Tuesday, 18 June 2024

News

There are three words no trustee wants to hear: Breach of trust.


A breach of trust is a violation by a trustee of a duty that the trustee owes to a beneficiary. A breach occurs when the trustee acts in bad faith, such as committing an intentional wrongdoing; when the trustee acts negligently, as in not behaving according to the appropriate standard of care; or when the trustee knowingly breaches a duty even though done in good faith – for instance, deliberately disregarding the standard of care, although he/she has good intentions.


Now let’s examine the trustee’s duties.


Read the trust document most carefully because a trustee’s primary duty is to administer the trust strictly according to its terms, unless the terms are inconsistent with an overriding provision of law; and the trust document usually includes general and specific powers and duties. The trust may even alter the statutory duties provided under the Probate Code.


Even a reasonable misunderstanding of the trust that leads the trustee to act outside the scope of the powers granted is a breach of trust. A trustee, therefore, must diligently review and understand the trust document and seek appropriate court guidance if the terms of the trust are unclear.


Next, California Probate Code is another primary source of powers and duties. The Probate Code governs when the trust document is silent; that is, it provides the default rules. The Probate Code also supersedes the trust document on certain specific duties and powers, and controls even if the trust document provides a rule that is on point.


The most important “fiduciary duties” that a trustee owes to the beneficiaries are the duty of loyalty, the duty of care, the duty of impartiality and the duty not to delegate. Let’s examine them.


The duty of loyalty requires the trustee to consider and act in the best interests of the beneficiaries.


A breach of trust occurs when the trustee places his interest above those of the beneficiaries. This can occur when the trustee takes advantage of business or investment opportunities that belong to the trust; or deals with the trust on a personal level for the trustee’s own personal benefit, such as borrowing from the trust; or competes on a personal level against the trust’s business interests.


The duty of care requires the trustee to perform his/her duties in good faith and with reasonable prudence, discretion and intelligence; whether or not the trustee is compensated. Practically speaking, this means, for example, that the trustee must oversee and manage the trust assets and hire the necessary expertise to do so. This requirement can be altered by the terms of the trust itself.


The duty of impartiality requires the trustee to treat the beneficiaries fairly by respecting their rights as beneficiaries under the trust. The trustee cannot give one beneficiary better treatment than another beneficiary due to personal favoritism.


The duty not to delegate requires the trustee to be actively involved in the administration of the trust. A trustee should not delegate acts that a prudent person would consider so important and so much within his capacity as trustee that he/she must perform them personally.


In sum, trustees owe numerous fiduciary duties to the trust beneficiaries based on the trust itself and the California Probate Code. Failure by the trustee to perform any one of those duties will result in breach of trust.


Dennis A. Fordham, attorney (LL.M. tax studies), is a State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law. His office is at 55 1st St., Lakeport, California. Dennis can be reached by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 707-263-3235.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

HIGHLAND SPRINGS – A special gathering this Sunday, May 23, will discuss the fascinating history of the Highland Springs area.


Meet at 2 p.m. in the picnic area in Highland Springs Park.


The father of Dr. Neal Woods, now 96, purchased the Highland Springs property in 1943 and renovated the remains of the Highland Springs Hotel for their family home.


The hotel and resort once was known as “The Great Sanitarium of the West.”


Woods has a wonderful scrapbook of old photos from days gone by, collected over the years. He also has many memories of the locations of the hotel, the pool, the riding stables, the medicinal springs and much more Highland Springs information.


Please come and enjoy and bring your questions.


Dr. Woods is looking forward to this gathering to pass along this information for all to enjoy and make sure that the memories of Highland Springs Resort will not be forgotten.


Poor health or rain will cancel.


Please RSVP and remain in contact Saturday evening and again Sunday morning.


For more information contact Kim Riley at 707-279-0343 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LOWER LAKE – A Thursday afternoon crash involving three vehicles resulted in the death of a Clearlake Oaks man.


