Trust Administration & Probate

After the death of a family member, loved one, or business partner, even the most business savvy and otherwise resourceful individuals can find themselves unable to cope with the seemingly endless demands placed upon them as a consequence of their loss.  Regardless of whether the survivors find themselves coping with an elaborate estate plan, or dealing with the intricacies of the law of intestacy, the need for sound legal advice is almost assured.

Nancy Henderson, Kristen CaverlyKatharine Davidson, Robert Mardian III, Eric Baggett and Lisa Roper and other staff have handled scores of probate matters and trust administrations. Many of these cases have involved some of the wealthiest (and most litigious) families in Southern California, while others have involved more modest estates.  But in each case, our experience and skill set have served our clients very well.

We represent individual trustees and executors, institutional trustees, beneficiaries of trusts and heirs involved in disputes relating to decedent’s estates.   In the context of  the administration of trust estates, the scope of our experience includes the administration of revocable trusts after the death of a settlor, the administration of irrevocable intervivos trusts (trusts created during life), and advising both trustees and beneficiaries on their rights and obligations, including in the case of trustees, their fiduciary obligations.  Our attorneys also represent trustees and beneficiaries of charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, generation-skipping (“dynasty”) trusts, and educational trusts.

Our experience in probate matters and in Probate Court is likewise exceptional.  We routinely represent personal representatives who have been appointed by the Probate Court to manage the probate process.  Just as frequently, we have represented parties in innumerable controversies litigated in Probate Court, including preparing and addressing creditors’ claims, pursuing or defending will contests and/or trust contests, litigating issues relating to fiduciary duties, and advising beneficiaries and trustees on the rights and obligations they have under the relevant trust instrument or probate law.

In some cases, the result that is most beneficial to a client is not the most obvious given the complex tax consequences that certain dispositions of assets can cause and given the dynamics of ongoing familial and business relationships.  Our attorneys have the sophistication, education and experience to guide our clients through these difficult and often emotionally-charged proceedings, whether that be through attorney-negotiated settlement, mediation or contentious litigation.