Exam Prep: Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Certified Legal Specialist Exam (CA)(Live in 2019)


Due to unforeseen circumstances, this program has been CANCELLED.

If you are interested in our 2015 Estate Planning Exam Prep audio package, please click here. Our 2015 course does not include the recent changes to tax law; if you wish to get up to date on the 2017 tax law changes, please view our Practical Tax Planning program.


We will be holding a Probate Litigation seminar on September 20, 2019 at the same location. For information about our Probate Litigation course, please click here.

Don’t miss your FREE copy of our CA Exam Prep Course Study Tips – available for all.  This program is compiled from four of our Exam Prep courses held in 2015.  Approximately 2.5 hours long. Click here to order the download FREE.



Pincus Professional Education has been holding Exam Prep courses for the CA Certified 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 in California for less than $1000.00.

The CA Bar Estate Planning,Trust and Probate Law Certified Legal Specialist exam  is Tuesday, October 22, 2019.

Here is your chance to study for the CA Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Specialist Exam with guidance from Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Certified Legal Specialists and former Commissioners who wrote and graded the exam.

At this program, you will get a thorough overview of the substantive critical areas of Estate Planning, Trust and Probate law, of which many you may not practice on a daily basis.  This carefully planned program will also give you tips on how to take the exam, what to expect on exam day and how to study for it.  We will have a practice essay session with at least two questions found in the Bar’s sample packet, that will conclude with issue spotting and a review of how you could have best answered those questions (the practice test answers will not be graded, just discussed).

By taking this course, you can eliminate the stress that goes with the unknown when preparing for an exam and you can get guidance and subject matter review from those that have taken the exam previously.

Can’t attend? This program will be recorded live on September 12th & 13th in Los Angeles. The Exam Prep audio package in CD or Download format, including all seminar materials, will be available within two – four days after the program. Click here or click to the right to order that package.

Early Study Special: If you order our 2015 Exam Prep audio package, you can take $300.00 off of your 2019 exam prep course enrollment or audio. Make a note in the comments section of your order and we’ll contact you to process your 2019 registration by hand or call us at (877) 858-3848 for the special coupon code.

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 – 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 appellate law.

Please note: If you took this course in 2015 or 2017 and did not pass the exam, please call us about a special rate at (877) 858-3848.



REMINDER: We do not recommend making pre-paid, non-refundable travel arrangements in case a program is cancelled due to an emergency. We are not responsible for non-refundable travel/hotel expenses.

If you would like more information from the CA Bar on their exam and becoming a Certified Legal Specialist, click here.


Day 1
Thursday, September 19th
9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.


9:00 – 10:00
Preparing for the Exam and What to Expect

  • Exam details
    • Morning – 8 essays/short answers in 4 hours
    • Afternoon – 75 multiple choice
  • What the exam was like
  • What to expect
  • How to prepare / study plans
  • Practical considerations

10:00 – 10:30
Professional Responsibility [Subject Area 1]

1.1 Duties to clients, opposing counsel, and the court
1.2 Bases for attorney’s fees
1.3 Bases for sanctions
1.4 Fee agreements
1.5 Arbitration/mediation and dual
1.6 Conduct resulting in malpractice/discipline
1.7 Fiduciary duties
1.8 Conflicts of interest/ethics
1.9 The client’s remedies against the attorney

10:30 – 10:45

10:45 – 12:00
Administration Procedures [Subject Area 4] 

4.1 Trusts (court or non‐court)
4.2 Powers of attorney
4.3 Custodial accounts
4.4 Conservatorships
4.5 Guardianships
4.6 Health care directives/issues
4.7 Accountings
4.8 Fiduciaries
4.9 Modification/termination of irrevocable for non‐tax planning purposes
4.10 Other procedures under the Probate Code

Networking Lunch 12:00 – 1:00

1:00 – 3:15
Estate and Incapacity Planning [Subject Area 3] 

3.1 Wills (drafting, codicils, revocation)
3.2 Trusts (creation, amendment, restatement, termination)
3.3 Use of custodianships
3.4 Documents of title
3.5 Beneficiary clauses
3.6 Property agreements
3.7 Community property, separate property, and ‐community property
3.8 Powers of attorney
3.9 Health Care Directives
3.10 Gifts
3.11 Powers of appointment
3.12 Disclaimers
3.13 Public benefit planning
3.14 Issues of diminishing capacity
3.15 Elder law/Medi‐Cal planning
3.16 Retirement benefit planning
3.17 Business succession planning
3.18 Charitable planning
3.19 Use of business entities
3.20 Nominations of conservator/guardian
3.21 Special needs trusts
3.22 Elder abuse
3.23 Spousal and Registered Domestic rights