The 66-year-old crash victim, whose identity was not released late Thursday, was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision, which occurred at 2:25 p.m. near Lower Lake, according to California Highway Patrol Sgt. Scott Moorhouse, the scene incident commander.


Moorhouse said the crash victim was driving a 2003 Ford Taurus northbound on Highway 29 just south of B Street, south of Lower Lake.


He was being followed by 52-year-old Patrick Bauman in a Jeep Cherokee. Driving southbound in an F-450 AT&T utility truck with a cherry picker boom was 50-year-old Larry Wolfe. All three driver were traveling at around 55 miles per hour, Moorhouse said.


For an unknown reason, Moorhouse said the Taurus driver allowed his vehicle to cross over the solid double yellow lines into the southbound lane, which was directly in front of the AT&T truck.


“It happened so fast the driver of the AT&T truck had no time to react really,” with the Taurus and the utility truck hitting head on, Moorhouse said.


Bauman, who Moorhouse said witnessed the crash, swerved to the right to avoid colliding with the other two vehicles, lost control and hit a tree. He did not sustain any injuries, and Wolfe had minor injuries.


Moorhouse said the agencies that responded to the scene along with CHP included Lake County Fire Protection District, Kelseyville Fire Protection District, the Lake County Sheriff's Office and Caltrans.


He said the highway was blocked for one hour and 10 minutes, with one-way traffic control established for an hour after that.


Officer Efrain Cortez is the lead investigator on the collision, Moorhouse said.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

WILLITS – This week a Willits woman pleaded guilty to embezzling $24,000 from an area food bank.


Susan Gravier, 54, entered the guilty plea to felony embezzlement on Tuesday before Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Cindee Mayfield, according to a report from the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office.


Gravier allegedly embezzled the funds while employed as the director of the Willits Food Bank, the district attorney's office report.


She allegedly started stealing from the Willits Food Bank in January 2008, and continued until she was caught in April 2009 by other members in the organization, according to the prosecution, led by Matt Hubley.


As director of the Willits Food Bank, Gravier had access to credit and debit cards issued to the organization and would routinely gamble with the food bank’s money at local casinos, officials reported.


The district attorney's office said she faces a maximum of three years in prison and will have to reimburse the Willits Food Bank for all of the money she embezzled.


Officials reported that Gravier, defended by attorney Elizabeth Fowlds, is set to be sentenced on June 30.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LOWER LAKE – A device believed to be a pipe bomb caused traffic along some roadways near Lower Lake to be closed for several hours Tuesday while a bomb squad was called in to investigate.


The object was found on Siegler Canyon Road, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Tanguay.


At around 3:30 p.m. the CHP was en route to investigate, Tanguay said.


By that time, the road already had been closed down, he added.


Drivers along Siegler Canyon Road had to go back to Butts Canyon Road, while those traveling along Highway 29 reported that the CHP was turning back westbound traffic on the Glasgow Grade near Lower Lake.


CHP Sgt. Scott Moorhouse said a bomb squad came from Napa County to investigate the device.


They concluded that the object was not a pipe bomb but a GPS device, Moorhouse said.


He said the affected roadways were reopened later in the evening.


This past January, a facsimile device found along Highway 20 east of Highway 16 by Caltrans workers required a bomb squad be called out, as Lake County News has reported. That item also was not a bomb.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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A view of Lake County from the top of Mt. Konocti taken by photographer Ron Keas of Lucerne, Calif., on Thursday, May 13, 2010.






LAKE COUNTY – Thursday marks a special day for Lake County – the 149th anniversary of its founding.


On May 20, 1861, California's seventh governor, John Downey, approved the act organizing Lake County, which was formed from land taken from Mendocino, Napa and Colusa counties, according to the 1881 edition of the “History of Napa and Lake Counties.”


