Carlena L. Tapella

Of Counsel


Practice Areas

Bar Admissions









Carlena Tapella is Of Counsel in the firm’s Trusts and Estates practice group. Her practice encompasses all areas of trust, estate, and conservatorship litigation and administration.

Carlena has successfully represented clients in a wide range of trust and estate litigation, including challenging and defending the validity of wills and trusts, seeking and defending fiduciary removal, and pursuing and defending claims of breach of fiduciary duty and elder financial abuse. She has also successfully represented clients in contested conservatorship matters, including appointment, administration, and accountings.

In addition to her litigation practice, Carlena regularly counsels her clients in properly navigating the unfamiliar waters of administering trusts and estates after the death of a loved one. She also understands the difficulties of assisting a family member who is no longer able to manage finances or to provide for their personal needs and has represented numerous clients in establishing a conservatorship and advising the client in the proper administration of a conservatorship estate.

Carlena believes in working with clients to attempt to resolve disputes through mediation, but is prepared to aggressively pursue a matter to trial should such attempts prove unsuccessful.

Carlena received her J.D. degree, With Distinction, from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where she was admitted as a member of the Traynor Society and the Order of the Coif. She also was awarded the American Jurisprudence Award in Professional Responsibility and Decedents’ Estates and Trusts. Carlena was co-recipient of the Moot Court Award, Outstanding Student Advocate, in Written Competition.

Carlena is a member of the Trusts and Estates Executive Committee of the California Lawyers Association, where she serves as Chair of the Litigation Committee and Co-Executive Editor of the Trusts and Estates Quarterly. She is a past President of the Sacramento County Bar Association Probate Section.

She has done presentations on postmortem trust administration, conservatorship basics, the basics of estate administration, financial elder abuse, and managing a trusts and estates law practice. Carlena also was a contributor for The Sacramento Bee’s feature column Ask the Experts.


J.D., University of the Pacific,
McGeorge School of Law




California Lawyers Association, Trusts and Estates Section

California Lawyers Association, Trusts and Estates Executive Committee, Member (2015 to current), Chair, Litigation Committee (2018-2019), Co-Executive Editor, The Quarterly (2018-2019)

California Lawyers Association, Marketing and Communications Committee, Past Member (2018-2019)

Sacramento County Bar Association, Probate and Estate Planning Section, Past Chair

San Joaquin County Estate Planning Council, Member

Los Angeles County Bar Association, Member

Jurisprudence Award in Professional Responsibility and Decedents’ Estates and Trust

Sacramento Magazine’s Top Lawyers List, 2019- Estate Planning and Probate