Trust and Estate Litigation

Both will and trust documents are subject to court litigation when there is disagreement over what assets should be in the estate and/or how the assets should be distributed. An estate where the decedent had no estate plan may also be the subject of a lawsuit over inheritance rights. Our expert litigation team is here to help you through the estate litigation process including Pretrial Discovery, Trial, Appeals and Mediation. We have handled many probate litigation matters including several in the high eight-figure dollar range.

  • Will Contests

  • Trust Contests

  • Inheritance Rights

  • Property Disputes

  • Other Contested Issues Related to Probate And Trust Related Proceedings.

California Palms by Kathleen Keifer *

Estate Administration

California Palms by Kathleen Keifer *

Will Estate Plan

If there is an estate plan in place at the time of death, we represent you through the administrative process. The will must be filed with the court, an administrator appointed and then the matter will wind its way through the court process which can take a year.

Trust Estate Plan

Usually, a trust must be administered in compliance with the terms of the trust. But, a trust does not need to be filed with the court unless, for instance, there are disagreements over the terms of the trust. In those cases, the document must be submitted to the court for supervision.

No Estate Plan

If there is no estate plan in existence at the time of death, the court will appoint an administrator. The decedent’s estate will be administered by the court pursuant to the inheritance laws of the State of California and the assets will be distributed pursuant to the laws of the State of California.

Issues That Must Be Decided by the Court Include But Are Not Limited To:

  • Proof of Will

  • Assets Contained in the Estate

  • Settlement of Decedent’s Debts

  • Beneficiaries

  • Final Distribution


There are two types of conservatorship: the Conservatorship of the Person and the Conservatorship of the Estate. In most situations, the court appoints the same person to serve as a conservator of both the person and estate. The Conservator of the Person looks after the conservatee’s well-being. The parameters of responsibility include medical treatment, clothing, hiring caregivers, placement in appropriate housing situations and other activities that bear on the well-being of the individual. The Conservator of the Estate, on the other hand, is in charge of the conservatee’s assets – including bank accounts, stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, payment of bills, upkeep of conservatee’s residence, etc. Both positions must report to the court so that the court is kept informed on the personal and financial condition of the conservatee. We guide you through all aspects of a conservatorship proceeding – including preparation of paperwork and appearance at court hearings. If disputes arise with other family members, we can represent you in those proceedings.

Types of Conservatorship Proceedings:

  • Conservatorship of the Person
  • Conservatorship of the Estate
  • LPS Conservatorship (Conservatorships brought by the County usually to handle serious mental illness issues)
  • Guardianships
  • Contested Conservatorships and Guardianships
  • Other Related Court Proceedings

California Palms by Kathleen Keifer *

Estate Planning

California Palms by Kathleen Keifer *

An Estate Plan is a document – a will or trust – that explains what you wish to happen with your assets after death. The law does not recognize oral statements. As estate planners, we draft both wills and trusts as well as Powers of Attorney pursuant to your instructions.

  • Drafting of Wills
  • Drafting of Trusts
  • Drafting of Power of Attorney for Finances
  • Drafting of Powers of Attorney for Health

* Artwork part of the Oldman Cooley, Sallus, Birnberg, Colman and Gold, LLP collection.