Trusts and Estates 101: Estate Planning from Start to Finish (CA)

Audio program! (check our CLE Programs page for live versions)

If you are just getting going with your estate planning practice, or need a strong refresher on various aspects of estate planning, this comprehensive estate planning program is for you.

This is an audio recording of our full-day seminar focused on giving you a thorough overview of the critical areas of estate planning and the tasks and law you need to know to be a successful estate planning attorney.

Your faculty includes recently retired Probate Judge Mary Thornton House and long time estate planning attorneys, including several Certified Legal Specialists in Estate, Trusts and Probate Law.

This beginner level seminar will walk you through the steps you need to know to successfully meet your client’s needs in your estate planning practice. The program will start with how you should handle the initial interview and what ethical considerations may arise.

Next, your instructors will walk you through the different types of wills you want to consider for your clients. After that your faculty will spend a great deal of time on the most important estate planning documents will create for your clients. This includes things like Revocable and irrevocable trusts, the common revocable trust structures and formula clauses. They’ll also speak about common distribution professions, Powers of Appointment, incentive provisions and strong no contest clauses.

After that, you’ll hear about fiduciaries as well as the different types of Power of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directives you must discuss with and help your clients choose. We’ll also cover your funding documents, such as deeds, funding letters, assignments, LLCs and Partnerships.

Lastly the faculty will cover the typical controversies that come up in estate planning related litigation and how to avoid them.

This in-depth program is designed to thoroughly immerse you in the critical areas of estate planning. You will learn the law and the practical skills you need to create these type of trusts for your clients.

Your faculty will provide lots of strategies and advice along the way. You’ll even hear from Judge Thornton House about her recommendations for successfully helping your clients and avoiding ending up in court. And advice about what to do if you do end up in court.


This program was recorded live on March 14, 2019 in Los Angeles. The audio package, including seminar materials is now available in CD and Download format.


Sponsored By:


What You Will Learn

Intitial Interview – Ethical Considerations

  • Identify clients
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Capacity concerns
  • Expectations


  • Independent vs. pour over
  • Guardianship provisions
  • Miscellaneous provisions
  • Execution requirements


  • Community property vs. separate property
  • Personal Effects
  • Revocable vs. irrevocable
    • ILITs
    • Dynasty trusts
  • Common revocable trust structures
    • “A” Trust Plan (Survivor’s Trust)
    • “A” Trust Plan with Disclaimer (Survivor’s Trust with Disclaimer Trust)
    • “AB” Trust Plan (Bypass Trust; Survivor’s Trust)
    • “ABC” Trust Plan (Bypass Trust; Marital Trust; Survivor’s Trust)
    • Clayton QTIPS
  • Formula Clauses
    • Pecuniary formula
    • Fractional interest
    • Post-mortem appreciation/depreciation
    • Income tax issues
    • Marital
  • Common distribution provisions
  • Powers of appointment
  • Incentive provisions
  • No contest clauses


  • Types
  • Duties
  • Consistency of fiduciaries
  • Other considerations
  • Fiduciary duties of trustees
    • Reporting requirements
    • Waivers and exoneration

Powers of Attorney

  • Immediate vs. springing
  • Statutory vs. custom
  • Powers to amend, revoke and gift

Advance Health Care Directives

  • Statutory vs. custom
  • Signature requirements
  • Multiple agents
  • HIPAA/CMIA – compliance with statutory requirements

Funding Documents

  • Assignments
  • Certifications
  • Deeds
  • Funding letters
  • LLCs, partnerships
  • Stale trusts

Common Controversies and Litigation

  • Fiduciary liability
  • Accountings
  • Contests
  • Attorney liability


Sponsored By:


“Excellent overview. The highlight was the excellent speakers. They were very dynamic, engaged, had great banter, and kept it interesting.” – Julia Birkel, Esq.

“Great overview.” – Andres Moreno, Esq.

“Excellent speakers.” – Edward Wallace, Esq.

“Great speakers. Great information. I love Lauriann! I will always attend seminars where I know she’s speaking. She’s a great speaker. Very relatable.”


The following testimonials are from our previous Estate Planning programs.

Probate Litigation 101 held in Los Angeles in 2017:

“The book really was like a goldmine of information…This was a fantastic program, very complete and very substantive. Great panel with great information. I learned a lot which I know will help my practice.” – Steven A. Friedman, Esq.

“Enjoyed the program. Learned a great deal of material…comments from the bench are always helpful.” – Tom Borchard, Esq.

“My goal was a brief overview of Probate Litigation, with some helpful practice takeaways – both were accomplished!” – Abigail McLaughlin, Esq.

“There were certain areas I had not considered before, but which will be helpful for [practicing in] both L.A. County and Orange County.” – Austin Borchard, Esq.

“Speakers were super knowledgeable and practical…Learned a few very important nuggets to keep me malpractice free.” – Elizabeth Vozzella, Esq.

