Trusts and Estates: Planning, Administration and Litigation.

With over a dozen attorneys practicing throughout the Firm’s Northern and Southern California offices, Weintraub Tobin’s Trusts and Estates practice group has a regional presence. More importantly, we are exceptionally experienced. Many of our group members have concentrated their practices on Trusts and Estates for more than 20 years. With all of this expertise, we know how to focus on clients’ personal concerns as well as their estate planning, tax, and litigation goals. Our top priority is to provide our clients with the customized service they need and want. Our estate planners combine careful analysis and advice on the latest developments in federal and state tax policies in order to meet client objectives and maximize financial benefits in estate and personal tax planning. Our Trusts and Estates litigators combine litigation experience and expertise with a thorough knowledge of probate law to help clients resolve a wide range of trust and probate disputes.

Our group provides comprehensive legal services in the following areas:

Estate Planning

Our estate planners advise individuals and families in connection with minimizing estate tax, gift tax, and generation-skipping transfer (“GST”) tax burdens associated with the transfer of wealth between generations. We have extensive experience with designing and implementing sophisticated estate, valuation, and philanthropic planning techniques, including such planning vehicles as family limited partnerships and limited liability companies, grantor trusts, life insurance trusts, charitable lead and charitable remainder trusts, and other charitable planning devices. As a result of recent tax law changes, our planning strategies include full consideration of income tax basis and value appreciation in our clients’ various assets, and the potential for portability of our clients’ unused estate and gift tax exemptions. We also have extensive expertise in planning with our clients’ retirement plans and with Special Needs Trusts and Medi-Cal planning.

Probate and Trust Administration

Our attorneys represent beneficiaries as well as corporate and individual trustees, executors, and other fiduciaries in all aspects of trust administration, ranging from initial funding of trusts to representing clients in Probate Court when disputes arise between fiduciaries, beneficiaries and creditors. We counsel beneficiaries, fiduciaries, and creditors through all phases of contested and uncontested probate and trust administration proceedings in Northern and Southern California Probate Courts, including prosecution of will and trust contests, and preparation and arguing of petitions for instructions, petitions for construction of trusts, and petitions for termination of trusts. We have extensive expertise in sales of real property by fiduciaries and in advising fiduciaries who hold and administer real property assets: residential; commercial; and, farms and ranches. Our group also monitors probate and trust administrations for charitable organization beneficiaries that do not have the staffing levels or experience to suitably determine for themselves whether the administration is being conducted properly and whether the charity is receiving all to which it is entitled.

Taxation

We advise clients on tax planning and tax controversies, including representation in audits and tax court proceedings. We advise clients on all aspects of federal, state and local taxation issues, including estate, gift, GST, income, and property taxation.

Business Succession Planning

Our attorneys assist clients with retirement planning, business succession planning, asset protection, and entity formation issues. We concentrate on succession planning and tax deferral and reduction through various techniques, including the formation and funding of family entities.

Trust, Probate, Conservatorship and Elder Abuse Litigation

When disputes arise involving an estate plan, or the administration of a probate estate or a trust, many law firms rely on general litigators to represent clients in Trusts and Estates litigation matters. Weintraub Tobin, however, has a team of dedicated Trusts and Estates litigators with specialized expertise with the Probate Code and Probate Court procedures. Our Trusts and Estates litigators assist clients with a full range of trust and probate controversies, including elder financial abuse claims, contested conservatorships, will and trust contests, interpretation disputes concerning complex estate planning documents, contested accountings and other administration issues, community property disputes, and breach of fiduciary duty claims. Within this category of services we represent a broad spectrum of clients, including individual and corporate fiduciaries, beneficiaries, creditors, conservators, and guardians.

Alternate Dispute Resolution

In addition to representing clients in contested matters, our Trusts and Estates litigators have extensive experience with Alternative Dispute Resolution services, including mediation and arbitration. This experience includes serving as mediators and arbitrators as well as representing clients in trust and estate disputes, breach of fiduciary duty claims, contested conservatorships and elder financial abuse matters.