Powell v. TagamiAnnotate this Case
Kenneth M. (Matazo) and Kazu Tagami were grantors of the Trust. Matazo and Kazu had three children: Kenneth K., Barbara, and Charles. A family dispute arose when the settlors suspected the prior trustee, who was Barbara's son, of embezzling funds from the Trust. Matazo and Kazu removed the prior trustee and appointed professional fiduciary Claudia Powell as trustee. Attorney Nancy Ewin drafted the restatement of the Trust; Powell hired attorney Kent Thompson to represent her in her fiduciary capacity as trustee of the Trust. A physician certified in March 2012 that Kazu was unable to make her own financial and medical decisions due to medical issues. Matazo died in August 2012. Kazu died almost three years later, in June 2015. Charles challenged two probate orders: (1) settling, allowing and approving the third and final predeath account and report of trustee (Third Account) and finding Charles objected to the Third Account without reasonable cause and in bad faith, which justified an award of costs and fees pursuant to Probate Code section 17211 (a); and (2) an award of attorney fees pursuant to Probate Code 17211 requiring Charles to pay these fees from his share of the Tagami Living Trust or personally if his share was inadequate. The Court of Appeal disagreed with Charles' contentions in both appeals and affirmed the Probate Court's orders.