Bay Area Probate Lawyers & Trust Attorneys

At RMO, our probate lawyers and trust litigation attorneys have the experience to effectively assist beneficiaries, heirs, families, and clients. Our attorneys have been recognized by SuperLawyers, AVVO, and Martindale-Hubble as the best in the Bay Area.

2121 North California Blvd., Suite 290, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

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Probate & Trust Services We Offer

Between having to navigate specific legal processes and resolve any potential disputes, facing trust litigation, probate, and related circumstances presents several challenges. An experienced attorney can make all the difference. As some of the most trusted trust litigation and probate attorneys in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, we represent clients in all the following areas and more.

Who We Represent

Trust and probate litigation issues can feature several interested parties. We represent all kinds of clients throughout the Bay Area, working to simplify the trust litigation and probate processes by bringing about a fair resolution to potential disputes.

TRUSTEES

Trustees have a complicated responsibility in the trust litigation process, as they’re responsible for carrying out the fair administration of a trust and navigating disputes. A trust attorney can assist trustees in understanding their full legal responsibilities, upholding their fiduciary duties, and resolving any potential disputes. Our San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland trust attorneys can support trustees by offering guidance for navigating important legal processes, offering strategic advice, and defending against claims of misconduct, and more.

BENEFICIARIES AND HEIRS

Beneficiaries and heirs have specific claims to an inheritance as outlined by a will or trust, but several factors can complicate the process. For example, a beneficiary may face disputes from other interested parties about the allocation of an inheritance or may have concerns surrounding the conduct of trustees.

Our Bay Area trust attorneys will support beneficiaries and heirs by protecting their rights, resolving disputes surrounding trust allocations, and assisting them in receiving their rightful inheritance.

SPOUSES

Losing a spouse is a difficult and emotional time—this process is not made any easier by also having to navigate difficult legal proceedings for the sake of ensuring the fair and equitable distribution of the estate. Spouses may have to navigate trust disputes with other parties related to the allocation of assets, follow specific procedures to assert their rights to a trust or pursue a special petition. A trust attorney in San Francisco, San Jose, or Oakland can help preserve the rights and interests of spouses by offering legal guidance and representation when disputes arise.

Who hires RMO Lawyers

 

CONSERVATORS & GUARDIANS

If you are a conservator or guardian and your conservatee or ward has passed, legal representation can help resolve potential disputes between beneficiaries regarding their assets. Our attorneys at RMO can represent conservators and guardians in several steps of the process, from establishing an arrangement to ensuring proper trust administration and resolving disputes surrounding their assets. In a wide range of cases, we can help to find a resolution that protects the individual’s best interests.

CREDITORS

A creditor is any party to whom a deceased individual owed money at the time of their death. For a creditor to obtain restitution from an estate after an individual’s passing, most states require that they act within a specified amount of time to assert their claim. Our attorneys can represent creditors in this process to help them receive the debts they’re owed. We’ll offer support in filing legal claims, negotiating settlements, and resolving debt disputes to recuperate financial losses.

Why Hire RMO Lawyers?

Clients in the San Francisco, Oakland, Silicon Valley, and San Jose area recognize us as some of the best lawyers in the area. Not only that, they recognize us as even better people. We strive to not only be the best representatives for our clients in the courtroom but also do right by our community as quality individuals in the process. Throughout every step, we prioritize who you are, your goals, and your bottom line. 

In everything we do, we’re driven by our core values:

  • Lead with Empathy
  • Be Authentic
  • We’re Stronger Together
  • Zealous Efficacy

What do these values mean for you? They mean you can expect us to go to every length to understand your case and find you an appropriate resolution. We take extra time to listen to you and your needs, understand the family dynamics that influence the case, and learn the facts. We’ll use this understanding to develop a winning strategy and bring about the best possible outcome for you.

CLIENT TESTIMONIALS

Our Case Results

RMO has a proven track record of protecting people and defending legacies.