3:15 – 3:30

3:30 – 5:00
Transfers by Administration or Otherwise [Subject Area 5]

5.1 Terminations of interests with right of survivorship
5.2 Spousal set asides
5.3 Summary probate procedures
5.4 Formal probate
5.5 Pay on death/transfer on death accounts
5.6 Retirement accounts
5.7 Family claims/protection procedures
5.8 Will/trust contests
5.9 Determination of heirship
5.10 Creditor’s claims/rights
5.11 Constructive trusts
5.12 Contracts to convey at death/contracts wills
5.13 Asset ownership disputes

5:00 – 5:30
Multi-Choice q and discussion with afternoon faculty

Day 2
Friday, September 20th
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

9:00 – 11:00
Tax Planning Matters, Tax Procedures and Tax Returns [Subject Area 2]

2.1 Tax opinions, memoranda, and advice letters
2.2 Tax‐sensitive wills, trusts, and powers of
2.3 Audits, appeals, and ruling requests
2.4 Estate, gift, fiduciary, and personal income issues
2.5 Property taxes
2.6 Disclaimers, reformations, and constructions
2.7 Powers of appointment
2.8 Generation‐skipping taxes
2.9 Preparation and filing of returns
2.10 Payment/deferral of taxes
2.11 Modification/termination of irrevocable for tax planning purposes

11:00 – 11:15

11:15 – 12:00
Multi-Choice q/a and faculty discussion

12:00 – 1:00
Lunch (on your own) 

1:00 – 1:30
One Practice Exam Essay Question

1:00 – 1:30
One Practice Exam Essay Question

1:30 – 2:30
Issue Spotting Discussion

  • Issue spotting re: practice exam
  • Issue spotting/potential answers for other sample questions provided in packet (taken from bar site), as time allows
  • Final q/a

2:30 – 2:45

2:45 – 3:15
One Practice Exam Essay Question

3:15 – 4:00
Issue Spotting Discussion and final q/a

  • Issue spotting re: practice exam
  • Issue spotting/potential answers for other sample questions provided in packet (taken from bar site), as time allows


September 19-20, 2019

Day 1 – Thursday, September 19th:
9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Networking lunch included)

Day 2 – Friday, September 20th:
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Lunch on your own)


Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
6225 West Century Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Check in begins 30 minutes before the program starts.


Parking: Discounted $20 self park and $25 valet parking.


“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 exam in 2013 and then taught our 2015 and 2017 courses)

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

“Great speakers.”

“Excellent! Knew it would help.”

“Excellent coverage given time limits.”


Hon. Mary Thornton House (Ret.)
Retired Judge / LA Superior Court, Probate 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.

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. 

Robert Eroen, Esq.
Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law
Hill, Farrer & Burrill LLP

Mr. Eroen is licensed by the state of California as a Certified Public Accounting (CPA), is certified by the Financial Planning Board of Standards, Inc. as a Certified Financial Planning™ certificant (CFP®) and Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law (CEPTPLS).

Robert Eroen is a seasoned trust, estate and probate attorney who represents professional fiduciaries, trustees, executors, administrators, conservatees, conservators, guardians, beneficiaries and omitted heirs in all probate court related matters. He has handled a wide range of cases from challenging the validity of multi-million dollar trusts to releasing seniors from inappropriate conservatorships, removing renegade trustees and handling international guardianship matters. He is an extremely talented and aggressive litigator.

This diverse background enables Mr. Eroen – and his firm – to provide clients with an unparalleled depth of knowledge, attentive service and the resiliency and cost effectiveness of a smaller firm.  The firm’s specialties include difficult contested estate and trust matters; complex issues of taxation; “accountings gone wrong” and the like.

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.

Shawn S. Kerendian, Esq.
Managing Partner/Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law
Keystone Law Group, P.C.

Shawn S. Kerendian is the founder and Managing Partner of Keystone Law Group, P.C., and is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law (State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization). Shawn founded Keystone to provide clients with specialized, focused and efficient legal services in probate, trusts and estates matters. Shawn supervises and manages a team of probate attorneys in the administration and litigation of estates, trusts, conservatorships, and guardianships.

