Probate, Trusts & Estates

AlvaradoSmith’s Probate, Trusts & Estates practice group provides legal services in all aspects of the probate arena. Its clients include professional fiduciaries and creditors of entities subject to the California Probate Code, families and individuals. 


Our team of attorneys has substantial experience in defending, as well as prosecuting or contesting, a will or trust. Typically, claims are made that the creator of the will and/or trust was not competent to execute the instrument, or that the instrument was the product of undue influence. We have substantial experience working with necessary experts in the field of competency and undue influence. In other instances, an estate may have a claim to property held by another. As experienced litigation professionals, we are fully capable of competently handling any contested proceeding in this area of practice.

Our attorneys also have the sensitivity to appropriately handle family discord in the matter. We provide guidance through the entire process, recommend the appropriate legal documents to accomplish the client’s goals, implement the plan and work with the client’s team (e.g. accountant and/or financial planner) to ensure that they have a quality estate plan for their family. 


  • Defend or contest a will
  • Creation of wills (including pour-over wills and wills with guardianship provisions)
  • Probate a will or administer an intestate estate
  • Litigate issues of competency and/or undue influence
  • Litigate ownership of property
  • In appropriate cases, bring claims of breach of fiduciary duty
  • Defend an executor or administrator from claims of breach of fiduciary duty
  • Estate taxation and administration, including tax controversies


  • Defend or contest a trust
  • Advise on trust administration
  • Creation of trusts to avoid probate and to minimize estate taxes
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Reform trusts when necessary
  • In appropriate cases, bring claims of breach of fiduciary duty
  • In appropriate cases, demand an accounting
  • Defend a trustee from claims of breach of fiduciary duty or accounting
  • Estate taxation and administration, including tax controversies

Estate Planning

  • Creation of and amendments to wills or trusts, including irrevocable life insurance trusts, charitable remainder trusts, or the use of other techniques recognized as the appropriate means to accomplish a client's goals
  • Health Care and Financial Powers of Attorney
  • Blended families issues
  • Prepare ancillary documents such as certifications of trust, trust transfer deeds, preliminary change of ownership reports, claim exclusion from property tax reassessment

Conservatorships & Guardianships

  • Petition for creation of conservatorship or guardianship
  • Litigate creation of conservatorship or guardianship
  • Administration of conservatorship or guardianship, including required reports and accountings

From simple wills to revocable living trusts, AlvaradoSmith provides all the services necessary to help clients avoid probate, minimize estate taxes, reduce family conflict, engage in charitable giving and provide for their loved ones after death, including:

  • Probate
  • Trusts
  • Estate Planning
  • Conservatorships & Guardianships


                 Group Leader: Matt Hansen