With Clear Lake – believed to be 2.5 million years old, which may make it North America's oldest lake – and Mt. Konocti at its center, Lake County has a land area of 1,327 square miles, according to county officials. It currently is estimated to have about 65,000 residents, according to the US Census Bureau.


On the first Monday in June 1861, the county held its first election to organize its county government, with Lakeport chosen as the county seat, the history explained.


A two-story, clapboard wooden courthouse was built in downtown Lakeport, which local historian Donna Howard said burned down – likely because of arson – in 1867 and was replaced with the building today known as the Courthouse Museum.


To put Lake County's founding in historical perspective, the county came into being in the same year as the Civil War broke out. Earlier in the year, the Confederate States began to form and Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as the 16th president of the United States.


Also on May 20, 1861, North Carolina became the last state to secede from the United States, according to the online North Carolina Museum of History.


Lake County once had been known as the Hot Springs Township of Napa County. Howard thinks a new county may have been formed due to expediency and convenience.


If anyone had to conduct legal business, they had to go all the way to Napa which, in the 1800s, “was a long trip,” Howard pointed out.


Lake County's sesquicentennial will take place next year.


Lake County Deputy Administrative Officer Debra Sommerfield, who heads the county's marketing department, said the county is looking at organizing events to mark the 150th anniversary next year.


Budgets currently are tight, but Sommerfield noted, “We definitely would like to do something in celebration.”


More details about Lake County's history can be found at www.lakecounty.com.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

CLEARLAKE – An Oroville man died Saturday when the boat he and two others were riding in sank.


The body of Steven Wade Smith, 45, was located Saturday afternoon after a search that lasted beginning early in the morning, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.


Early Saturday at about 4:30 a.m., sheriff’s deputies responded to the area of Redbud Park in the city of Clearlake to assist Clearlake Police with a reported sunken boat and recovery of its occupants, Bauman said.


He said that other agencies responding to the incident included the Lake County Fire Protection District, a dive team from the Northshore Fire Protection District, the Sheriff’s Marine Patrol and Lake County Search and Rescue.


Dive team resources from the Napa, Mendocino, and Sonoma County Sheriff’s Departments also were requested for what would later turn out to be the recovery of a drowning victim, he said.


When sheriff’s deputies arrived at Redbud Park, Clearlake Police officers were already on scene after responding to reports of shouting coming from somewhere on the water. Bauman said that two of the three occupants of what was described as an older 15-foot bass boat that had reportedly sunk had been rescued from the water by another fisherman involved in a catfish derby and taken to shore.


He said the two people pulled from the water were identified as 40-year-old Jennifer Christensen and 44-year-old Jeffrey Cruz, both of Oroville. Their rescuer was identified only as Johnny Stevenson.


While medics attended to Christensen and Cruz onshore, Bauman said a Clearlake officer boarded Stevenson’s boat and went back out to look for the third occupant, later identified as Smith.


Bauman said Stevenson and the Clearlake officer searched the area for more than a half hour but were unable to locate Smith but they did locate the sunken vessel submerged about 5 feet below the surface of the lake. The boat ultimately was recovered and towed in by a Northshore Fire Dive Team boat out of the Clearlake Oaks station.


As additional resources arrived at the scene throughout the morning, search and dive teams were deployed on the lake to look for Smith, Bauman said. By early afternoon, Smith had been located by a Napa County dive team by use of sonar equipment. He was submerged in about 20 feet of water, nearly a mile offshore. Smith’s body was ultimately recovered and brought to shore at 2:20 p.m. by the Napa County dive team.


According to the surviving occupants of the boat, Christensen, Cruz and Smith had launched Smith’s boat from Redbud Park the previous evening and they had been on the lake fishing the entire night for the catfish derby. Bauman said that t about 10 p.m. they docked at Clearlake Oaks to weigh their fish and noticed water had accumulated in the bilge area of the boat.


