Code Section Group

Probate Code - PROB

DIVISION 4. GUARDIANSHIP, CONSERVATORSHIP, AND OTHER PROTECTIVE PROCEEDINGS [1400 - 3925]

  ( Division 4 enacted by Stats. 1990, Ch. 79. )

PART 4. PROVISIONS COMMON TO GUARDIANSHIP AND CONSERVATORSHIP [2100 - 2893]

  ( Part 4 enacted by Stats. 1990, Ch. 79. )

CHAPTER 7. Inventory and Accounts [2600 - 2633]

  ( Chapter 7 enacted by Stats. 1990, Ch. 79. )

ARTICLE 3. Accounts [2620 - 2628]
  ( Article 3 enacted by Stats. 1990, Ch. 79. )

2620.
  

(a) At the expiration of one year from the time of appointment and thereafter not less frequently than biennially, unless otherwise ordered by the court to be more frequent, the guardian or conservator shall present the accounting of the assets of the estate of the ward or conservatee to the court for settlement and allowance in the manner provided in Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 1060) of Part 1 of Division 3. By January 1, 2008, the Judicial Council, in consultation with the California Judges Association, the California Association of Superior Court Investigators, the California State Association of Public Administrators, Public Guardians, and Public Conservators, the State Bar of California, and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants, shall develop a standard accounting form, a simplified accounting form, and rules for when the simplified accounting form may be used. After January 1, 2008, all accountings submitted pursuant to this section shall be submitted on the Judicial Council form.

(b) The final court accounting of the guardian or conservator following the death of the ward or conservatee shall include a court accounting for the period that ended on the date of death and a separate accounting for the period subsequent to the date of death.

(c) Along with each court accounting, the guardian or conservator shall file supporting documents, as provided in this section.

(1) For purposes of this subdivision, the term “account statement” shall include any original account statement from any institution, as defined in Section 2890, or any financial institution, as defined in Section 2892, in which money or other assets of the estate are held or deposited.

(2) The filing shall include all account statements showing the account balance as of the closing date of the accounting period of the court accounting. If the court accounting is the first court accounting of the guardianship or conservatorship, the guardian or conservator shall provide to the court all account statements showing the account balance immediately preceding the date the conservator or guardian was appointed and all account statements showing the account balance as of the closing date of the first court accounting.

(3) If the guardian or conservator is a private professional or licensed guardian or conservator, the guardian or conservator shall also file all original account statements, as described above, showing the balance as of all periods covered by the accounting.

(4) The filing shall include the original closing escrow statement received showing the charges and credits for any sale of real property of the estate.

(5) If the ward or conservatee is in a residential care facility or a long-term care facility, the filing shall include the original bill statements for the facility.

(6) This subdivision shall not apply to the public guardian if the money belonging to the estate is pooled with money belonging to other estates pursuant to Section 2940 and Article 3 (commencing with Section 7640) of Chapter 4 of Part 1 of Division 7. Nothing in this section shall affect any other duty or responsibility of the public guardian with regard to managing money belonging to the estate or filing accountings with the court.

(7) If any document to be filed or lodged with the court under this section contains the ward’s or conservatee’s social security number or any other personal information regarding the ward or conservatee that would not ordinarily be disclosed in a court accounting, an inventory and appraisal, or other nonconfidential pleadings filed in the action, the account statement or other document shall be attached to a separate affidavit describing the character of the document, captioned “CONFIDENTIAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT” in capital letters. Except as otherwise ordered by the court, the clerk of the court shall keep the document confidential except to the court and subject to disclosure only upon an order of the court. The guardian or conservator may redact the ward’s or conservatee’s social security number from any document lodged with the court under this section.

(8) Courts may provide by local rule that the court shall retain all documents lodged with it under this subdivision until the court’s determination of the guardian’s or conservator’s account has become final, at which time the supporting documents shall be returned to the depositing guardian or conservator or delivered to any successor appointed by the court.

(d) Each accounting is subject to random or discretionary, full or partial review by the court. The review may include consideration of any information necessary to determine the accuracy of the accounting. If the accounting has any material error, the court shall make an express finding as to the severity of the error and what further action is appropriate in response to the error, if any. Among the actions available to the court is immediate suspension of the guardian or conservator without further notice or proceedings and appointment of a temporary guardian or conservator or removal of the guardian or conservator pursuant to Section 2650 and appointment of a temporary guardian or conservator.

