PTN TO TERMINATE FOR LACK OF ASSETS & FOR DISCHARGE
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Approved.
 

19. SRL
GDN OF ARIANA & RICARDO CASTELLANOS
SPR-093038
CONT FROM 7/18/19
PROOF OF FUNDS IN BLOCKED ACCOUNT
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Continued to October 17, 2019, at 2:30 p.m. in Department 18, to allow Petitioner time to file a signed Receipt and Acknowledgment that funds have been deposited into a blocked account. Bond and accountings shall be waived upon the filing of Receipt and Acknowledgment.
 
If Receipt and Acknowledgment is not filed by 4:00 p.m. on October 15, 2019, appearances will be required to provide the Court with a status update. 
 
 
 
 
20. BIRNIE, T
TRUST OF RICHARD W SIEGEL & CATHERINE B SIEGEL
SPR-093193
RE TITLE TO TRUST PROPERTY
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Appearances required. If Petitioners bring a corrected proof of service to the hearing showing that the Petition and Notice of Hearing were properly served at least 30 days prior to the hearing date, the Petition will be approved in part and denied in part as set forth below. The only proof of service in the file, which was filed on June 14, 2019, incorrectly states that date the Notice of Hearing, with the Petition, was mailed was 9/12/2019 and that the Proof of Service was signed on 9/12/2019. Notice of Hearing Proof of Service ¶¶ 4.a; 5.
 
Upon receipt of a corrected proof of service, the Petition will be APPROVED as to the account ending in 0820 and DENIED as to the account ending in 7014. The evidence submitted by Petitioner establishes that it was the settlor’s intent to transfer the account ending in 0820 into the Trust. Although there was an “Assignment of Personal Property” which refers to property generally, the evidence submitted shows that although the settlors informed their counsel about both accounts at Bank of America, only the account ending in 0820 was listed on schedule A and the subject of written correspondence regarding re-titling assts. Exs. E, F. Counsel’s declaration further explains that she discussed with the settlors the fact that the small account ending in 7014 could be transferred to their Trust after their deaths using the small estate procedures to avoid having to re-title the account and obtain new checks for it. Birnie Decl. ¶ 5. This, and the pour-over will, indicates that it was the intent of the settlors to have the funds from 7014 be transferred to the Trust upon their deaths. However, it is insufficient to show that they intended for the account ending in 7014 to be put in the Trust. Thus, as contemplated, Petitioners must have the account ending in 7014 transferred to the Trust under Prob. Code § 13050 rather than through the present Petition under Prob. Code § 850(a)(3)(B) and Estate of Heggstad (1993) 16 Cal.App.4th 943. 
 
If a corrected proof of service establishing timely notice is not provided, the matter will be continued to October 31, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. in Department 18 to allow notice to be given.
 
 
21. BAILEY, F
TRUST OF GYVEN MCINTOSH & JEAN MCINTOSH
SPR-093194
PTN FOR INSTRUCTIONS
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Approved, based on the Court’s assumption that the assets in the Residuary Trust as of the date of death of the surviving trustor (May 18, 2018) were not materially greater than the assets as of the date that Petitioners became co-trustees of the Residuary Trust (December 18, 2017). There is a specific statement regarding the assets of the Residuary Trust as of the date Petitioners became co-trustees (Pet. ¶ 7) but there is only a vague reference in ¶ 9 to the assets of the trust being two residential homes and no cash assets “[f]ollowing the death of Gvyen McIntosh,” (emphasis added); there are no facts stated regarding the assets of the Residuary Trust on the date of death. Beneficiaries Mark McIntosh and Scott McIntosh consent to the proposed distribution, and beneficiary Todd McIntosh will receive his full pecuniary gift, plus interest, but the remainder beneficiaries will not receive anything from the Residuary Trust. The assets as of the date of death are what is relevant to the Court’s inquiry regarding whether the proposed distribution is in the best interests of the beneficiaries, including the remainder beneficiaries. If the Court’s assumption stated above—that the assets on the date of death were not materially greater than the assets as of the date that Petitioners became co-trustees—is not correct, counsel for Petitioners, as officers of the Court, are ordered to request to appear to correct the Court’s assumption and provide evidence of the assets of the Residuary Trust as of the date of death.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
22. GLADDEN, M
TRUST OF DALLAS E WRIGHT & MARY J WRIGHT
SPR-093197
1ST & FINAL ACCT; TERM & DIST DECEDENT’S TRUST & FOR DISCHARGE
 
TENTATIVE RULING: The Court is in receipt of a voluminous objection and supporting declaration, a responsive declaration by attorney for Petitioners, statements of issues from both sides, and a supplemental statement of issues by Respondent, all of which were filed in the past two weeks. The Court is aware that the parties have met and conferred pursuant to local rule 6.2 (G)(2), and are attempting to make a reasonable and good faith attempt to informally resolve the controversy, or at least portions thereof, short of a contested hearing. In light of the discussions to this point, as set forth in the statements of issues, the possibility of further narrowing of scope of disputed issues, the new evidence provided in the responsive declaration by attorney Gladden, the new issue raised by Petitioners regarding a surcharge to Objector of the costs incurred in defending the objections, and the limited assets of the Trust, the matter is continued to October 31, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. in Department 18 to allow further meet and confer efforts and for the Court to consider the parties’ competing proposals with respect to the disposition of the contested issues. Additionally, the parties are encouraged to use the court’s settlement panelist program, and may do so by calling the court’s judicial assistant at 521-6730.  
 
