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Danita Christie v. Paulette Kimball

January 26, 2012

DANITA CHRISTIE, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLANT,
v.
PAULETTE KIMBALL, DEFENDANT AND RESPONDENT.



Glen M. Reiser, Judge Superior Court County of Ventura (Super. Ct. No. 56-2008-00320286- CU-OR-OXN)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gilbert, P.J.

Opinion following rehearing

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

(Ventura County)

OPINION FOLLOWING REHEARING

In probate court, nothing speaks more eloquently or provides more insight into factual and legal issues than an accounting.

Here the probate court lacked sufficient information to rule on three consolidated cases involving a trust. It determined that an accounting could well serve that purpose. We conclude the probate court's general power to supervise administration of trusts permits it to order a trustee's accounting on its own motion. We further conclude that such order standing alone is not appealable.

Danita Christie, a trustee, appeals an order requiring her to file an accounting to document trust assets. We affirm.

FACTS

In 1991, Paul and Mary Schwarz were trustees of the Schwarz Family Trust. The trust provided that upon their death, their daughters Christie and Paulette Kimball would become successor trustees.

Paul Schwarz died in 1999, and Mary Schwarz became the "sole Trustor, Trustee and lifetime beneficiary" of the family trust.

On May 23, 2005, Mary Schwarz amended the trust to provide that Christie would be "the beneficiary of all the trust property." In that amendment she also stated, "It is my express wish that [Christie] shall hold half that property in trust for her sister Paulette Kimball." (Italics added.) "If Paulette Kimball does not survive Danita Christie, that property held in trust for Paulette Kimball shall become the sole property of Danita Christie. If Danita Christie does not survive Paulette Kimball, all property in the trust belonging to Danita Christie and held in trust for Paulette Kimball shall belong to Brian Brewer, to be held in trust for Paulette Kimball. [¶] It is my express wish that upon my death or incapacity, Danita Christie act as trustee for her sister Paulette Kimball, providing for her normal monthly expenses from funds held in trust for Paulette."

In 2007, Schwarz moved to Montana and resided with Kimball. In January 2008, Schwarz signed a grant deed transferring real property in Camarillo, California from the family trust to herself as the "new sole owner exclusive of Schwarz Family Trust." Later that year, a Montana state court appointed Barbara Fink as Schwarz's conservator. Schwarz died on December 22, 2008. Her will was "admitted" to probate in a Montana court.

Christie filed an action in the Ventura County Superior Court to set aside the 2008 grant ...


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