Exam Prep. Course: CA Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Specialist Exam (CA)(Recorded in 2015)

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

Due to unforeseen circumstances, our 2019 Estate Planning Exam Prep program has been cancelled. If you are interested in ordering our 2015 Exam Prep, we are offering a reduced price of $400. This does NOT include information about the 2017 Tax Act. We have a separate program, Practical Tax Planning Under the 2017 Tax Act, which covers the latest changes.


Pincus Professional Education has been holding Exam Prep courses for the CA Legal Specialist Exam since 2009.  And if you are thinking about taking the exam this fall, we have the only prep course in Estate Planning that is available for less than $800.00.

The CA Bar Estate Planning,Trust and Probate Law Specialist exam is given every other year in odd years.

Here is your chance to prepare for the Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Specialist exam with State Bar of California Certified Specialists and a former Commissioner of the Certified Specialist Committee that prepares and grades the exams.

At our Exam Prep course Certified Specialists talk to you about what to expect when you take the exam and will provide an overview of the law in the subject areas listed by the bar as potential topics upon which they may test. Additionally, at least two sample questions from the bar’s published packet will be used as a practice exam and the faculty walks you through the important issues presented by the questions. In this course, sample answers are provided for these two questions. We do not cover multiple-choice questions because the bar does not release sample multiple-choice practice questions.

By taking this course you can reduce the stress that goes with the unknown when preparing for an exam, you can get a refresher on those areas of the law of which you do not practice on a daily basis (or never handle), and you can get some insight on how to prepare and study for the exam from those that have gone before.

Recorded in 2015, the program is available on CD or for instant download and includes the handouts, PowerPoints, sample questions and all other materials provided to attendees for the program.

Important note: Because we cannot know exactly what specific questions and issues the bar will test on, and their “potential topic list” is vast, our program covers most of those topics that the bar lists they might test, but not all. This means that we cannot guarantee every single question or issue that appears on your exam is covered in our course (that would pretty much be impossible). We also strongly recommend you begin studying for the exam early – at least as early as summer. Last minute studying, even with the help of this course, is always a risky proposition when it comes to such a difficult exam covering so many areas of law.



Click here for the Bar’s requirements regarding the exam and qualifications to be a specialist.


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What You Will Learn


  • How to Study and What to Expect
    • Exam format and content
    • How the exam is graded
    • How to study for the exam
    • Test taking techniques
  • Tax Planning Matters, Tax Procedures and Tax Returns
    • Structure of Revocable Trusts
      • AB Trusts
      • ABC Trusts
        • Funding formulas
        • GST allocation
        • Trust requirements for Bypass Trust vs. Marital Trust
      • Powers of Appointment
      • Fixing Drafting Errors
      • Estate, GST and Income Taxes
        • Estate, Gift and GST exemption amounts; annual exclusion amount
        • 706 issues
        • QTIP and QDOT
        • Income tax issues
        • Funding
        • Gifting
    • Property Taxation
  • Ethics
  • Estate and Incapacity Planning
    • Construction issues
    • Abatement
    • Exoneration
    • Anti-lapse
    • Ademption
    • Apportionment
    • Omitted Spouse
    • Omitted Children
    • No Contest Clause
    • Modification of irrevocable trust
    • Creation of a trust
    • Termination of trust
    • Property – community, separate…transmutation agreements, fraudulent conveyance
    • Proration of taxes
    • Limitation on transfers to drafters
    • Presumption of fraud and undue influence
    • Incapacity – and Power of Attorney
  • Administration
    • Statutory Notices
  • Transfers and Litigation
  • Practice Exams (two essays)
  • Issue Spotting and Feed Back



“Faith: Just wanted to let you know that I passed the Specialist Exam for Estate Planning, Trust and Probate! Thanks for your great program. I really believe that it helped a tremendous amount.  You have an outstanding faculty and I will recommend the program to anyone who asks me next time the test is offered.”

“Excellent! I was hoping for a direction as to how to approach test questions, dealt with great!” Frances Martin, Esq.

“All were excellent.” John Stubbs, Esq.  (passed in 2013 and now teaching in 2015)

“Good amount of time – not too much, not too little.” Mike Zuckerman, Esq.

“Great speakers.”

“Excellent coverage given time limits.”


Veronica K. Cerruti, Esq.
Partner/Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law
Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP

Veronica Cerruti’s practice focuses on trust, estate and transfer tax planning, with an emphasis on family wealth transfers for large estates, business succession planning, sophisticated estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax savings techniques, and complex probate and trust administrations.

Her practice includes: preparation of wills, trusts and ancillary documents; business succession planning; generation-skipping and dynasty trust tax planning; asset protection planning; estate and trust administration; preparation and review of gift and estate tax returns; prenuptial and postnuptial agreements; irrevocable insurance trusts; court proceedings relating to the administration, modification or termination of irrevocable trusts; analysis of trust litigation issues; and trust accountings.

Veronica is a frequent speaker for educational programs on a variety of estate planning topics and techniques, including seminars for individuals who are interested in providing for their pets in the event of the individual’s incapacity or death. 

Larry Dushkes, Esq.
Certified Specialist – Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization
Dushkes Law Corporation

Larry S. Dushkes is a principal of Dushkes Law Corporation. Mr. Dushkes is a member of the California State Bar (and a certified specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law) and is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in California, as well as the U.S. Tax Court. Mr. Dushkes is a graduate of Stanford University (A.B. 1979), which he attended on a National Merit scholarship, is also a graduate of the UCLA School of Law (J.D. 1982), and has taught as an Adjunct Professor at Golden Gate University’s Graduate School of Taxation.

