Conservatorship Was Established, But Equity Supported Award As Well.
No one in Conservatorship of Zilberstein, Case No. B23420 (2d Dist., Div. 7 July 25, 2012) (unpublished) argued that granddaughter did not have good intentions in filing a conservatorship petition for her grandmother given some suggestion that her two children were unduly influencing the elder. The problem is that she died shortly after the parties stipulated to appointment of the L.A. County public guardian and the designation was confirmed in court. Children challenged the trial court’s award of $14,000 in fees and $2,000 in costs to granddaughter’s attorney for conservatorship filing work under Probate Code section 2640.1, arguing no fees should be awarded because no conservatorship had been formally established.
The children’s appeal was unsuccessful.
Because the record showed that the public guardian had been appointed, section 2640.1 expressly did allow for the fee recovery. However, to the extent the conservatorship appointment was in doubt, fee entitlement was established where equity required reimbursement of fees, as it did here, even where no conservatorship existed. (See Estate of Moore, 258 Cal.App.2d 458, 460-462 (1988) [fees allowed even though guardianship petition was unsuccessful albeit filed in good faith]; Conservatorship of Cornelius, 200 Cal.App.4th 1198, 1205 (2011) [fees allowed for temporary conservatorship appointment, even though permanent conservatorship petition was unsuccessful] (with Cornelius being discussed in our November 15, 2011 post).