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

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

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This beginner level seminar walks you through the steps you need to know to have an estate planning practice. The program starts with how you should handle the initial interview and what ethical considerations may arise. Get an overview of tax issues the practitioner needs to consider when helping their clients and creating trusts.

You’ll also learn about the principal estate planning documents you need to consider for your clients when creating their trusts.

This audio program will review fiduciaries, responsibilities, and ethical considerations. Different types of Power of Attorney documents are covered, as well as Advance Health Care Directives and Funding Documents, such as Deeds and LLCs and Partnerships.

Find out the typical controversies that come up in estate planning related litigation and listen to a review of practical applications with hypothetical examples.

This program was recorded in 2014.

What You Will Learn

Intitial Interview – Ethical Considerations

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

Tax Overview

  • Transfer Tax Exemptions
    • Gift
    • Estate
    • Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax
  • Portability
  • Income Tax

Principal Estate Planning Documents

  • Wills
    • Independent vs. pour over
    • Guardianship provisions
    • Miscellaneous provisions
    • Execution requirements
  • Trusts
    • Community property vs. separate property
    • 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
    • Personal Effects

Principal Estate Planning Documents Cont.

  • Common distribution provisions
  • Powers of appointment
  • Fiduciary duties of trustee
    • Reporting requirements
    • Waivers and exoneration
  • Incentive provisions
  • No contest clauses
  • Charitable Giving
    • Outright gifts
    • Private foundations
    • Donor advised funds

Additional Estate Planning Documents

  • Fiduciaries
    • Types
    • Duties
    • Consistency of fiduciaries
    • Other considerations
  • 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


  • Example 1: Small estate under $10 million
  • Example 2: Larger estate over $10 million


“Excellent!” – Mark Allen Wilson, Esq.

“Good overview of estate planning nuts and bolts.”


“Excellent seminar for attorneys brancing out into this area of estate planning.”

“Excellent presentation.”


Gary Rothstein, Esq.
Weintraub Tobin Chediak Coleman and Grodin

Mr. Rothstein’s practice has focused on trust and probate matters and estate planning, since 1993.  He handles complex estate planning for individuals and families, advising clients on advanced estate-planning techniques, including revocable and irrevocable trusts, life insurance trusts, family limited partnerships and charitable giving vehicles.

Mr. Rothstein has represented corporate and individual fiduciaries and beneficiaries in all areas of trust administration ranging from initial funding of trusts to representing clients in court in connection with disputes between fiduciaries, beneficiaries and creditors.  He has counseled numerous fiduciaries and beneficiaries through all phases of contested and uncontested probate administration proceedings.

Mr. Rothstein prepares estate tax returns and gift tax returns and represents clients in federal estate tax controversies.  Mr. Rothstein also prepares organizational documents for nonprofit organizations and represents such organizations in obtaining tax-exempt status at the federal and state level.  He also represents clients in conservatorship matters.

Mr. Rothstein as been recognized in "Best Lawyers in America 2016" for his work in Trust & Estate litigation.

Adam L. Streltzer, Esq.
Lead Litigation Counsel
Adam L. Streltzer, Attorney at Law

Adam L. Streltzer is the firm’s lead litigation counsel. Adam formerly practiced with the law firm of Weinstock, Manion, Reisman, Shore & Neumann, in Century City, where he was engaged in probate, trust, estate, and fiduciary litigation. He litigates issues concerning the rights, duties, responsibilities, money, and property of the deceased, incompetent, spendthrift, and bankrupt.

Adam is a member of the State Bar of California, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Beverly Hills Bar Association, and Commercial Law League of America. He is admitted to practice before all of the courts of the State of California, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, U.S. District Court for all federal court districts in California (Central, Northern, Southern, and Eastern), and the U.S. Tax Court. He is also a member of the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s Probate Volunteer Panel (PVP) program.

Adam was recognized as one of the top Southern California Super Lawyers 2013 repeating the accolade from 2012, 2011 and 2007. His professional services have been recognized in major news outlets, including the Orange County Register, Associated Press, and Los Angeles Daily Journal, as part of the litigation over the estate of one of the founders of the TapouT business empire.

Prior to joining the Weinstock firm, Adam was a partner with the law firm of Kamanski Streltzer, LLP, where he developed substantial experience in the fields of business litigation, creditor’s rights, and commercial collections, with a primary emphasis in judgment enforcement. Adam transitioned to the Weinstock firm after collaborating with the firm’s attorneys on several trust, estate and fiduciary matters falling outside of probate court jurisdiction.

Adam was also formerly an associate with the law firm Cantor & Weinshenk, where he represented banks, lenders and trade creditors in the state and federal court systems in business disputes, collections cases, and for the enforcement of creditors’ rights, and also provided general business advice to small to medium sized businesses.

Adam Streltzer obtained his J.D. in 1994 from the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific with Honors at Entrance Award. Prior to law school, he obtained his B.A. in Applied Geography in 1991 from San Diego State University, along with a Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and graduated ‘With Distinction’ and Dean’s List honors.

