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Robin H. Balsam

Probate Attorney at Tacoma, WA

5.0   7 reviews

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About Robin

Learn Robin’s areas of practice.

Robin Balsam has been in private practice since 1984 and has over 35 years of experience. She is an assertive litigator with extensive experience in highly contested probates, will contests, uncovering and pursuing perpetrators of fiduciary fraud and elder abuse, complicated guardianships, trusts, estates, and other related matters.  Ms. Balsam has an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell.  She was initially selected as a SuperLawyer in 2011, and has been selected again each year from 2015 through the present.

Her practice has emphasized guardianship, trust, probate and representing families with special needs since 1993. Ms. Balsam has chaired and spoken at legal seminars on various aspects of these practice areas as well as related ethical issues since 1998. She handles complex guardianship, trust, and probate problems; represents other fiduciaries in various roles; and engages in many aspects of personal injury settlement trust work. Her work also includes representation of families with special needs, as well as practical experience in defense against allegations or findings by Adult Protective Services and recovery of assets for victims of elder abuse or exploitation. She received an LL.M. Masters in Elder Law at Stetson University School of Law in 2013.

As Director of Commencement Bay Fiduciary Services, a certified professional guardian agency, she is the major decision-maker on investments, medical procedures, living arrangements and purchases for incapacitated people and trust beneficiaries. She also directs the day-to-day operations of the guardianship agency employing three professional guardians and support staff, along with a four-attorney law firm.

In addition to extensive litigation experience, Ms. Balsam is also collaboratively trained and has experience as a mediator. She is a current Pro Tem Court Commissioner and former Pro Tem Judge for Pierce County Superior Court.

Ms. Balsam has a number of professional affiliations, and frequently assists other attorneys who are not experienced in representing the elderly, incapacitated and disabled in legal matters such as personal injury, contract and domestic litigation. Ms. Balsam’s firm provides a uniquely collaborative and resourceful approach to the legal issues that confront elders and the disabled by providing a range of solutions from negotiated out-of-court agreements to traditional legal advocacy.

Ms. Balsam always enjoyed spending time with her grandparents, talking about their lives and experiences, and spent a lot of time with an older neighbor discussing travel and photography when she was a youngster.  These relationships inspired her to choose elder law as a practice area when she began her own law practice in 1989.

Licensed for 38 years
State WA
Status Active
Acquired 1984
Updated 11/25/2022

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

Contact Robin

Robin H. Balsam, P.S.
911 South I Street
Tacoma, WA, 98405
Robin H. Balsam
911 South I St
Tacoma, WA, 98405-4517
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Reviews

