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About me

I am a litigation attorney with a focus on trust and estate disputes, which often involve conflicts among family members.

I advise trustees and executors who find themselves in conflict with beneficiaries, and help beneficiaries assert their rights in trust and probate estates. I prosecute and defend trust contests and will contests, which often raise issues of mental capacity, undue influence, and elder financial abuse. I also handle contested matters in conservatorships.

See Trust on Trial, my blog on California Trust and Estate litigation, at


Languages spoken: Spanish

Practice areas


  1. Litigation: 40%
    22 years
  2. Probate: 20%
  3. Trusts: 20%
  4. Intellectual Property: 10%
  5. Advertising: 10%


Payment types:


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Contact info

Downey Brand LLP

621 Capitol Mall, 18th Floor
Sacramento, CA, 95814

Downey Brand LLP

427 West Plumb Lane
Reno, NV, 89509



DCInactive 199607/06/2016
We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Top Lawyers ListSacramento Magazine2015
Best of the BarSacramento Business Journal2015
AV RatingMartindale-Hubbell2006
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Staff Attorney, Bureau of Consumer ProtectionFederal Trade Commission1994 - 1998
Law ClerkU.S. District Court, Central District of Calif.1993 - 1994
Association namePosition nameDuration
State Bar of California, Trusts and Estates SectionLitigation Committee Member2010 - Present
Anthony M. Kennedy American Inn of CourtMaster Member2010 - Present
Sacramento Estate Planning CouncilDirector and Technology Chair2008 - Present
Sacramento County Bar Association, Probate and Estate SectionMember2008 - Present
Legal Services of Northern CaliforniaFormer Director2009 - 2014
Voluntary Legal Services ProgramFormer Director2009 - 2014
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
In re Doherty TrustTrust and will validated by trial court judge. Ruling affirmed by Third District Court of Appeal.
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
California Trusts and Estates QuarterlyYellow Light: Trustee May Follow Authorization to Defend Contested Amendment Until Enjoined by Probate Judge2015
Pathways - Trust and Estate NewsletterIt's Not Easy to Be Mom and Dad's Successor Trustee2011
California Trusts and Estates QuarterlyThe Andersen Twist in Trust Contests: Testamentary Capacity Standard Sometimes Applies When Document Resembles a Will2011
San Francisco and Los Angeles Daily JournalsThe Rising Tide of Will and Trust Contests2010
Sacramento LawyerTrust and Estate Litigation in Sacramento - A Peek Into Department 1292010
San Francisco and Los Angeles Daily JournalsStranger in a Strange Land: Entering Trust and Estate Litigation2010
ABA Section of Antitrust LawConsumer Protection Law Developments (Author of Subchapter on Nevada Consumer Protection Law)2009
Pathways - Trust and Estate NewsletterWhy Wills Matter2009
Pathways - Trust and Estate NewsletterWhen Does a Trustee Have to Go to Court?2008
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
University of California at Los Angeles School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1993
Harvard UniversityHistoryBA - Bachelor of Arts1988
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Placer County Bar Association Spring MCLEA Litigator's Take on How to Avoid or Reduce Estate Plan Combustion2016
Sacramento County Bar Association, Probate and Estate Planning SectionMental Capacity Rules and Riddles After Andersen v. Hunt2013
Professional Fiduciary Association of California, Northern California RegionTrapdoors for Trustees: Estate of Giraldin and Other Pitfalls for Fiduciaries2013
State Bar of California, Annual MeetingCompetently Litigating Competency in Trust and Estates Matters2012
Placer County Bar Association Annual ConferenceSister Sue[d] Me! Trust and Estate Disputes and How to Avoid Them2012
Gold Country Estate Planning Council Monthly MeetingTrapdoors for Trustees: A Litigator's Take on the Perils of Trust Administration2012
Yolo County Bar Assn. Monthly MeetingThe Rising Tide of Will and Trust Contests2011
South Placer Estate Planning Council Monthly MeetingTrapdoors for Trustees: A Litigator's Take on the Perils of Trust Administration2011
Planned Giving Forum of Sacramento Annual MeetingWayward Trustees, Pushy Heirs and Other Threats to Charitable Gifts2011
PFAC Sacramento Chapter MeetingThe Rising Tide of Will and Trust Contests2011
Firm-Sponsored WorkshopBrand Strategy: Dancing with the Lawyers2009
AMA Monthly Luncheon ProgramLegal Do's and Don'ts for Internet Marketers2007