If the tentative ruling is accepted, no appearance by Zoom 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. You must inform the clerk concerning your appearance choice: Zoom or in person. 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 9:45 a.m. on the day of the hearing.
To Join Department 23 “Zoom” Online
- Navigate to website: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85441142253?pwd=L2Vocnhwb3lKU01QbjV1bXVpdnJlZz09
- Enter Meeting ID: 160 825 4529
- And Password: 611386
To Join Department 23 “Zoom” By Phone:
- Call: +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose) and enter same meeting ID and password as listed above.
Guide for Participating in Court Proceedings via Zoom for Dept 23:
- After joining the meeting and checking in with the clerk, please mute your audio when not speaking. This helps keep background noise to a minimum.
- Be mindful of background noise when your microphone is not muted. Avoid activities that could create additional noise, such as shuffling papers.
- Position your camera properly if you choose to use a web camera. Be sure it is in a stable position and focused at eye level, if possible. Make sure everything visible in the frame is appropriate for an appearance in court.
- If a confidential session becomes necessary it is incumbent on you to ensure you are able to participate from a private location so that unauthorized people cannot overhear or see the proceedings.
- Chat is enabled for the sharing of documents among participants and the court and to allow attorneys to communicate individually with each other or their clients only. No chat messages should be sent privately to the court as it would amount to an unauthorized ex parte communication. Neither should chat messages be sent to all participants unless directed by the court.
- The recording function has been disabled. Remember, the prohibition against recording court proceedings, even remote ones, remains.
- Be patient. Check in will take more time and the experience from those who have tried this before is that proceedings are a little slower generally.
1. Matter of the Michael Briggs Special Needs Trust
Petition for approval of Third Through Seventh Accountings and Report of Trustee; To Accept Resignation of Trustee Aprille Rafidison and Appoint Monica Salomon Successor Trustee of Trust Without Bond; To Withhold Reserve and Transfer Trust Estate to Successor
Tentative Ruling: The Petition is APPROVED. The Stipulation of the parties is APPROVED. The Court will sign the Stipulation and Order submitted September 11, 2023. All future court dates in this matter are vacated.
The Probate Court’s review of this Special Needs Trust DOES NOT Guarantee Medi-Cal Eligibility or any other Public Benefits provided by any governmental entity. The Probate Court DOES NOT Guarantee that all Federal and State requirement have been met.
2. Conservatorship of Edward George Ottoboni
Third Account and Report of Trustee and Petition for its Settlement and for Allowance of Conservator/Trustee's Fees and Attorney's Fees, and for Reduction of Bond
Tentative Ruling: The Petition is APPROVED. The Court will sign the proposed order lodged August 11, 2023.
The Court reminds Petitioner and counsel that pursuant to local rule 6.8.A, every Petition filed pursuant to Division 9 of the Probate Code must include a copy of the entire trust instrument relevant to the action, including all amendments thereto, and all attachments, schedules, and exhibits. The Court was able to locate a copy of the trust instrument in its file, so was able to complete a review of this Petition. However, Petitioner and counsel should be sure to attach a copy of the trust instrument to future petitions to avoid any potential delays.
3. Matter of The Harwood Family Revocable Trust, dated June 19, 1995
Trustee Don Hughes' Petition to Approve Accounting
Tentative Ruling: This matter was continued by order of the Court. The September 20, 2023, hearing is vacated.
4. Conservatorship of Marilynn Jean Balch
Request to Rename the Conservatee’s Trust
Tentative Ruling: On September 7, 2023, a request for dismissal of the request to rename the conservatee’s revocable living trust was filed with the court. As this matter was placed on the trust calendar for the sake of reviewing said request, and the request has been dismissed, the September 20, 2023, hearing is vacated.