Mr. Dushkes specializes in estate planning, probate and will contests, and also practices in the area of business planning and litigation, and federal, state and local tax planning and controversies. Mr. Dushkes is a past member of the Executive Committee of the Trust and Estates Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, serves on the Litigation Committee and the Ethics Committee of the Trusts and Estates section of the State Bar of California, served as co-chair of the Property Tax Committee of the State Bar of California, served twice as chairman of the State and Local Tax Committee of the Taxation Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and is a past chairman of the Tax Section of the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association.  

Daniel B. Herbert, Esq.
Partner/Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law
Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP

Daniel B. Herbert is a partner in the law firm of Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP, where he has been head of the firm’s trust and estate litigation group since 2005. Previously he was a partner with McKay, Meyer and Herbert, APC, where he was in charge of that firm’s trust and estate litigation for eight years. He has successfully litigated many contested trust and estate matters, including at trial and on appeal, including winning a .4 million judgment at trial and a .1 million appeal in the same day. He is certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in estate planning, trust, and probate law.

Mr. Herbert has made several presentations to attorneys including to the American Bar Association at the 2009 Annual Symposia of its Real Property, Trust & Estate Section in Washington DC (regarding trust and probate litigation); the State Bar of California at its 2014 Summit in Newport Beach (Litigated to Death: How to Sue, Defend, and Settle with the Dead); the Los Angeles County Bar at its Trusts & Estates Symposium in 2015 (ethics for the probate bar); and post-death litigation presentations to civil litigation and trial attorneys in Los Angeles (broadcast live to five other cities) in 2012, 2016.

His presentations for Pincus Professional Education include specialist-certification courses in 2013, 2015; Trust & Estate Boot Camp in 2014; Probate practical course in 2016; Advanced Estate Planning seminar for complicated estates in 2016; and Probate Litigation 101 in 2017 & 2019.

He authored Trustees Face Big Liability published in the Insurance Journal on December 20, 2010, and Last Beneficiary Standing: Identifying Proper Parties in Fiduciary Litigation published in the ABA e/Report in June 2009.

Mr. Herbert is admitted to practice law in the state and federal courts of California (1990), Illinois (1994), and New York (2002), and before the Seventh and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal. He graduated cum laude from Whittier Law School in 1990 with many honors and distinctions (Law Review, Dean’s List, Honor Roll, Dean’s Merit Scholarship, and several American Jurisprudence Awards). He is a member of the trust and estate sections of the American Bar Association, California Lawyer’s Association, Illinois State Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, Los Angeles County Bar Association, and Pasadena Bar Association.

Julia C. McBride, Esq.
McBride Law Group, P.C.

Julia C. McBride obtained her law degree from UCLA School of Law and has assisted clients and other attorneys in Los Angeles with estate and trust litigation, probate and trust administration, wills and trusts, and conservatorships and guardianships since 1996. In 2009, Ms. McBride became one of fewer than 1,000 California Certified Specialists in Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Law. She obtained her Business Administration/Accounting degree from CSUN, a top accounting program, and has passed the Uniform CPA Examination. Ms. McBride has extensive practical experience and education in both avoiding conflicts and successfully litigating when appropriate.

John Roney Stubbs, Esq.
Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law
Law Office of John Roney Stubbs

John Stubbs is an attorney focused on Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Administration, practicing in Manhattan Beach, California. He is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization and

has been licensed to practice law in California for 30 years. He was the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Sony Pictures Entertainment. Prior to Sony, John was a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) advising global clients in the entertainment industry for over 18 years.

John Stubbs earned a bachelor of science degree in Physics from St. Mary’s College, California; a masters of business administration (MBA) from University of California at Los Angeles, and a JD from Loyola Law School. In 1985, he became a Certified Public Accountant (Illinois) and has been a member of the California State Bar since 1984. He proudly served as a Naval Aviator flying the A-6 Intruder deployed aboard USS Midway during the Vietnam conflict.

As part of the estate planning process, John Stubbs prepare documents for clients and work to educate them on the importance of titling assets to ensure their estate planning documents work the way they intend. His goal is to make this process as accessible, efficient and streamlined as possible so that individuals are more motivated to develop and complete their plan, and families do not have to deal with the fallout from a lack of planning.

In addition to creating estate plans, he works in the probate arena and assists families in implementing plans when loved ones pass away, and in setting up guardianships for minors, individuals with special needs, and individuals who can no longer manage their own affairs.

In order to stay in-tune with the latest trends and developments in Estate Planning, John Stubbs is an active member of WealthCounsel, a national community of top estate planning professionals committed to the highest standard of practice excellence. This collaborative organization, along with attending seminars taught by nationally recognized thought leaders, keeps John Stubbs on the leading edge of the newest estate planning ideas and approaches.


Audio Course and Materials Package – Download: $650 $400

Audio Course and Materials Package – CD: $650 $400

CDs: plus $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 5.25 units of general CLE in California.

CA Self Study (only) Certified Legal Specialist:  This program is approved for 5.25 units of Certified Legal Specialist CLE in California until it expires 09/10/2020 as follows:

  • A/1.00; B/.75; C/1.50; D/.25; E/1.75

CA Participatory Certified Legal Specialist:  This program is approved for 5.25 units of Certified Legal Specialist CLE in California until it expires 09/10/2017 as follows:

  • A/1.00; B/.75; C/1.50; D/.25; E/1.75

This program is approved for CLE in the states listed above.  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.

$650.00 $400.00 each

Recorded in September 10-11, 2015.