TRIAL VICTORIES

TRUSTEES

PROBATE ESTATE EXECUTORS & ADMINISTRATORS

BENEFICIARIES & HEIRS

SPOUSES

CONSERVATORSHIPS/GUARDIANSHIPS

PROBATE APPEALS

FINANCIAL ELDER ABUSE

TRIAL VICTORIES

TRUSTEES

PROBATE ESTATE EXECUTORS & ADMINISTRATORS

BENEFICIARIES & HEIRS

SPOUSES

CONSERVATORSHIPS/
GUARDIANSHIPS

PROBATE APPEALS

FINANCIAL ELDER ABUSE

Trust Amendment Invalidated for Undue Influence
After trial, awarded a seven-figure judgment, plus attorney’s fees and costs on behalf of the elderly niece of the decedent, where auntie’s neighbor/caregiver used undue influence to connive her way into becoming the primary beneficiary of her trust shortly before she passed.
Defense of Trustee Against Breach of Fiduciary Duty for Imprudent Investments
Defended the successor trustee of a family trust against claims from his brother that he had breached his fiduciary duty to invest trust assets prudently when a concentrated commodity position he amassed lost essentially all its value swiftly. The probate court denied the charge on evidence presented by RMO that the trust’s broad investment powers and the deceased settlor’s speculative investment meant there the investment loss could not constitute a breach.
Recovery of Stolen Trust Property + Double Damages and Attorney’s Fees
Representing the successor professional fiduciary trustee, secured a seven-figure probate court judgment, plus double damages, attorney’s fees and costs in recovering real property that had been transferred and stolen by an unscrupulous trust beneficiary.
Addressing Grandma’s Stolen Home
On behalf of the granddaughter administrator of grandma’s probate estate, secured a judgment against grandma’s daughter and son-in-law to recover title to grandma’s home and monies wrongfully withdrawn against the property.
Dependent Adult Financial Abuse Remedied
Secured the intestate probate estate of our clients, the rightful heirs of their cousin’s estate, who had fallen prey to an ex-con drug dealer “friend” who had coerced the cousin to sign will documents while dying in his hospital bed.
Thieving Neighbor’s Financial Elder Abuse Rectified, With Double Damages
Representing the institutional successor trustee of a family trust, obtained a financial elder abuse judgment against a neighbor “friend” abuser who had taken significant sums of money from an elderly man just months before he died, including double damages interest, attorney’s fees and costs.
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Summary Adjudication of Disinherited Beneficiary’s Trust Contest
Swiftly secured the dismissal of a trust contest of a disgruntled, disinherited trust beneficiary on a motion after strategically allowing the trust contest period to expire before serving a notice of proposed action to distribute trust assets to the trust’s remaining beneficiaries and nothing to the disinherited beneficiary.
Secured Family’s Business Legacy
Representing the successor family trustee, secured the generational family business for the decedent’s heirs by acquiring from a disgruntled beneficiary their interest in the family business on extremely favorable terms that will allow the family to continue operating the family business for future generations to come.
Defense of Financial Elder Abuse Claim Against Surviving Spouse Trustee
Successfully defended a surviving spouse trustee against financial elder abuse and other claims made by family members who said she had fraudulently transferred assets to herself from her late husband’s trust and estate.
Prevented Trustee Removal for Badly-Lawyered Trust Accounting
Staved off suspension, removal and surcharge for a trustee who had failed to properly or timely provide court-ordered trust accountings to trust beneficiaries and was staring down an imminent deadline, as well as suspension, removal and surcharge.
Trustee Removal for Fraud
Neutralized and secured removal of a hostile co-trustee who was attempting to bilk our client’s trust of millions of dollars through a series of fabricated claims.
Thieving Trustee Removed and Surcharged
Secured removal of a thieving co-trustee daughter whose malfeasance left her own mother destitute and unable to pay her bills, including recovery of the stolen assets, attorney fees and costs.
Trust Beneficiary Dispute Squashed & Partition Avoided
Swooped in on behalf of an institutional trustee after years of protracted litigation to secure a decision from the Los Angeles probate court to end a years-long dispute between feuding siblings over the distribution of their parents’ estate, avoiding distribution of assets in-kind, which would have only resulted in partition.
Sub-Trust Allocations Defended
Client’s mother survived step-dad and succeeded him as trustee of their family trust. After mom passed, step-dad’s children alleged she had improperly allocated trust assets to favor her survivor’s trust, which went to our client, over the marital trust, which went to step-dad’s children. Using historic appraisals and valuations, demonstrated the disputed allocation was reasonable, resolving the dispute.
Inept Trustee Removed & Client Appointed Successor Trustee to Save Estate