As an experienced litigator with about a decade of experience in this practice area, Shawn helps clients resolve contested litigation through creative thinking and the implementation of short-term and long-term strategies to accomplish a client’s goals within the client’s budget. Shawn has litigated hundreds of probate disputes, including heirship claims, community/separate property issues, property ownership disputes (850 petitions), financial elder abuse claims, will contests, trust contests, Marvin actions, creditor’s claims, equitable adoption claims, breach of contracts to make a will, interpretation and construction disputes, etc. Shawn is comfortable handling all stages of litigation, from the development of case strategy at the inception of the case through settlement or trial. Shawn represents professional fiduciaries, trustees, beneficiaries, heirs, executors, administrators, creditors, corporations, non-profit organizations, conservators and guardians.

In 2017, Shawn was named as a “Top 40 Under 40” Attorney in California by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal, a state-wide legal newspaper that is highly revered among attorneys in California. Shawn was also selected by Super Lawyers Magazine as a Rising Star for three years in a row (2016-2018) and as a top 100 Southern California Rising Star in 2018. Shawn has the highest possible rating on Avvo based on feedback from clients and is AV Rated by his peers on Martindale-Hubbell for exhibiting the highest level of professional excellence.

Bruce Macdonald, Esq.
Partner/Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law
Carico Macdonald Kil & Benz LLP

Bruce Macdonald is a seasoned California estate and tax practitioner whose practice focuses on income, estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax planning. Additionally, Mr. Macdonald drafts estate plans, analyzes fiduciary accountings, prepares federal estate and gift tax returns, and solves complex tax problems facing the firm’s clients. He also specializes in analyzing and interpreting constantly changing tax laws, rules, and regulations.

Mr. Macdonald graduated with honors from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, with a J.D. and an LL.M. in Taxation. He also received a B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in History from the University of California, Los Angeles.

His previous affiliations include Carico Toomey & Associates (2007-2008), Davis & Carico (2004-2007), and as In House Counsel for Norwalk Distributors, Inc. (2002-2003).

Awards & Certifications:

Southern California Super Lawyers, Estate Planning & Probate, 2019

California State Bar, Board of Legal Specialization, certified specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate law

California State Bar, Board of Legal Specialization, certified specialist in Taxation law

Lindsey F. Munyer, Esq.
Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law
Keystone Law Group, P.C.

Lindsey F. Munyer is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law (State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization), and has an LL.M. in Taxation. Lindsey has experience litigating trust and estate matters, and is adept at handling all stages of litigation, including discovery, mediation, law and motion and trials, as well as representing fiduciaries in the administration of estates and trusts. Lindsey has represented clients in a range of capacities including as trustees, beneficiaries, executors, creditors, heirs, and conservators, in all manner of disputes, and for estates valued in the tens of millions of dollars. Lindsey also has a background in tax planning and tax controversy. While working towards her LL.M., Lindsey interned with the I.R.S. Office of Chief Counsel, where she successfully argued a tax deficiency case in Tax Court.

Lindsey has shared her legal knowledge and experience with the Los Angeles community as an adjunct professor of Trusts and Estates with Glendale University College of Law for two years and through speaking engagements on probate matters with the National Business Institute. Lindsey has also been named as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine for three years in a row (2016-2018) and as one of the Top Women Attorneys in Southern California.

Lindsey’s knowledge of both the planning and drafting aspect of trusts and estates brings a unique perspective to the litigation department of Keystone and the clients she represents.

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.

Keith S. Walker, Esq.
Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law
Law Offices of Keith S. Walker

 Bio coming soon!


Registration fees are per person.

Individual: $750

Group: $725 per person for 2 or more from the same company pre-registering at the same time

Government employee: $625

Registration fees include a networking lunch on Day One. Lunch on your own on Day Two.



CLE Credits

CA General:  This program is approved for approximately 8.25 units of general CLE in California.

CA Certified Legal Specialist:  This program is approved for approximately 8.25 units of Certified Legal Specialist CLE in California in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law until September 18, 2021.

NJ General: The LIVE session of this course is approved, under New Jersey’s CLE Approved Jurisdiction policy, for 8.5 CLE units. Pincus Professional Education is a CA Accredited Provider, which is a NJ approved jurisdiction. See the New Jersey State CLE Board Regulations and Guidelines for further information.

NY General: The LIVE session of this course is approved, under New York’s CLE Approved Jurisdiction policy, for 8.5 CLE units. Pincus Professional Education is a CA Accredited Provider, which is a NY approved jurisdiction. See Section 6 of the New York State CLE Board Regulations and Guidelines for further information.

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 & Refund 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.

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.

For policies related to audio products, please select “I want a download or CD” on the right.

$625.00$750.00 each

September 19-20, 2019 | Los Angeles, CA


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