“Well-organized…very informative. Good Q&A.” – David Kim, Esq.

“I really enjoyed the content. It appeals to new probate attorneys, attorneys new to litigation, and is a refresher for those who are more experienced.” – Savannah Estenson, Esq.

“Great presentation! Very relevant…great panel. Thank you!” – Marta N. Jonsson, Esq.

“Loved Lauriann Wright’s real-life case experience and practice tips. She was so helpful.” – Jill Piano, Esq.

“All speakers were clear, informative, organized, and engaging. Fantastic panel. Thank you! Content was…incredibly relevant and informative. The speakers paced through the amount of information well without sacrificing quality. I am a new practitioner and I appreciate the overview of each topic. Each speaker clarified many practical issues (not just probate concepts): e.g., filing petitions, considering how to handle difficult clients and/or court appearances. Well-organized event. Thank you! I look forward to taking part in more CLE events with Pincus.”

“I just started in probate law and this was a wonderfully informative program, and provides a great overview.”

“The program overall was exceptional. The thoroughness of what was covered in the time constraint of one day was well done.”

“Excellent presentations. The speakers were great…Judge Thornton was an excellent, engaging speaker and I felt lucky to have such an experienced judge teaching us…Excellent materials.”

“Great program. Appreciated the focus on practical ‘how-to’.”

“Great opportunity for insight from a sitting judge. Thanks for the tips! …Very intensive course with great depth. Covered a lot of smaller issues, and the insight into these, and lesser-known tricks and tips, was great.”

“Really appreciated the judge’s intro and big picture overview at the beginning. Appreciated Edgar Saenz’s cheat sheets.”

“Having Judge House was great!”

“Lauriann Wright was very knowledgeable as to litigation and providing case examples to cover points!”

“The handout materials are great.”

“Really good handouts.”

“I found it very helpful to have the judge’s perspective… The materials are very useful.”

“Excellent overview.”



Hon. Mary Thornton House (Ret.)
Retired Judge / Los Angeles Superior Court
Alternative Resolution Centers

Judge House recently retired after 22 years on the Los Angeles Superior Court, where she presided over countless jury and court trials in the Civil and Probate departments. With experience serving as the Supervising Judge of the Northeast and North Central districts, Hub Operations and Assistant Supervising Judge of Civil countywide, Judge House brings a unique and in-depth understanding of all aspects of civil case processing and case values. She is touted for her calm demeanor and unbending graciousness to all that appeared in front of her, as well as her extraordinary and relentless, common-sense approach to settling cases.

Judge House was the first Municipal Court Judge to become a Supervising Judge for the Superior Court in the Northeast District. Elevated in 2000, she presided over mandatory settlement conferences in both limited and general civil matters, reducing the civil caseloads throughout the Northeast and North Central Districts. 

In 2004, she moved to a Civil direct calendar court at the Mosk Courthouse, handling civil matters including personal injury, contract, employment, professional malpractice, asbestos and products liability. She routinely conducted successful settlement conferences for her colleagues and her own matters. She returned to Pasadena in 2010, presiding over Probate and Family/Civil harassment cases. In 2016, she returned to a downtown Probate Department for two years before retiring in 2018. 

Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge House was an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Los Angeles. Initially, she was a criminal prosecutor, but transferred to the civil branch to defend lawsuits against the City and its employees. Her last five years included advising the Los Angeles City Council, Police Commission and Fire Commission. She successfully defended the City’s Police and Fire departments in high dollar-value and high-profile cases in both federal and state courts. 

Beti Tsai Bergman, Esq.
Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law
Peninsula Law

Beti Tsai Bergman is an attorney and counselor at law dedicated to serving her clients with judgment, courtesy, and diligence. She is an attorney, in good standing, licensed to practice law in the State of California. She was admitted to the CA State Bar in 1997.

Ms. Bergman is the principal shareholder of the law firm, Peninsula Law, A Professional Law Corporation, which specializes in probate, trusts, estates, conservatorships, and elder abuse. Ms. Bergman has extensive experience in representing conservators, trustees, and executors, as well as, heirs and beneficiaries in uncontested and contested trust and estate matters. Before specializing in probate, Ms. Bergman was a city attorney for Los Angeles and was a business litigator in private practice.

Ms. Bergman is certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization in estate planning, trust and probate law and has earned an Advocate Designation from the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.

Her speaking engagements include CEB live webcast on estate planning, panels discussing women in the law, mothers balancing career and family, starting your law practice, and preparing for advanced age healthcare and financial care.

Samuel Ingham III, Esq.

Law Offices of Samuel D. Ingham III

Mr. Ingham is a State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law and has practiced extensively in this field since being admitted to the California Bar in 1975. In addition, he has been trained and qualified as a mediator by the Los Angeles County Bar Association and the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Mr. Ingham’s practice is primarily devoted to conservatorships and trusts, regularly representing banks and licensed professional fiduciaries as well as individuals. He has appeared in more than 700 court proceedings.

