2020
Trusts & Estates
Key Statutory Developments

Definition of “Account Statement” for Guardians and Conservators Expanded: AB 2844

Guardians and conservators of the estate must file periodic accountings showing how they’ve managed the ward’s or conservatee’s assets. The filing must include account statements showing the account balance as of the closing date of the accounting period. (For the first court accounting, the filing also must include account statements showing the account balance immediately before appointment.) Under existing law, an “account statement” means an original account statement from any financial or other specified institution. (Prob. Code, § 2620.)

AB 2844 expands the definition of an “account statement” to include a verified electronic statement that’s certified under penalty of perjury. The court may also accept a computer-generated printout of an original verified electronic statement if the guardian or conservator verifies that the statement was received in electronic form and printed without alteration.

More analysis on this and related topics from CEB:
Current Awareness Articles
California Legislative Update for Trusts and Estates Attorneys
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California Guardianship Practice 2020

CLE
Key Developments: Trusts & Estates Key Developments
This CEB program is available via a CEB Passport, Course Pass, or Compliance Package.

Difficult Choices: Proposition 19

The passage of Proposition 19 means that as of Feb. 16, 2021, California Constitution Article XIII A, §2(h) is inoperative. It is replaced with a parent-child or grandparent-child reassessment exclusion for only the transferor’s principal residence and a family farm. The reassessment exclusion is further limited to the market value at the time transfer up to the property’s current assessed value plus $1 million (with the $1 million adjusted annually by the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s House Price Index for California starting Feb. 16, 2023.) And, the transferor must use the transferred property for their principal residence. Proposition 19’s passage requires that estate planners rethink distribution schemes for new clients, and review the estate plans of old clients with an eye for fairness and to preserve family harmony. Due to Proposition 19’s changes to the parent-child and grandparent-child reassessment exclusion, estate planners will need to ask their clients to make some difficult choices.

More analysis on this and related topics from CEB:
Current Awareness Articles
Estate Planners, Start Your Amendments: Changes Coming Due to Proposition 19
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California Decedent Estate Practice

CLE
Key Developments: Trusts & Estates Key Developments
This CEB program is available via a CEB Passport, Course Pass, or Compliance Package.

Exempts Funds in Debtor’s § 529 Account from Collection: SB 898

California offers a § 529 Account program, known as the Golden State ScholarShare College Savings Trust, in which a contributor can fund a savings account to pay for qualified postsecondary education expenses incurred by a designated beneficiary in the future. Distributions made for qualified educational expenses are tax-exempt. (Int. Rev. Code, § 529, subd. (b).) SB 898 exempts funds held in such accounts from bankruptcy and the enforcement of other money judgments, subject to specified limits. The bill also increases the statutory amounts of existing exemptions based on the California Consumer Price Index.

More analysis on this and related topics from CEB:
Current Awareness Articles
California Legislative Update for Trusts and Estates Attorneys
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California Estate Planning

CLE
Key Developments: Trusts & Estates Key Developments
This CEB program is available via a CEB Passport, Course Pass, or Compliance Package.

Legal Guardians Authorized to Bring Wrongful Death Action: AB 2445

Code of Civil Procedure section 377.60 permits certain family members to bring a wrongful death cause of action when a close relative dies due to the negligence or wrongful act of another person. Under prior law, a surviving parent may bring the action either (1) when there’s no surviving spouse, domestic partner, or child, or (2) when the parent is financially dependent on the decedent. Legal guardians, however, couldn’t bring such an action under the provision. AB 2445 changes that by authorizing a wrongful death action by a legal guardian if (1) the parents are deceased and (2) the parents would’ve been entitled to bring such an action.

More analysis on this and related topics from CEB:
Current Awareness Articles
California Legislative Update for Trusts and Estates Attorneys
Requires a sign-in. Join CEB for free—and access a wealth of articles, law alerts, and primary law research.

Print
California Guardianship Practice 2020

CLE
Key Developments: Trusts & Estates Key Developments
This CEB program is available via a CEB Passport, Course Pass, or Compliance Package.

Temporarily Extending Revocable Transfer on Death Deeds: SB 1305

First recognized in California on Jan. 1, 2016, a revocable transfer on death deed can be used to transfer certain real property (i.e., eligible residences) to a named beneficiary on the transferor’s death, without a probate proceeding. The deed is revocable until the owner’s death. See Probate Code sections 5600-5696. The statutes were set to expire on Jan. 1, 2021 unless extended before that date.

SB 1305, as originally introduced, would have extended the provisions another 10 years and made relatively substantial changes to execution requirements, including adding a witness requirement similar to that governing wills. Because of the disruption caused by the pandemic and the resulting refocus of priorities, however, the bill was ultimately amended to simply extend the sunset date by another year. SB 1305 was passed in this form. The legislature is set to review findings by the California Law Review Commission during next year’s session to determine whether the revocable transfer on death deed should be made permanent or otherwise extended.

More analysis on this and related topics from CEB:
Current Awareness Articles
California Legislative Update for Trusts and Estates Attorneys
Requires a sign-in. Join CEB for free—and access a wealth of articles, law alerts, and primary law research.

Print
California Decedent Estate Practice

CLE
Key Developments: Trusts & Estates Key Developments
This CEB program is available via a CEB Passport, Course Pass, or Compliance Package.