Non-responsive and ineffective trustee who had done little to nothing to administer the trust or protect trust assets from waste following decedent’s passing was removed and our client appointed as successor trustee by the probate court, avoiding further damage.
Racist Trustee Removed and Surcharged
Removed and obtained surcharge of a non-beneficiary family trustee who hurled racial epthets at our client, refused to account, and tried to sell the house intended for our sole trust beneficiary client out of spite, securing the home for our client and her family.
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Mom’s House and Legacy Saved from Foreclosure
Prevented foreclosure of mom’s house - the estate’s only significant asset - by securing ex parte appointment as Special Administrator and then obtaining a temporary restraining order preventing the home’s foreclosure so the property could be sold, securing mom’s legacy for her children and grandchildren.
Family Jewels Recovered
On behalf of a professional fiduciary, convinced the probate court to award our client double damages, attorney’s fees and costs in addition to recovery of significant personal property wrongfully taken from - and refused to be returned to - the estate.
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Saving the Family Farm
Helped family members recover ownership of the multi-million dollar family farm that had been transferred out of an irrevocable trust improperly by an unscrupulous trustee through the fraudulent use of a decanting statute.
Estate Administrator’s Fraudulent Probate Accounting Revealed
Represented decedent’s children in a contested probate accounting over various expenses the administrator attempted to charge against the estate, and then further successfully obtained an order from the court shifting a portion of the client’s fees and cost to several unrepresented heirs through a “common fund” theory of fee recovery.
“Death Bed” Trust Amendment Thwarted
Within weeks, secured evidence sufficient to convince the surviving step-parent perpetrator of a “death bed” trust amendment that disinherited our client to abandon the amendment and pay our client his high seven-figure inheritance.
Holographic Trust Amendment Neutered
Secured summary judgment on behalf of a trust beneficiary where the trustee claimed a holographic trust amendment halved our client’s inheritance, resulting in our client receiving her full inheritance and the trust paying her attorney’s fees and costs.
Invalidated Assignment of Elder Beneficiary’s Interest
Secured an elderly client’s rightful inheritance from her brother’s estate, invalidating the ill-gotten assignment the brother’s widow and her attorney had secured from her using subterfuge and without advising her to seek her own counsel.
Disputed Heirship Recognized
Effectuated heirship for the secret scion daughter of the decedent, who learned of his daughter only late in life and came to celebrate their relationship and hold her out to his community and confidants, but refrained from sharing their relationship with his wife and daughter, which led to disputed heirship after he passed.
Another “Death Bed” Trust Amendment Avoided
Within 45 days of engagement, secured 125% of our clients’ original bequests, plus attorney’s fees and costs, from their long-time friend’s estate after the 85 year-old decedent’s new “husband” unduly influenced the creation of a trust amendment to take the entirety of the estate for himself.
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Third Time’s The Charm - Eight Figure Trust Saved for Surviving Spouse
Represented the surviving spouse of her deceased husband’s high eight figure trust estate, which, through some ill-advised estate planning, had left the client as a co-fiduciary with her estranged stepson and a bungling property manager. Prior litigation with previous counsel resulted only in our client’s resignation, which allowed the bunglers to further waste trust assets. Secured a final, global resolution for the surviving spouse that secured the resignations of the “bad” trustees and replaced them with an institutional trustee who is working to remedy their bad acts and save the estate.
Long Overdue Child Support Secured from Deadbeat Dad’s Estate
Represented former spouse in collecting long-unpaid child support through creditor’s claim procedure from her ex-husband’s estate.
Retirement Benefits Secured for Surviving Spouse
Represented the surviving spouse in successfully defending her status as beneficiary of her deceased husband’s retirement benefits against contest by the decedent’s former wife and children, who had claimed lack of capacity and undue influence.
Disposed of Interloping Ex-Spouse’s Trust Contest
Represented the surviving spouse trustee of her deceased husband’s trust against a trust contest on the grounds of incapacity and undue influence by the husband’s first wife - and his children from that marriage - all of whom had been disinherited by the decedent. Deployed tried and true probate litigation tactics to put the interlopers to task, which resulted in the court dismissing their claims, saving significant time and money.