Mr. Ingham is a co-author of two leading practice books published by California Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) and teaches regularly on issues involving trusts, estates and protective proceedings. He is presently serving his third term on the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and is currently a member of its Court Liaison Subcommittee.

Mr. Ingham received his B.A. in Latin (summa cum laude) from the University of California, Irvine and his J.D. from the UCLA School of Law. His offices are in Downtown Los Angeles.

David Rice, Esq.
Managing Partner & Founder, Certified Specialist in Taxation
The Law Office of David Lee Rice

Mr. Rice has been in private practice since November 1979 as a tax professional. Prior to law school, Mr. Rice worked for the accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand. Mr. Rice is the sole proprietor of the law firm of David Lee Rice, APLC, rated AV by Martindale & Hubbell, and is one of Los Angeles Magazine’s Super Lawyers for 2006-2015. Currently, Mr. Rice is in charge of the Tax Program at Cal Poly Pomona. Mr. Rice has taught on the Masters of Taxation Program at California State University at Northridge and Golden Gate University, as well as many courses at the University of West Los Angeles School of Law.

Mr. Rice is a Certified Specialist in Taxation with the State Bar of California and is also a Certified Elder Law Specialist in Elder Law.

Mr. Rice has published numerous articles, which have been published in the Tax Developments Journal, Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure, Journal of Taxation, the Estate Planning Journal, Practicing Law Institute, University of Southern California Tax Institute, UCLA Tax Institute, California Tax Lawyer, Los Angeles Lawyer, Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, the Daily Journal and Tax Notes.

He has drafted numerous papers for presentations to the IRS and Treasury concerning substantive changes to the Tax Code and the Treasury Regulations thereunder and has testified before the IRS, Department of Treasury, House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee.

Mr. Rice has also lectured before the Internal Revenue Service, USC Tax Institute, Annual UCLA Tax Institute, American Bar Association, Annual Meeting of the California Tax Bar and California Tax Policy Conference, HELP, South Bay Bar Association, Beverly Hills Bar Association, Loyola Law School, California Society of CPAs, Orange County Society of CPAs, Estate Planning Counsels of Los Angeles, South Bay and San Fernando, Dean Whittier, Jewish Federation Council, Anti-Defamation League, Kaiser Permanente, Miller & Company, California State Bar Educational Institute, Annual California State Bar Meetings, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, COSMA, and before various Elder Care Groups sponsored with the Los Angeles County Bar Association in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Rice is the former Chair to the Individual and Family Income Tax Section of the American Bar Association, the State Bar Income Tax Committee, the Los Angeles County Bar Association Committee on Procedure and Litigation, and the State Bar Committee on Procedure and Litigation.

He is also the former Commissioner and Chair of the Board of Legal Specialization Committee of the State Bar on Taxation. He is the former Chair of the Tax Section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, and the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Tax Section. He is a member of the following additional associations: The Planning Committee for the UCLA Tax Institute, the Planning Committee for California State University Polytechnic Pomona Tax Institute, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, South Bay Bar Association and the South Bay Estate Planning Council. He is the former Director on the Board of Directors of the Fibromyalgia Treatment Center, the Wellness Center in Redondo Beach, CA, and Former Trustee of the Board of Trustees of the University of West Los Angeles Law School.

Edgar Saenz, Esq.
Principal/Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law
Law Office of Edgar Saenz

Edgar Saenz is a Los Angeles estate planning attorney and graduate of Stanford Law School.   He is a member of several bar trust and estate sections.  He serves on numerous community and professional boards, including past president of the Westchester Rotary Club (2013-2014) board member of the LAX Area Chamber of Commerce.  Edgar is rated AV by Martindale Hubbell.

Edgar has performed pro bono legal services for the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice and other nonprofits. 

He has been a judge pro tem with the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Lauriann Wright, Esq.
Wright Kim Douglas ALC

Lauriann Wright is an experienced probate litigator and estate planner located in Glendale California. For over 25 years, she has been practicing all phases of probate law and litigation, including conservatorships, guardianships, trusts, and probate estates, throughout Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties. The focus of her practice is the representation of professional fiduciaries, with success in helping fiduciaries maintain neutrality amid litigation among family members. She also represents select private clients in trust and estate litigation matters, like will and trust contests. She has been named as a Southern California Super Lawyer in Trust and Estate Litigation for over ten consecutive years, from 2012 through 2022. In fact, for 2020 through 2022, she has been named one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in Southern California and, for 2021, she was named one of the Top 50 Women Super Lawyers in Southern California. For 2016 through 2022, she is also listed as one of "The Best Lawyers in America" in Litigation / Probate by Best Lawyers and her law firm has been named a Best Law Firm by U.S. News & World Report as well.  And she has been named as a member of the National Advocates: Top 100 of Wills, Trust, and Estates Lawyers. She has also been AV Rated Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards.