 
23. ERCOLINI, E
TRUST OF LOUIS PAUL DEMARTINI AND WYNNE R DEMARTINI
SPR-093206
PTN TO MODIFY TRUST
 
TENTATIVE RULING: The hearing on this matter is continued to October 31, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. in Department 18 to permit Petitioner to prepare and notice a revised petition which more clearly articulates the true effect of the proposed modification. Specifically, the Petition recites that the proposed modifications to the Trust “do not change the distribution of assets after the death of the surviving Settlor,” that “[t]he children of the Settlors receive the same assets in this amendment as they do in the original trust,” and that “[t]he real change is just the distribution to one trust after the death of the first Settlor rather than forcing the division of the assets into two trusts.” Pet. at 3:1-7. That is not the case, as the actual effect of the proposed modification is not merely to eliminate an administrative burden no longer justified due to a change in tax laws. The proposed modification to Article V of the Trust—which eliminates the separate Bypass Trust—is to eliminate the irrevocable nature of the distribution of the assets of the Bypass Trust (i.e. the deceased settlor’s 1/2 interest in the community and quasi-community property and her separate property). So while the present modification does not change the distribution of assets after the death of surviving Settlor/Petitioner, it permits Petitioner to change the distribution of all assets of the Trust when before he would only be permitted to change the distribution of a portion of the assets of the Trust. In other words, the proposed modifications give Petitioner sole authority to control the disposition of the assets of the Bypass Trust in addition to the assets of the Survivor’s Trust, such that Petitioner could, if he chooses, eliminate the remainder beneficiaries altogether. Moreover, under Section VI of the Trust, the income and principal of the Bypass Trust is only available to pay for the reasonable expenses of the surviving settlor for his health, education, support and maintenance. In contrast, the entire net income of the Survivor’s Trust is available to him along with “so much of the principal of the trust as the trustee deems proper for the surviving settlor’s comfort, welfare, and happiness.” Therefore, the effect of eliminating the Bypass Trust is also to relax the standard for which the income and principal that would otherwise be allocated to the Bypass Trust may be used by Petitioner such that Petitioner could, if he chooses, entirely dissipate the assets. Based on the foregoing, the Court will require submission of a revised petition which eliminates the misleading statements regarding the effect of the proposed revisions and includes a thorough and accurate discussion regarding their effect. Upon receipt of unanimous consents to such a petition, it will be granted.
 
 
24. SRL                                            
PTN OF KETI BATTI
SPR-093338
CHANGE OF NAME
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Approved.
 
 
25. SRL
PTN OF STANLEY LAUGHLIN
SPR-093340
CHANGE OF NAME
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Approved.
 
 
26. KELLY, J
EST OF JOHN H BOULDT
SPR-093341
SPOUSAL PROPERTY PETITION
 
TENTATIVE RULING: The hearing is continued to October 31, 2019, at 2:30 p.m. in Department 18, to permit Petitioner to provide information on attachment 7—which is included but blank—setting forth the facts upon which Petitioner bases the allegation at paragraph 7 of the Petition that the property described in attachment 7b should pass or be confirmed to the surviving spouse. Petitioner shall re-notice and serve the revised petition at least 15 days in advance of the continued hearing date.
 
 
27. SRL
PTN OF MELISSA CABOARA
SPR-093343
CHANGE OF NAME
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Approved.
 
 
28. O’BRIEN, P
EST OF JANICE FOSTER
SPR-093344
SPOUSAL PROPERTY PETITION
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Pursuant to the Notice of Stipulated Continuance filed by Petitioner on September 3, 2019, this matter is CONTINUED to October 17, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. in Department 18.
 
 
29. SRL
PTN OF BRIAN BARTON
SPR-093349
CHANGE OF NAME
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Approved.
 
 
30. SRL
PTN OF SHARON KORKALO
SPR-093350
CHANGE OF NAME
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Approved.
 
 
31. GARDNER, L
EST OF DON ARVIS FOSTER
SPR-093410
PROBATE OF WILL & ADMIN WWA
 
TENTATIVE RULING: In order to conserve resources of the estate, and reduce serial appearances, this matter is continued to September 19, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. in Department 18, when another related case is calendared for hearing. At that time, the court would likely set an evidentiary hearing on a Friday morning with a time estimate of one hour with respect to the competing petitions to appoint an executor. Counsel are encouraged to submit proposed dates prior to the next hearing so that the date may be announced by tentative ruling and perhaps avoid the necessity of appearances.
 
 
32. LEVIN, J
EST OF WALLACE M LOWRY
SPR-093439
PROBATE OF WILL
 
TENTATIVE RULING: The petition is approved. Petitioner is to file an Inventory and Appraisal within four months of issuance of letters (Prob. Code section 8800(b)) and either a petition for an order for final distribution of the estate or a report of status of administration within the timeframe set out in Probate Code section 12200.
 
 
33. PADEN, K
EST OF DEIRDRE KRUSE
SPR-093440
LTRS OF ADMIN
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Petition is approved on the condition that the petitioners provide a waiver of bond from Mr. Peter Brainich. If the wavier is not provided to the court at or before the hearing, the matter will be continued to September 26, 2019 at 2:30pm in Department 18.
 
 
34. HARRIS, M
CONS OF CARMELA MONDELLO HOBAUGH
SPR-093528
APPT OF TEMP C’TOR
 
TENTATIVE RULING: Appearances required at 2:30 p.m. Petitioner shall arrange transportation for the proposed temporary conservatee to attend the court hearing. 
 
 
 
 
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