Willow A. McJilton, Esq.
Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, State Bar of CA Board of Legal Specialization
Willow A. Mc Jilton, APC

Willow is a Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization, California State Bar.

Willow was born and raised in southern California. She graduated from UC Irvine in 1998 with a B.A. in Criminology, Law & Society, and a B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior. After working in the non-profit sector for two years, Willow moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA School of Law.

Since graduating from UCLA in 2003, Willow has worked exclusively in the fields of estate planning and trust administration with two prestigious estate planning firms in Century City. Willow began her own estate planning firm in 2010.

Willow has been an instructor with UCLA Extension since 2007, teaching courses in estate planning. Willow served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Trusts & Estates Section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association (2004 – 2010) and Chair of such section (2009 – 2010).

Willow was featured as a "Rising Star" in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 by Southern California’s Super Lawyers magazine.

Christopher B. Johnson, Esq.
Attorney at Law
Law Offices of Christopher B. Johnson

Christopher B. Johnson focuses his practice on the areas of trusts, wills, estate planning, probate and trust litigation and elder law.  He is based in Pasadena and is of counsel to the Skapik Law Group in Chino Hills. 

He is a 1994 graduate of Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, California. He was a Dean’s Scholar, and an extern at the legal department of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., and for the Honorable Barry Russell, Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and Bankruptcy Appellate Panel. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Wheaton College in 1991. He is admitted to practice in all California state courts and the United States District Court, Central District.

Prior to establishing his own practice, he was a Senior Vice President and Senior Trust Officer with U.S. Trust, serving Southern California high net worth and ultra high net worth families in their wealth transfer planning and with trust services. Before U.S. Trust, he was a founding member of the Arroyo Law Group, Russakow | Ryan | Johnson, and his own estate planning and probate practice in Pasadena, as well as a civil litigation lawyer for the Law Office of Errol Berk in Ventura. He has appeared on NBC-TV news and radio programs to discuss estate planning and probate issues and is a frequent speaker to attorneys and community groups, and has just been named to MyLawCLE’s advisory board. He is a member of the Trusts & Estates sections of the Los Angeles County and Pasadena Bar Associations, the City of Hope Music and Entertainment Industry Committee and the board of the Cancer Support Community – Pasadena.

He is also the proud father of two sons and enjoys biking, tennis, traveling and architecture appreciation in his spare time.  He is a Southern California native, having grown up in Arcadia and Palm Springs, and is the third generation of his family to work in estate planning.

Abby L.T. Feinman, Esq.
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

Abby L.T. Feinman is head of the Los Angeles Trusts and Estates Practice. Ms. Feinman’s broad and dynamic national practice centers around private client matters focusing on sophisticated tax planning for individuals, charitable planning, post-death administration and controversies concerning trusts and estates. Her clients include wealthy individuals, families with bicoastal and global connections, real estate entrepreneurs, business owners, art collectors, corporate fiduciaries, individual fiduciaries, individuals with family members having special needs and private foundations.

Ms. Feinman is active in the community and devotes significant time to Cedars Sinai Medical Center, where she serves as a member of the Executive Cabinet to the Board of Governors and chairs the Young Governors section of the Board. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Jewish Community Foundation in Los Angeles.

Ms. Feinman has been selected for inclusion in Southern California Super Lawyers for Estate Planning and Trusts (2006–2013), and named to The Best Lawyers in America (2010–2013).

Ms. Feinman is a frequent lecturer on various topics, including tax planning opportunities using private annuity sales, supercharging QPRTs, and tax and transfer planning for art collectors. She has given speeches and educational seminars at and for international conferences, family office events, estate planning councils, banking institutions, trust offices, the California State Bar Association, museums and the LA Art Show.

Ms. Feinman earned her undergraduate degree (BS) from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and her law degree (JD) from Northwestern University School of Law. She is licensed to practice in California, New York, Connecticut and Florida.

Daniel B. Herbert, Esq.
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 Annual Symposia of its Real Property, Trust & Estate Section in Washington DC in 2009 (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 and 2016.

For Pincus Professional Education, he presented specialist-certification courses in 2013 and 2015, a trust and estate boot-camp in 2014, a probate practical course in 2016, and an advanced estate planning seminar (Complicated Estate Planning – Strategic Options) in 2016. 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 State Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, Los Angeles County Bar Association, and Pasadena Bar Association.


Veronica K. Cerruti, Esq.
Partner, Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, State Bar of CA Board of Legal Specialization
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. 



Audio Course Material Package Download: $425

Audio Course Material Package CD: $425, plus $7.50 shipping and, in CA, sales tax.

CLE Credit

CA General:  This program is approved for 6.0 units of general CLE in California.

CA Certified Legal Specialist: This program is approved for 6.5 hours of California Legal Specialist Credit in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law. Subfield areas/hours include: A: .25 hours; B: 4.5 hours; C: 1.00 hours; E: .50 hours.

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 $7.50 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

This beginner level seminar will walk you through the steps you need to know to have an estate planning practice. The program will start with how you should handle the initial interview and what ethical considerations may arise. Recorded in 2014.