Mrs. Wright has conducted numerous contested probate bench trials, dozens of depositions, and written and argued several probate appeals. She has successfully represented professional fiduciaries in contested and protracted probate litigation proceedings in numerous multi-million dollar trusts and estates. Her representation of fiduciaries has included high-profile matters involving the Disney family as well as Britney Spears. She has also served as a fiduciary herself through court appointments as a receiver for real property, guardian ad litem, and trustee. Mrs. Wright has worked with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office on numerous financial elder abuse cases and has been able to successfully recover substantial assets for the elderly victims. She is also a member of the Los Angeles County Court Appointed Counsel Panel as well as the Trusts and Estates Sections of the State Bar and the Los Angeles County Bar. 

Four key qualities make Mrs. Wright an effective advocate for her clients: (1) a keen understanding of probate law and procedure, garnering the respect of her fellow attorneys and bench officers; (2) thoroughness and attention to detail; (3) expansive litigation experience from a concurrent business litigation practice; and (4) social intelligence and understanding of the emotionally charged nature of probate disputes.

 In addition to her probate experience, Mrs. Wright is also an experienced business litigator, knowledgeable in all phases of civil litigation, including jury and bench trials in both state and federal courts. She has briefed and argued cases in appellate matters, including the successful, published opinion in Soderberg v. McKinney, 44 Cal. App. 4th 1760, 52 Cal. Rptr. 2d 635 (1996) which reversed the law on real estate appraiser liability in California. Through her business litigation experience, she has substantial knowledge in the areas of commercial finance, factoring, real estate, construction defect, intellectual property, and complex litigation.

 Mrs. Wright graduated from University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1994 with her Juris Doctorate, including a semester of specialized coursework in international law completed at University of Leiden Law School, Leiden, the Netherlands. Mrs. Wright was admitted to the California Bar in December 1994 and is admitted to practice in all the California state and federal trial and appellate courts. 



Audio Recording & Materials Package – CD or Download format: $425

For CDs please add $8.50 shipping and, in CA, sales tax.

CLE Credit

This program is available for both Self-Study and Participatory CLE.*

CA General:  This program is approved for 6.5 units of general CLE in California.
CA Certified Legal Specialist:  This program is approved for 6.5 units of Certified Legal Specialization Credit in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law.

CA Self Study (only) Certified Legal Specialist:  This program is approved for 6.5 units of Certified Legal Specialist CLE in California in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law. (Expires 03/14/2024)

CA Participatory Certified Legal Specialist:  This program is approved for 6.5 units of Certified Legal Specialist CLE in California in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law. (Expires 03/14/2021)

*General Participatory CLE:  For those states that make a distinction between self-study and Participatory CLE (CA, IL, NY), please write down the Verification Codes read out during the program by speakers or our announcer and email them to us at and we will issue your Participatory CLE certificate.

Self-Study CLE certificates are already included in your recorded package, in the “Materials” Folder. 


Upon request, Pincus Pro Ed will provide any information an attorney needs to support their application for CLE approval in other states other than what is listed above.

Terms and Policies

Recording policy: No audio or video recording of any program is permitted.

Seminar Cancellations: Should you be unable to attend for any reason, please inform us in writing no later than 14 days prior to the event and a credit voucher will be issued. If you prefer, a refund, less a $50 non-refundable deposit, will be issued. No refunds or credits will be given for cancellations received within 14 days of an event. However, if you notify us within 14 days of an event, and wish to convert your in-person attendance registration to an Audio CD package (with handout), we can do so. A small additional shipping charge, and sales tax in CA, will be incurred. No shipping charge is incurred for downloads. We will also issue a voucher for the amount paid if you notify us within 14 days and prefer not to have the audio recording.

Substitutions may be made at any time.

Webinars, Tele-seminars and Webcast Cancellations: Once log-in codes and passwords are issued for a webinar, tele-seminars or webcasts, a refund is not possible. If for any reason you cannot attend the event after you have received the codes, we will automatically convert your registration to an instant streaming/instant download or CD format and provide you with the information you need to access the recording after the program concludes and the recording is available.  Conversions to CD require a $8.50 shipping fee, and in CA, 9% sales tax.

Downloads/CDs/DVDs – Refund policy:

Downloads are non-returnable/non-refundable once purchased and received. Tapes, CDs and DVDs are returnable for a full refund or replacement if defective, within 90 days of purchase.

Reminder: The room temperature at hotels and other seminar locations are notoriously hard to control. Please bring a sweater or jacket in case it gets cold and/or layer as if you are going to the movies so you are comfortable.

$425.00 each

Recorded in 2019.