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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 118809
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I am a conservator. the estate is out of money. I am doing

Customer Question

i am a conservator. the estate is out of money. I am doing my final accoutning. the ward has died. he was my dad. the legal fee's are massive. there was alot of litigation. the judge
approved all of the legal fees today. and there is an order to pay the legal fees from the estate. but the estate has no funds. so how can I follow an order to pay claims and legal fees from an estate that has zero funds and zero assets ?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.
If the estate has zero assets, the estate is "judgment proof" and the lawyer's are going to be unable collect their fees (their court orders are going to be "worth the paper they are written on").You are not liable for them personally as the conservator, so you do not need to worry about the debt personally.This may be subject to another round of motions, but the attorneys probably are already aware that they are fighting over an empty pie plate and there isn't anything left.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

hi William.

so maybe that is why the judge approved 1.2 million in legal fee's and did not bother to it seems even review them at all ! he approved all in full. so can you send me some back up on your answer to legally support it. with a statute please. I have been given many incorrect answers on this site and there a a few good lawyers who always give me a legal case law or statute to support their answer. so their court orders are meaningless and can they call or bother me ? I think I will disconnect my phone. I am almost done with my final accoutning. which has all the medical receipts showing where my fathers assets went ! to him for his food and care !

Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.
What are you looking for in support specifically (I cannot do the research to support everything you would need to support completing the accounting for your conservatorship - that is outside the scope of this "Q&A", but if you need something specific, I would be happy to look up an item or two)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

support for your 2 answers: which were essentially

1. an estate that is out of money, is judgement proof even if there

are orders to play a claim.

2. the conservator of an estate, is not personally liable for non-payment of legal fee's petitioned against the estate, that does not have any assets to pay the legal fee's.

Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.

The term "judgment proof" is not a legal term - it simply is another term for "no assets" - if there is nothing in the estate - there is nothing for its creditors to collect against (there isn't legal authority to say that someone (or something) with no money has no money). As to liability for debts of the conservatorship - you are not liable, but to find authority, you have to look very hard (these cases do not arise, I looked for cases on point, but could not find any), so here is the probate code as it applies: 11429. (a) Where the accounts of the personal representative have been settled and an order made for the payment of debts and distribution of the estate, a creditor who is not paid, whether or not included in the order for payment, has no right to require contribution from creditors who are paid or from distributees, except to the extent provided in Section 9392. (b) Nothing in this section precludes recovery against the personal representative personally or on the bond, if any, by a creditor who is not paid, subject to Section 9053. Probate Code9053 provides liability against the executor only when the executor fails to give notice in bad faith. You are not liable for the debts of the conservatorship, barring intentional misconduct (some sort of fraud - which these attorneys would have to go to extremes to prove), it is a non-issue. Your intuition - the judge's approval of the Million plus in attorney's fees without much reduction - is probably spot on, if the court thought there was any chance of there being an actual payout, the judge would have gone through and made reductions in the fees - no attorney's fees clause goes through the court unscathed.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.


I am not a personal rerpresentive. this is not a probate case. it is

a guardianship/conservtorship estate. the codes you sent do not apply

this is what happened last time you answered a question, you ignored the facts a sent, and sent me info for probate. and it simply does not pertain. the conservatorship is still open until I am discharged.

unless you want to send me info that probate codes for a probate matter and a personal rerpresentative are the same as for a conservator and trustee in the state of CA ? which I doubt. it is not the same proceedings to my knowledge.

Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.
Dear Customer,I am going to "opt out" and allow another expert to follow up with you.Please do not post any further at this time as it will delay the next expert's ability to follow up.If you need any assistance in the meantime, please contact our customer service at: you for using our forum, and I do wish you the best of luck.Bill
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I am a different contributor and I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

I understand that this was a conservatorship and you were conservator and the ward died. Once the ward died, this becomes a probate matter actually, because now the estate of the ward would be liable for the debts of the ward. If the estate is insolvent, then that is the end of it, you could throw more money into this and pay to place the estate into insolvency or you simply submit your final accounting to the court in your conservatorship and anyone who is due money can sue the estate which has nothing and thus is insolvent and they would get nothing still from their suit.

Pursuant to CA probate Code 1860, (a) A conservatorship continues until terminated by the death of the conservatee or by order of the court.

Thus, upon your dad's death the conservatorship was terminated by operation of the law, it does not require a court order in that instance. Once he died, now a probate estate situation occurs. Again, if the estate is insolvent then there is nothing you can pay creditors from.

Pursuant to CA probate code 2110, Unless otherwise provided in the instrument or in this division, a guardian or conservator is not personally liable on an instrument, including but not limited to a note, mortgage, deed of trust, or other contract, properly entered into in the guardian's or conservator's fiduciary capacity in the course of the guardianship or conservatorship unless the guardian or conservator fails to reveal the guardian's or conservator's representative capacity or identify the guardianship or conservatorship estate in the instrument.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

um, there is no probate being commenced. it is not automatically or de facto a probate. there was a pour over will into a trust. so that info you sent is incorrect. other lawyers on this site incorrecty insist there is a probate and this is just mis-information and confusing to all who can read the legal responses and I wish you all would stop saying the same thing to me over and over :)

the court orders, state the Conservator of estate is to pay the legal fee's from the Conservatorship estate. so yes it is open. you cannot have conservatorshop estate open and a probate estate at the same time fyi. this is not my quesiton also. so yoru staement " once he died. a probate situation occurs" is just off topic. and not relevant to my question as this is not what is occuring. thanks

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.

I am afraid that I had no way of knowing about any pour over will or trust. Of course, since there is nothing in the estate to "pour over" into the trust, his probate estate is still insolvent. Also, your answer is based on information you provided, we do not know the details you do not tell us about and you did not mention the trust or pour over.

The court order CANNOT be enforced, because if it says you as conservator are to pay attorney's fees from the estate and there is nothing in the estate to pay with, then it is an unenforceable order. You would have to then file for bankruptcy on behalf of the conservator's estate.

However, my comment about the conservatorship ending at death is not off topic if the ward is dead. Your conservatorship is over, except that you have to wind up the conservatorship estate, which has to be done through bankruptcy and/or probate. You cannot pay bills of the conservatorship when due, that is the very definition of insolvency for bankruptcy, so you can place the conservatorship estate into bankruptcy and extinguish the debts.