(e) The guardian or conservator shall make available for inspection and copying, upon reasonable notice, to any person designated by the court to verify the accuracy of the accounting, all books and records, including receipts for any expenditures, of the guardianship or conservatorship.

(f) A superior court shall not be required to perform any duties imposed pursuant to the amendments to this section enacted by Chapter 493 of the Statutes 2006 until the Legislature makes an appropriation identified for this purpose.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 10, Sec. 20. (SB 78) Effective March 24, 2011.)

2620.1.
  

The Judicial Council shall, by January 1, 2009, develop guidelines to assist investigators and examiners in reviewing accountings and detecting fraud.

(Added by Stats. 2007, Ch. 553, Sec. 21. Effective January 1, 2008.)

2620.2.
  

(a) Whenever the conservator or guardian has failed to file an accounting as required by Section 2620, the court shall require that written notice be given to the conservator or guardian and the attorney of record for the conservatorship or guardianship directing the conservator or guardian to file an accounting and to set the accounting for hearing before the court within 30 days of the date of the notice or, if the conservator or guardian is a public agency, within 45 days of the date of the notice. The court may, upon cause shown, grant an additional 30 days to file the accounting.

(b) Failure to file the accounting within the time specified under subdivision (a), or within 45 days of actual receipt of the notice, whichever is later, shall constitute a contempt of the authority of the court as described in Section 1209 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(c) If the conservator or guardian does not file an accounting with all appropriate supporting documentation and set the accounting for hearing as required by Section 2620, the court shall do one or more of the following and shall report that action to the bureau established pursuant to Section 6510 of the Business and Professions Code:

(1) Remove the conservator or guardian as provided under Article 1 (commencing with Section 2650) of Chapter 9 of Part 4 of Division 4.

(2) Issue and serve a citation requiring a guardian or conservator who does not file a required accounting to appear and show cause why the guardian or conservator should not be punished for contempt. If the guardian or conservator purposely evades personal service of the citation, the guardian or conservator shall be immediately removed from office.

(3) Suspend the powers of the conservator or guardian and appoint a temporary conservator or guardian, who shall take possession of the assets of the conservatorship or guardianship, investigate the actions of the conservator or guardian, and petition for surcharge if this is in the best interests of the ward or conservatee. Compensation for the temporary conservator or guardian, and counsel for the temporary conservator or guardian, shall be treated as a surcharge against the conservator or guardian, and if unpaid shall be considered a breach of condition of the bond.

(4) (A) Appoint legal counsel to represent the ward or conservatee if the court has not suspended the powers of the conservator or guardian and appoint a temporary conservator or guardian pursuant to paragraph (3). Compensation for the counsel appointed for the ward or conservatee shall be treated as a surcharge against the conservator or guardian, and if unpaid shall be considered a breach of a condition on the bond, unless for good cause shown the court finds that counsel for the ward or conservatee shall be compensated according to Section 1470. The court shall order the legal counsel to do one or more of the following:

(i) Investigate the actions of the conservator or guardian, and petition for surcharge if this is in the best interests of the ward or conservatee.

(ii) Recommend to the court whether the conservator or guardian should be removed.

(iii) Recommend to the court whether money or other property in the estate should be deposited pursuant to Section 2453, 2453.5, 2454, or 2455, to be subject to withdrawal only upon authorization of the court.

(B) After resolution of the matters for which legal counsel was appointed in subparagraph (A), the court shall terminate the appointment of legal counsel, unless the court determines that continued representation of the ward or conservatee and the estate is necessary and reasonable.

(5) If the conservator or guardian is exempt from the licensure requirements of Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 6500) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code, upon ex parte application or any notice as the court may require, extend the time to file the accounting, not to exceed an additional 30 days after the expiration of the deadline described in subdivision (a), where the court finds there is good cause and that the estate is adequately bonded. After expiration of any extensions, if the accounting has not been filed, the court shall take action as described in paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive.

(d) Subdivision (c) does not preclude the court from additionally taking any other appropriate action in response to a failure to file a proper accounting in a timely manner.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 553, Sec. 22. Effective January 1, 2008.)

2621.
  

Notice of the hearing on the account of the guardian or conservator shall be given for the period and in the manner provided in Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 1460) of Part 1. If notice is required to be given to the Director of State Hospitals or the Director of Developmental Services under Section 1461, the account shall not be settled or allowed unless notice has been given as provided in Section 1461.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 440, Sec. 47. (AB 1488) Effective September 22, 2012.)

2622.
  

