Current Issues in Conservatorships: Assuring the Best Interests of Elders and the Vulnerable are Protected

Cost: $50 PFAC Member – $70 Non-Member

Instructors: Hon. Judge David J. Cowan, Tamila Jensen, Esq., and Scott McDonald

MCLE/CEU Awarded: 1.0 Person

Presented Date: 08/23/2020

Recent media coverage regarding Fiduciary practices has led to some passionate discussion regarding Conservatorships and the Probate System in California. The “gray area” of client best interest has come under heated debate from parties who would advocate against standard Conservatorship practices as well against CA Licensed Fiduciaries. Codified Probate Court procedures and accountings can offer answers to family members and other interested parties concerned with client care. This presentation will discuss recent changes to California law and current developments in Conservatorships from the Judicial, Fiduciary, Financial and Legal perspectives. Our distinguished panel will look beyond traditional court review of Conservatorships and Court Supervised Trusts for a detailed analysis of what really occurs in client estates. Honorable David J. Cowan, Supervising Judge of the Probate and Mental Health Depts. of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, will lead the panel and offer his insights concerning recent law changes as well as pragmatic advice regarding these issues. Joining him will be Attorney Tamie Jensen, an experienced probate attorney and current President Elect of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, who will add her perspective as a long-time legal representative for Professional Fiduciaries. Rounding out the group will be Financial Advisor Scott MacDonald, an arbiter of many client conflicts who will share his unique interpretation on budget and financial issues in Conservatorships. The event will foster an interactive discussion between panel members to seek pragmatic solutions and foster better understanding of Conservatives’ best interests.

Hon. Judge David J. Cowan

The Honorable Judge David J. Cowan is Supervising Judge of the Probate and Mental Health Depts. of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. In that capacity, he oversees sixteen courtrooms and works with the other judges, Court management and justice partners on the operations of the Court for these disciplines. He serves on the Court’s Operations and Executive Committees. Since March 2018, he has been sitting in Dept. 3 of the Mosk Courthouse – focused solely on long or complex Probate trials and settlement conferences. Previously, he spent five years handling a Probate calendar and trial assignment; managing and deciding decedent estates, trusts, guardianships and conservatorship cases.

Tamila Jensen, Esq.

Ms. Jensen is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and earned her law degree from the University of California at Davis School of Law. She recently earned an LLM in Transnational Commercial Practice, Lazerski University, Poland. Ms. Jensen has an active practice in Los Angeles where she represents private professional fiduciaries and lay people in the Probate Courts. The focus of her practice is elder law and real property. She currently is serving as president elect of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Ms. Jensen has taught widely including at Indiana University School of Business, and seminars at the School of Law, Debrechen, Hungary, and at the European School of Law and Economics, Pristina Kosovo. Ms. Jensen participates in several volunteer activities including the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) international moot court arbitration competition. She is a certified mediator and participates as a settlement officer in volunteer mediation and arbitration programs through LACBA. She has authored many articles including the recent “Scalia’s Lasting Legacy: Debating the Constitution.

Scott MacDonald

Scott MacDonald is the founder and leader of the Special Needs Team at Merrill Lynch, a group of financial advisors and client associates dedicated to enhancing the long-term well-being of special-needs, disabled and elderly individuals by offering financial advice and guidance. Scott joined Merrill Lynch in 1987 and has spent his entire career addressing the unique needs of society’s most vulnerable members. Passionate about his work, Scott provides wealth planning and investment management for Special Needs Trusts and other court-supervised trusts, as well as probate investing for Conservatorships and Guardianships. He offers extensive knowledge of various state Probate Code restrictions on investments, as well as the terms of the Uniform Prudent Investor Act. Scott facilitates close collaboration with attorneys, caregivers, trustees, fiduciaries, benefits counselors, and other professionals. A regular lecturer and media contributor, he is the author of numerous articles and publications related to special-needs and elder financial strategy.