BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1293
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          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING
          AB 1293 (Bloom)
          As Amended April 23, 2013
          Majority vote 

           JUDICIARY           6-3                                         
           
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          |Ayes:|Wieckowski, Chau,         |     |                          |
          |     |Dickinson, Garcia,        |     |                          |
          |     |Muratsuchi, Stone         |     |                          |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
          |Nays:|Wagner, Gorell,           |     |                          |
          |     |Maienschein               |     |                          |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
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           SUMMARY  :  Seeks to increase resources for the courts by creating  
          a new probate fee.  Specifically,  this bill  adds a new $40 fee  
          for filing a request for special notice in a decedent's estate,  
          guardianship, conservatorship or trust proceeding.  Provides  
          that the $40 fee is in addition to any other fee charged for a  
          paper filed concurrently with the request for special notice.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Allows for the filing, without an additional fee, of a request  
            for special notice in a proceeding concerning a decedent's  
            estate.  Allows the requester, whether a devisee, heir,  
            creditor or trust beneficiary, in person or by attorney, to  
            request special notice of, among other things, petitions,  
            inventories, appraisals, accounts, and status reports.  

          2)Allows for the filing, without an additional fee, of a request  
            for special notice in a proceeding concerning a  
            conservatorship or guardianship.  Allows the requester,  
            whether the ward, if over 14, the conservatee, the spouse of  
            the ward or conservatee, any relative or creditor of the ward  
            or conservatee or any other interested person, in person or by  
            attorney, to request special notice of, among other things,  
            petitions, inventories, appraisals, accounts, and final  
            termination proceedings.  

          3)Allows for the filing, without an additional fee, of a request  








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            for special notice in a proceeding concerning a trust.  Allows  
            a trust beneficiary or a creditor, in person or by attorney,  
            to request special notice of petitions regarding the trust.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  None  

           COMMENTS  :  This bill, sponsored by the Judicial Council, seeks  
          to increase revenue for the courts by creating a new probate  
          fee.

          Historically, trial courts in California were county entities,  
          funded by the counties, but in 1997, after significant problems  
          came to light with the county-based court funding model, the  
          Legislature passed the Lockyer-Isenberg Trial Court Funding Act,  
          AB 233 (Escutia and Pringle), Chapter 850, Statutes of 1997.   
          Under that bill, the state assumed responsibility for funding  
          the courts and helping ensure equal access to a quality judicial  
          system statewide.  After the state took over funding, the courts  
          received significant funding increases and historically  
          underfunded courts saw greater increases.  Unfortunately, the  
          recession forced significant reductions in state General Fund  
          support for the courts, but "one-time" fixes, backfills and new  
          revenues has, to date, substantially spared the court system the  
          brunt of the General Fund reductions.

          Even though trial courts have, to date, largely been spared the  
          bulk of the General Fund reductions, trial courts have taken  
          dramatic steps to address the budget cuts, including:  1)  
          closing courthouses and courtrooms, some on selected days and  
          others completely; 2) laying off or furloughing employees; and  
          3) reducing services, including substantial cuts to self-help  
          and family law facilitator assistance, and providing fewer court  
          reporters and court interpreters.  While the Governor's 2013-14  
          budget does not propose any additional cuts to the trial courts  
          and includes restoration of a $418 million one-time General Fund  
          reduction made this past year, some of the one-time fixes are  
          set to expire.  As a result, it is anticipated that courts will  
          be looking for additional ways to reduce expenditures, unless  
          there is an infusion of additional funds.  

          This bill is part of the Judicial Council's response to the  
          judiciary's budget cuts.  As recently amended, this bill creates  
          a new $40 fee for requests of special notice filed in probate  
          proceedings, including proceedings involving decedents' estates,  








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          conservatorships, guardianships and trusts.  These are requests  
          made by interested individuals to get copies of records of  
          various petitions and other documents, including inventories,  
          appraisals and accountings filed with the court.  This allows  
          interested third parties to follow developments in a particular  
          probate matter.  While the parties, and not the courts, are  
          responsible for actually providing the requested documents to  
          the relevant individuals, the Judicial Council believes that  
          this new fee will help cover the courts' costs incurred in  
          ensuring that proper notice and other information has been given  
          to all individuals requesting special notice and that, if such  
          information has not been given, postponing any relevant hearing.  
           The Judicial Council estimates that this new fee will result in  
          nearly $200,000 in new revenue for the courts.

           
          Analysis Prepared by  :  Leora Gershenzon / JUD. / (916) 319-2334 


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