The ward or conservatee, the spouse of the ward or the spouse or domestic partner of the conservatee, any relative or friend of the ward or conservatee, or any creditor or other interested person may file written objections to the account of the guardian or conservator, stating the items of the account to which objection is made and the basis for the objection.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 893, Sec. 40. Effective January 1, 2002.)

2622.5.
  

(a) If the court determines that the objections were without reasonable cause and in bad faith, the court may order the objector to pay the compensation and costs of the conservator or guardian and other expenses and costs of litigation, including attorney’s fees, incurred to defend the account. The objector shall be personally liable to the guardianship or conservatorship estate for the amount ordered.

(b) If the court determines that the opposition to the objections was without reasonable cause and in bad faith, the court may award the objector the costs of the objector and other expenses and costs of litigation, including attorney’s fees, incurred to contest the account. The amount awarded is a charge against the compensation of the guardian or conservator, and the guardian or conservator is liable personally and on the bond, if any, for any amount that remains unsatisfied.

(Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 563, Sec. 12. Effective January 1, 1997.)

2623.
  

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b) of this section, the guardian or conservator shall be allowed all of the following:

(1) The amount of the reasonable expenses incurred in the exercise of the powers and the performance of the duties of the guardian or conservator (including, but not limited to, the cost of any surety bond furnished, reasonable attorney’s fees, and such compensation for services rendered by the guardian or conservator of the person as the court determines is just and reasonable).

(2) Such compensation for services rendered by the guardian or conservator as the court determines is just and reasonable.

(3) All reasonable disbursements made before appointment as guardian or conservator.

(4) In the case of termination other than by the death of the ward or conservatee, all reasonable disbursements made after the termination of the guardianship or conservatorship but prior to the discharge of the guardian or conservator by the court.

(5) In the case of termination by the death of the ward or conservatee, all reasonable expenses incurred prior to the discharge of the guardian or conservator by the court for the custody and conservation of the estate and its delivery to the personal representative of the estate of the deceased ward or conservatee or in making other disposition of the estate as provided for by law.

(b) The guardian or conservator shall not be compensated from the estate for any costs or fees that the guardian or conservator incurred in unsuccessfully opposing a petition, or other request or action, made by or on behalf of the ward or conservatee, unless the court determines that the opposition was made in good faith, based on the best interests of the ward or conservatee.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 493, Sec. 26. Effective January 1, 2007.)

2625.
  

Any sale or purchase of property or other transaction not previously authorized, approved, or confirmed by the court is subject to review by the court upon the next succeeding account of the guardian or conservator occurring after the transaction. Upon such account and review, the court may hold the guardian or conservator liable for any violation of duties in connection with the sale, purchase, or other transaction. Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the validity of any sale or purchase or other transaction.

(Enacted by Stats. 1990, Ch. 79.)

2626.
  

If it appears upon the settlement of any account that the estate has been entirely exhausted through expenditures or disbursements which are approved by the court, the court, upon settlement of the account, shall order the proceeding terminated and the guardian or conservator forthwith discharged unless the court determines that there is reason to continue the proceeding.

(Enacted by Stats. 1990, Ch. 79.)

2627.
  

(a) After a ward has reached majority, the ward may settle accounts with the guardian and give the guardian a release which is valid if obtained fairly and without undue influence.

(b) Except as otherwise provided by this code, a guardian is not entitled to a discharge until one year after the ward has attained majority.

(Enacted by Stats. 1990, Ch. 79.)

2628.
  

(a) The court may make an order that the guardian or conservator need not present the accounts otherwise required by this chapter so long as all of the following conditions are satisfied:

(1) The estate at the beginning and end of the accounting period for which an account is otherwise required consisted of property, exclusive of the residence of the ward or conservatee, of a total net value of less than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).

(2) The income of the estate for each month of the accounting period, exclusive of public benefit payments, was less than two thousand dollars ($2,000).

(3) All income of the estate during the accounting period, if not retained, was spent for the benefit of the ward or conservatee.

(b) Notwithstanding that the court has made an order under subdivision (a), the ward or conservatee or any interested person may petition the court for an order requiring the guardian or conservator to present an account as otherwise required by this chapter or the court on its own motion may make that an order. An order under this subdivision may be made ex parte or on such notice of hearing as the court in its discretion requires.

(c) For any accounting period during which all of the conditions of subdivision (a) are not satisfied, the guardian or conservator shall present the account as otherwise required by this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 553, Sec. 23. Effective January 1, 2008.)

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