5.0 / 5.0
  7 customer reviews
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Posted by Richard | July 18, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Robin Balsam
Robin Balsam is gifted in both tactical and strategic engagements. In our exhaustive search for the best legal counsel to defend an attack on our sizable assets, she was widely regarded as a peak practitioner in her area and we engaged her on our first meeting. We have been very pleased with that retainer. Drawing on decades of legally forged crucible sharpening expertise, she systematically and surgically disposed of fraudulent “omitted spouse” claims being made against our substantial 50 year aggregated ownership holdings including real estate, savings accounts, investment portfolios, and homes. Confronted with a horde of spurious claims, Robin conceptually brought everything together and developed a pinpointed course of action early in our discovery process. Integrating and disposing of all the litigation issues we faced did converge on invalidation of a fraudulent out of state marriage, enumerating serious VAPO violations, and successfully throwing out a secretive and dishonestly formulated Last Will and Testament. We faced initial demands for 50% of total assets. Robin’s masterful game plan was powerfully and systematically defeated over the contrived but unlawful claims of our opponent. The marriage they were claiming was the core of their entire case. Robin demonstrated to the judge that it could not and would not be upheld in Washington State law. She was clearly prescient on this matter, and was able to masterfully destroy these claims. We won those disputes, and unwound any validity for their principal arguments. Throughout we observed that Robin had exquisitely prioritized and pinpointed a winning course of action. Besides voiding the marriage, she removed arguments surrounding a secretive and dishonestly formulated Last Will and Testament. For our part, she succeeded on all counts. As family we litigated on behalf of our deceased brother and father, dealing with multiple pleadings that were contaminated on many levels, including marriage fraud, Last Will and Testament chicanery, and ongoing illegal violations of a court ordered, 5 year Vulnerable Adult Protection Order (VAPO). On first appearance we were directed into TEDRA mediation, and our arguments over 3 days in that area severely crippled our opponent after we revealed widespread trickery and deceit on many levels, in addition to a concealed 30 year highly problematic court history. Issues germane to our case included fraudulent check writing, expense and extortion deceit, substance abuse, theft, and other character matters. Given abundant case related research, Robin’s diligent and highly competent staff weaned out redundant time-line research, and her initial assessment then honed in on the priority factors to be emphasized in upcoming court arguments, as with scope of the overall work program, time management, documentation, and legal issue relevance. Her preparation was exhaustive and masterfully executed. In a magnificent Coup de gras, the marriage was nullified in a Summary judgment kill shot, in Pierce County Washington Superior Court. As well, the illegitimate and contrived Last Will and Testament was thrown out. Throughout our engagement, Balsam Law had to deal with a Court System burdened and hamstrung by Covid imposed restraining parameters. We are grateful Robin completely negated the legal foundation of the arguments we faced. The Summary judgment she achieved saved our family substantial time and future legal expense. Her professional services are strongly supported by smart, adept, knowledgeable and hard-working professionals at every level. I will whole heartedly endorse her and the expertise she has retained in her firm. Richard M
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Response from Robin Balsam July 27, 2021
Thank you for this great feedback. The positive resolution of this extremely complex situation was achieved through hard, consistent effort and teamwork between our staff and motivated, engaged clients. Our experienced and skilled staff functions smoothly after over many years of working together. As a team we strive to earn your trust through clear, consistent communication of the legal process, facts and the law, tempered by empathy and acknowledgement of the emotional impact of these disputes.
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Posted by Roberta | August 7, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Probate, Will Guardianship, Trust
I first met Robin when I hired her when my Father passed away in 1990. My Mother had her assist her in setting up a Special Needs trust for my Sister. I later became my Sister's Legal Guardian after my Mother had passed. She helped me find an Adult Family Home where she resided for over 15 years. I had her prepare my Will.
Posted by Wayne | July 30, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Robin helped us thwart two women from stealing my father's estate.
It has now been 10 years since I hired Robin to deal with a situation of two women taking advantage my father's loneliness and progressing dementia and trying to steal his assets. They were able to control and manipulate his thinking. Robin was a blessing to our family in her legal intervention. A very tough time in my life. Thank God I had Robin. My father was 94 and suddenly passed away with his original will intact. Otherwise, those woman had planned to exercise a Springing POA and take everything. I have since retired and moved to Florida and set up a family trust. Robin helped us through a trying ordeal.
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Posted by Nancy | December 17, 2014
Probate-Estate Settlement
After having tried unsuccessfully to handle this disagreement without an attorney, I was fortunate that Robin Balsam was recommended to help me. Not only is she very familiar with probate law, but she also knew well the opposing attorney - with whom I had had negative experiences. This was a small case, so I greatly appreciated Ms. Balsam’s taking it on and giving it her immediate attention. My stress level was significantly reduced as there was peace-of-mind knowing that someone exceptionally knowledgeable was looking out for my best interest. It required almost a year before the case was settled. Throughout this time, Ms. Balsam kept me apprised of the status and each month I received a detailed accounting/time report. Lastly, the settlement check was mailed shortly after the documents were finalized. Yes, I highly recommend Ms. Robin Balsam . . . I promise you will sleep better.
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Posted by Drew | November 20, 2014
Review of my experience as a client of Robin Balsam
I retained Robin Balsam in June of 2013 to assist me in dealing with my aging mother and her irrevocable trust, of which I am a beneficiary. My mother was diagnosed with pre-senile dementia which progressively got worse. I came across evidence that the assets in the trust were being misused, to the benefit of third parties. Robin sent letters and provided information to my mother and my estranged sister (who had power of attorney for my mother and is the executor of her estate). For over a year she provided me with professional advice and counsel, bot legal and with respect to dealing with my mother and sister in the most productive way possible. She also helped identify and quantify trust assets. She was always professional, responsive and courteous. Her efforts I believe stopped the misuse of the trust assets. My mother recently passed away, and as a result of Robin's efforts and advice, the trust and my mother's estate is I believe being settled correctly. Robin managed to do all this even though she, my mother and sister are in Washington and I am in New Hampshire. We worked via phone and email, and occasionally met in person when I was in Washington to see my mother. Robin's billing was always fair and accurate. I had no negative experiences at all with Robin so have nothing to mention in the way of constructive criticism. I highly recommend Robin to anyone who needs legal assistance in her areas of expertise.
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Posted by Amanda A. | July 21, 2014
Lawyers That Have Love Are The Best
Robin Balsam is extremely intelligent and well-versed, yet she possesses great patience and is warm and likeable. I would trust her with any matter at hand. She represented me for over a decade in a complex family matter with some pretty hostile characters involved. She was able to cut through their games and focus on the most important things, even though I was rather emotional about what was going on at the time. She has a sense of humor as well. She was supportive of me legally and emotionally and I will never forget all that she did for me. I am STILL reaping the life benefits of her past work on behalf of my family.
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Posted by lenore | June 7, 2012
Vunerable Adult Protection
Robin is a "Bulldog" when it comes to protecting vunerable adults. She did an awesome job for my family. And because of her part of my family has to stop spending my fathers money on themselves. I highly reccomend her for all your needs
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Resume