5. Matter of C. Allen Wall Administrative Trust
Petition to Set Aside and Replace Item No. 4 of the January 27, 2023, Order and for an Order Instructing the Trustee to Pay General Pecuniary Gifts in Accordance with the Trust Instrument and California Law and for Continuing Court Supervision
Tentative Ruling: This matter is CONTINUED to December 8, 2023, at 9:30 a.m. in Department 23 for the reasons set forth below.
On September 12, 2023, Trustee Elizabeth Wall Hanson filed Objections to the Trust Petition. Given this objection, this is now a contested matter. Pursuant to Local Rule 6.2.F.2, the parties are directed to meet and confer and make a good faith attempt to informally resolve their controversy at a face-to-face conference (which is deemed to include video platforms such as Zoom), if possible, or otherwise by telephone conference. If the matter has not been resolved, the parties shall each file statements of issues no later than seven (7) court days before the continued hearing date per Local Rule 6.2.F.3. The statements of issues should include a statement describing the parties’ efforts to meet and confer.
6. Matter of the Amado Osuna Mendoza Revocable Trust Dated August 16, 2013
Petition to Remove Successor Trustee, For Surcharge of Trustee, and for the Appointment of a Receiver for the Sale of Real Property
Tentative Ruling: The Court takes judicial notice of the existence of the Unlawful Detainer Complaint in Sonoma County case MCV-260324, and the Return of Writ of Possession dated March 29, 2023, but not the truth of facts asserted in those documents.
The Court takes judicial notice of the existence and the truth of the facts asserted in the “Judgement – Unlawful Detainer” filed February 23, 2023, in Sonoma County case MCV-260324 and the associated Writ of Possession filed February 27, 2023.
The Petition is GRANTED. After considering the uncontested and verified petition and declarations on file in this case, the Court finds that Shawn Ford, the former trustee of the Amado Osuna Mendoza Revocable Trust Dated August 16, 2013, committed breaches of trust that resulted in damages well in excess of his beneficial interest in the remaining assets of the trust. As such, his entire beneficial interest in the trust is surcharged and shall be equally shared amongst the remaining beneficiaries of the trust.
Counsel for Petitioner shall file a proposed order that conforms to this ruling.
7. Matter of the Norman G. Siler Revocable Trust
Petition for Order Confirming Co-Trustees’ Title to Personal and Real Property
Tentative Ruling: This matter is CONTINUED to December 1, 2023, at 9:30 a.m. in Department 23 to allow Petitioner to cure defects regarding service to the entities in possession of the property.
In its July 14, 2023, ruling, this Court specifically noted the following:
“A Charles Schwab account and a Wells Fargo account are the subject of this California Probate Code (Prob C) §850 Petition. However, neither Charles Schwab nor Wells Fargo has been served. Petitioner should note that pursuant to Prob C §851(a)(2), each person having possession of the property that is the subject of a Prob C §850 petition must be served at least 30 days prior to the day of the hearing with the notice of the hearing and a copy of the petition, in the manner provided under California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) 413.10 et seq. Pursuant to Prob C §851(d) the Court may not shorten the time for service under that section.”
The Court continued the July 14, 2023, hearing to the present hearing date to allow Petitioner time to serve Wells Fargo and Charles Schwab as required by Prob C §851(a)(2).
On July 18, 2023, Petitioner filed a proof of service by mail, indicating that Wells Fargo and Charles Schwab were served by mail. Service by mail is insufficient here. Prob C §851(a)(2) requires service in accordance with CCP 413.10 et. seq. (i.e., service in the manner of a summons) to entities in possession of the property subject to this Petition. Petitioner has not cured the service defects mentioned in this Court’s July 14, 2023, ruling.
If Petitioner can obtain a waiver of notice from Wells Fargo and Charles Schwab, they may file it prior to the hearing and request to appear at the hearing (in accordance with local rules) for the sake of presenting the waiver to the Court. If Petitioner cannot obtain and file a waiver of notice prior to the hearing but believes they can within one week of the hearing, they may also request to appear to discuss the matter with the Court and avoid an extended continuance.
