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My Petition for Division of Trust

My Probate Court Petition for Division of Trust (click here to view).

June 1,1994 - as a layman in propria persona - and after being invited and even prodded by City National - I filed my petition under CAL.PROB.CODE  Sec. 17200 for division of trust pursuant to CAL.PROB.CODE Sec. 15412.

CAL.PROB.CODE Sec. 15412 states the following:

"On petition by a trustee or beneficiary, the court, for good cause shown, may divide a trust into two or more separate trusts, if the court determines that dividing the trust will not defeat or substantially impair the accomplishment of the trust purposes or the interests of the beneficiaries. ".

CAL.PROB.CODE Sec. 15412 requires that petitioner show "good cause" for division of the trust. It does not specify what facts constitute good cause. However, the Law Revision Commission Comment, 1990 Enactment ("Law Revision Comment") does give examples of facts which constitute good cause. The Law Revision Commission Comment states:

"Section 15412 continues Section 15412 of the repealed Probate Code without change. This section provides a standard intended to protect the interests of beneficiaries without necessarily requiring their consent. Division of a trust may be appropriate, for example, in a situation where different members of a family desire their own separate trusts because of a disagreement or where a beneficiary has moved to a different part of the country. . . . ".

I wanted a separate trust for myself and family for essentially the same reasons given as examples in the Law Revision Comment. The grounds for division of trust I stated were the following: a) disagreement between the beneficiaries; and, b) my desire to leave California.

Prior to June 1, 1994 I had never been involved in any litigation whatsoever with City National Bank-- although I had been involved in litigation with one of the co-trust-beneficiaries (an action for declaratory relief and a will contest-- both having no connection with this trust).

After I filed my probate court petition (click here to view copy), City National hired a team of lawyers (Mr. Gifford and Mr. Cafferata) at the rate of $515 per hour (charged to trust funds) to oppose the petition. The legal fees reached $92,559.83 as of May 22,1995.

After the drop in my income came to zero (for payment of the lawyers fees) I filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy in April of 1996.