AVVO RATING 9.4 (Superb)

Education

  • Stetson University College of Law
  • LL.M - Master of Laws
  • 2013
  • Seattle University School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1983
  • University of Montana-Missoula
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1979

Associations

  • Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association, Volunteer Legal Services Committee
  • 2016 - Present
  • American Inns of Court
  • Master Barrister
  • 2000 - Present
  • American Bar Association
  • Member
  • N/A
  • American Trial Lawyers Association
  • Member
  • N/A
  • Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association
  • Member
  • N/A
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
  • Member
  • N/A
  • Washington State Trial Lawyers Association
  • Member
  • N/A
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Member
  • N/A
  • National Association of Professional Guardians
  • Member
  • N/A
  • Washington Association of Professional Guardians
  • Member
  • N/A
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Special District Counsel
  • 1999 - 2004
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Special District Counsel
  • 1990 - 1993
View all associations

Awards

  • Super Lawyer
  • Super Lawyers
  • 2019
  • Super Lawyer
  • Super Lawyers
  • 2018
  • Super Lawyer
  • Super Lawyers
  • 2017
  • Super Lawyer
  • Super Lawyers
  • 2016
  • Super Lawyer
  • Super Lawyers Magazine
  • 2015
  • AV Preeminent Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2015
  • AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2015
View all awards

Speaking Engagements

  • Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association, Family Law Section
  • What Steps to Take When You have an Incapacitated Client
  • 2007
  • Washington State Professional Guardian Seminar
  • Guardianship Issues
  • 2007
  • WSBA - The Guardianship Institute
  • Special Issues in Representing Professional Guardians and Trustees
  • 2007
  • Annual Fall Elder Law Conference
  • Challenges of Applying Substituted Judgment as Opposed to the Best Interest Standard in a Guardianship
  • 2007
  • Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association
  • Death & Dying Issues
  • 2006
  • 5th Annual Guardianship Seminar
  • Real Estate
  • 2006
  • Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association
  • Guardianship Issues (Moderator)
  • 2005
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Establishing, Managing, and Terminating a Special Needs Trust (Panel Speaker)
  • 2004
  • Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association
  • Guardianship Issues (Moderator)
  • 2004
  • Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association
  • Competency, Capacity, and Insanity
  • 2004
  • Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association
  • Representing Incapacitated Persons in a Dissolution Action
  • 2003
  • Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association
  • Personal Injury Settlements, Trusts, and Ethics (Moderator and Speaker)
  • 2003
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Vulnerable Adults, Civil Perspective
  • 2003
  • Real Estate Sales and Ethics Panel
  • Real Estate Sales and Ethics
  • 2002
  • Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association
  • Guardianship And Related Issues, Code Verses No Code Issues, How Does One Determine What Code To Establish For A Client?
  • 2001
  • Guardianship Committee
  • Real Life Issues and Cases, Panel Discussion
  • 2000
  • Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association
  • Civil Discovery
  • 1999
  • Guardianship Committee
  • What Happens After A Guardianship Is Entered?
  • 1999
  • Tacoma Young Lawyers Computer Seminar
  • Computer Seminar
  • 1999
  • Bar Convention
  • Taking Stock Or Stocking Up, Y2K
  • 1999
  • Tacoma Young Lawyers
  • Computer Seminar
  • 1999
  • Less Restricitve Alternatives to Guardianship Committee
  • Who Is Your Client
  • 1998
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Community Property Agreements, Durable Powers of Attorney and Changing Wills
  • 1998
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (2)
Given (0)
Endorse Robin
Guardianship Attorney | Aug 13
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Robin is extremely professional, thoughtful, and thorough. Her experience and ability to communicate with both her clients and collegues is truly unique in the field."
Family Attorney | Jun 20
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer's work."
This attorney hasn't created any attorney endorsements recently on Avvo.

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Tacoma Probate Lawyer Robin H. Balsam
Robin H. Balsam
Probate Attorney
Tacoma, WA
Licensed for 38 years