The Court is inclined to grant the petition once the service defects are cured.
8. Matter of Lilli Meyskens Trust
Petition for Instructions and Confirmation of Assets
Tentative Ruling: This matter is CONTINUED to December 1, 2023, to allow Petitioner to cure notice/service defects. Petitioner is ordered to serve code compliant notice to all necessary parties and file an updated proof of service in advance of the next hearing.
Without limiting Petitioner’s obligation to serve all necessary parties with notice of this Petition in accordance with all applicable laws, the Court notes the following:
1. Wrong Notice of Hearing Form Used
Use of the DE-115 Notice of Hearing form is mandatory in the context of a California Probate Code (“Prob C”) §850 petition. DE-120 notice of hearing form is used here. This is the incorrect form.
2. No Description of Property in the Notice of Hearing
Pursuant to Prob C §851(c)(1), a notice of a Prob C §850 hearing shall contain a description of the subject property sufficient to provide adequate notice to any party who may have an interest in the property. Three Patelco Credit Union accounts are the subject of this Petition, but they are not described in the notice of hearing. Therefore, Petitioner has failed to comply with Prob C §851(c)(1).
3. No service to entity in possession
Pursuant to Prob C §851(a)(2), the entity in possession of the subject property is entitled to service in the manner of a summons (CCP §413.10 et. seq. style service.) Here, Patelco Credit Union is in possession of the property, but they have not been served. Therefore, Petitioner has failed to comply with Prob C §851(a)(2).
The Court is inclined to grant the Prob C §850 petition once the notice/service defects are cured.
The Court also notes that while the Petition is entitled “Petition for Instructions and Confirmation of Assets,” there is no prayer for instructions nor are there any orders for instructions in the proposed order lodged July 14, 2023. Petitioner should file a supplement addressing this issue and lodge an updated Proposed Order if they desire any orders other than the orders on the Prob C §850 aspect of the Petition. The Court also notes that pursuant to Article Eleven section 11.05 of the trust, any petition for instructions re: distribution of the trust assets is likely unnecessary pursuant to Prob C §17209 and subject to dismissal pursuant to Prob C §17202. This issue should also be addressed in the above-mentioned supplement if Petitioner seeks such orders.
9. Matter of Danny Rivera Trust
Petition for Instructions to the Trustee Concerning Inspection and Distribution of Personal Property and Distribution and Management of Real Property
Tentative Ruling: This matter is CONTINUED to December 15, 2023, at 9:30 a.m. in Department 23 for the reasons set forth below.
On September 8, 2023, Trustee Gloria Kosbie filed Objections to the Trust Petition. Given this objection, this is now a contested matter. Pursuant to Local Rule 6.2.F.2, the parties are directed to meet and confer and make a good faith attempt to informally resolve their controversy at a face-to-face conference (which is deemed to include video platforms such as Zoom), if possible, or otherwise by telephone conference. If the matter has not been resolved, the parties shall each file statements of issues no later than seven (7) court days before the continued hearing date per Local Rule 6.2.F.3. The statements of issues should include a statement describing the parties’ efforts to meet and confer.
Petitioners have also failed to demonstrate compliance with Probate Code section 17203 and have not filed any proof of service of notice to all trustees and beneficiaries as required. Trustee Gloria Kosbie has filed objections to the Petition, so any objection regarding insufficient service is deemed waived as to Gloria Kosbie. Otherwise, Petitioner shall provide timely notice of the rescheduled hearing on to all individuals that are required to be notified under Probate Code section 17203, and file proof of service on the appropriate form.
10. Matter of Audrey E. Clampitt Trust dated December 2, 1997 and Restated on April 27, 2010
Petition for Appointment of Successor Trustee
Tentative Ruling: The Petition is GRANTED. The Court will sign the proposed order submitted July 19, 2023.
*End of Tentative Rulings*