They pumped the water out and proceeded back out to continue fishing. Bauman said all three went to sleep while out on the lake and at some point, Christensen woke up and discovered more water in the boat.


Smith began motoring in slowly towards shore but as he did, the boat took more and more water on. When it was clear that the boat was sinking, all three occupants abandoned the vessel, Bauman said.


Smith was reportedly having trouble staying afloat and despite Cruz’s repeated efforts to help keep Smith on the surface, Smith kept pulling Cruz down with him and Cruz eventually had to let him go to preserve his own life. Bauman said Christensen and Cruz were in the water for 15 to 30 minutes before Stevenson rescued them.


Stevenson told deputies he was also out fishing for the catfish derby with a friend and relative. They also were sleeping on board their boat while anchored off of Redbud Park when, at about 4:30 a.m., they awoke to people yelling for help somewhere out on the water, according to Bauman's report.


Bauman said that Stevenson immediately proceeded toward the yelling and was able to locate and rescue both Christiansen and Cruz from the water. They continued searching for Smith but could not find him so he returned to shore with the two survivors.


Christensen and Cruz were both transported to St. Helena Hospital Clearlake where they were treated and released, Bauman said.


The cause of the sunken fishing boat is pending further investigation, according to Bauman, and the manner and exact cause of Smith’s death is pending autopsy results.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKE COUNTY – If you have been lamenting, “I thought it was spring?” – be prepared to continue wondering as unseasonable wet, windy, cold and rainy weather returns Friday and lingers through the weekend.


Mostly cloudy skies with scattered showers and a daytime high near 56 degrees is forecast for much of Lake County Friday, with wind gusts as high as 20 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service in Sacramento.


The average high for Lakeport at this time of year is 78 degrees, which the county is forecast to fall far short of Friday and throughout all of next week.


The National Weather Service predicts the overnight lows to be at or near the record of 35 degrees, set in 1941, which means that area farmers and gardeners will need to continue monitoring for frost and freeze protection throughout the weekend.


A 20-percent chance of isolated showers continue through Saturday with partly cloudy skies, according to the National Weather Service, with daytime highs in the mid-50s and lows in the mid-30s.


However, Western Weather Group is warning that some areas of Lake County could drop in to the upper 20s on Saturday night – which could mean that some areas of the county may see snowfall overnight.


Skies are forecast to clear somewhat on Sunday, and continue clearing on Monday, with chances of rain returning on Tuesday through next week still accompanied by unseasonably cool temperatures, according to the National Weather Service.


Temperatures will remain near 60 degrees during the day with overnight lows in the 40s through Thursday, forecast models by the National Weather Service predict.


For up-to-the-minute weather information, please visit the Lake County News home page.


E-mail Terre Logsdon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKE COUNTY – The Lake County/City Area Planning Council (Lake APC) will host two community workshops on Saturday, June 5, to review the proposed Lake County 2030 Regional Blueprint Plan.


The workshops are the culmination of almost two years of community visioning and scenario modeling to look at how the county should grow and develop in the next 20 years.


The goal for the Lake County 2030 Regional Blueprint Plan is to guide local government planning and policies over the next 20 years, particularly for land use and transportation.


The final plan will serve as guidance to local governments as the county grows to an estimated 101,000.


According to Lisa Davey-Bates, executive director of the Lake APC, “The Preferred Growth Scenario incorporates the values and vision of Lake County’s residents as they were expressed in previous workshops. Now is the time to see if we got it right.”


The workshops are identical and both scheduled on the same day: Lakeport, June 5, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Fritch Hall, Lake County Fairgrounds, 401 Martin St.; Lower Lake, June 5, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Lower Lake Historic School House Museum, 16435 Main St.


Registration and refreshments start 30 minutes before each workshop start time.


To entice Lake County residents to attend, there will be door prizes, including 10 pairs of Chicken-Q tickets donated by People Services at the Lakeport workshop and restaurant gift certificates at the Lower Lake workshop.


Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about and comment on the proposed “Preferred Growth Scenario,” a vision of Lake County in 2030 that focuses most growth within existing communities.


Also included are some new development areas that incorporate smart growth features such as community centers, bike paths and a range of housing choices.


Lake APC invites all Lake County residents to one of these workshops. There is no RSVP needed.


For more information or to make a special request for accommodation if you have a physical, transportation or language need, please call Terri Persons at Lake County/City Area Planning Council, 707-263-7799, 711 (TTY), or e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


More information about the Lake 2030 Blueprint process is available on the Lake APC Web site, www.lakeapc.org.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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A local census taker will work with you to complete the 2010 Census questionnaire for your household. It's easy and should take about 10 minutes. Photo courtesy of the US Census Bureau.
 

 

 


LAKE COUNTY – As census workers fan out into Northern California collecting 2010 Census information from households that did not mail back their form, the U.S. Census Bureau wants to remind people about how to avoid fraud and scams.


Starting May 1, the Census Bureau launched its door-knocking operation, where census takers personally visit households that didn't mail back a completed 2010 Census questionnaire.


The personnel-intensive operation – referred to as non-response follow-up (NRFU) – is part of the bureaus' wide-scale effort to count every person living in the United States.


Nationally, an estimated 48 million addresses will be visited through July 10. An estimated 1.8 million addresses will be visited in Northern California. The Census Bureau’s Northern California region stretches from Santa Cruz County, to the south, and the Oregon border, to the north.

 

About 635,000 census takers have been deployed around the nation for this operation, with more than 19,000 in Northern California.


All enumerators were hired locally, typically working in the neighborhoods where they live. As US Census employees, enumerators take an oath to not reveal any identifiable information with anyone. Violating the oath could result in a penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.


Opportunists and scammers may want to take advantage of this once-a-decade national effort.


If a 2010 Census worker knocks on your door, here are some ways to verify that person is a legitimate census taker:


  • Census takers wear an ID badge that contains a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark.

  • Census takers may carry a black and white canvas bag with a Census Bureau logo.

  • Census takers will NEVER ask to come into your home.

  • Census takers will present residents a notice titled “Your Answers Are Confidential,” which explains the U.S. Code, Title 13, guaranteeing the safeguarding and confidentiality of information collected by the Census Bureau.

  • Census workers will ask the same questions that appear on the 2010 Census form. It should take less than 10 minutes if people cooperate with census takers.

  • Census workers will NEVER ask for money or donations, Social Security number, credit card information, bank account numbers, immigration or citizenship status.

  • The Census Bureau NEVER requests for information via e-mail.

  • The Census Bureau does not conduct surveys or censuses on behalf of political parties or organizations.


In most cases, census workers will make initial visits during afternoons, early evenings and weekends.


Census workers will make up to six attempts at each housing unit address to count possible residents. This includes leaving notifications of the attempted visit at the house or apartment door, in addition to trying to reach the household by phone to conduct the interview or schedule an in-person interview.


The Census Bureau is urging cooperation and patience with the census takers, as this is the best way to ensure that everyone is counted properly.


If asked, the census taker will provide the supervisor’s contact information and/or the Local Census Office phone number for verification. If residents feel threatened, they should call local law enforcement or 911.


Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the census takes place every 10 years. Census data determine boundaries for state and local legislative and congressional districts.


More than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed annually based on census data to pay for local programs and services, such as schools, highways, vocational training, emergency services, hospitals and much more.


Learn more about the 2010 Census at www.2010census.gov.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

Upcoming Calendar

19Jun
06.19.2024
Juneteenth
19Jun
06.19.2024 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Free veterans dinner
22Jun
06.22.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
22Jun
06.22.2024 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Love of the Land Dinner
25Jun
06.25.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
29Jun
06.29.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
2Jul
07.02.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
4Jul
07.04.2024
Independence Day

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