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Online Romance Fraud Halted
Established an emergency conservatorship of the estate of a divorcee who had been ensnared by Nigerian fraudsters,who had infiltrated, isolated, defrauded and unduly influenced her into sending them millions, leaving her destitute and unable to buy food.
Conservatee Protected, Financial Advisor Fraudster Barred from Industry
Represented a court-appointed guardian ad litem in securing a prosecution agreement with counsel for the conservator of an institutionalized dementia patient who was taken advantage of financially by her financial advisor, leading to his permanent bar from the financial services industry.
Protected Elder Father from His Own Daughters
On behalf of his wife, established conservatorship of an elderly man over the protests of his daughters, who were his attorneys-in-fact and nominated conservators, living rent-free in his properties, and had repeatedly threatened to withhold caregiving. Secured ex parte suspension of the daughters’ powers of attorney and appointment of a private professional fiduciary to protect dad, which was granted by probate court.
Grandmother Safeguarded
Secured appointment of a private professional fiduciary for grandmother on behalf of grandson, and over the objections of grandson’s aunt, who, along with her husband, had been exploiting grandma financially, securing grandma’s return home and well being.
Guardianships for Kidnapped Parent
In two separate cases, established a guardianship for our client on behalf of their parent after the parent was secretly moved across state lines by our clients’ siblings so the kidnapping sibling could take financial advantage of the parent.
Conservatorship Thwarted
Defeated wife’s attempt to have herself appointed as conservator for husband when dad resisted wife’s efforts to unduly influence him to change his estate plan in her favor.
Conservatorship Financial Abuser Defeated
Defeated financial abusing neighbor’s attempts to establish himself as conservator for his elderly neighbor, from whom he had transferred her properties into his name, added himself to her accounts, and changed her estate planning documents to name himself as executor, trustee and sole beneficiary.
Parents Protected from Feuding Daughters
Represented the private professional fiduciary appointee in securing appointment in contested conservatorships for mom and dad where the parents had become the victims of their daughters’ infighting and efforts to control them and their finances.
Two Dads Protected from their Feuding Sons
In separate cases, secured appointment of a private professional fiduciary to serve as conservator for each dad to protect him from a ne'er do well son who was taking advantage of him financially.
Conservatorship for Wandering Mom
On behalf of daughter, established conservatorship for mom, whose dementia manifested itself in part in wandering, over the objection of mom’s live-in boyfriend, who failed to protect mom from wandering and, investigation showed, was taking financial advantage of mom.
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Jurisdiction ≠ Forum Non Convenience
In a published opinion, obtained reversal of a lower court decision confusing jurisdiction with forum non conviens, re-establishing the trust beneficiary’s right to continue prosecuting his fraud, undue influence, and financial elder abuse claims.
Settlement Approved, Confirmed and Enforced
Represented trustee, at trial and on appeal, to enforce a settlement agreement addressing his co-trustee’s a breach of fiduciary duties, after the offending co-trustee fraudulently claimed he had satisfied his obligations under the agreement.
Trust Contest Win Buttressed
Successfully defended trustee and sole beneficiary against trust contest by disinherited heir. Then, when the trial judge erroneously entered judgment creating potential exposure for subsequent litigation, prevailed on appeal to modify the judgment to insulate the trustee from any possible further litigation.
Life Insurance Proceeds Confirmed as Trust Asset
Represented trustee of irrevocable trust in a published appellate decision confirming the trust could be funded properly with life insurance proceeds even though all formalities typically required by the terms of the life insurance policy had not been satisfied.
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Forged Estate Planning Documents Disregarded
Secured the estate of our client’s late father, who had been victimized by childhood friends who had forged estate planning documents to steal his estate from his family.
Fraudulent Property Transfers Invalidated
Secured return of our client’s home value after her daughter and son-in-law moved into the home under the guise of “helping” her, only to defraud her into signing documents signing her home over to them, after which they forced her out of her home.
Caregiver “Girlfriend’s” Grift Righted
Recovered the home of an infirm, institutionalized senior who had been victimized by his “girlfriend,” an opportunistic volunteer at his care facility, securing his golden years.
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IN THE NEWS

RMO LLP’s Founder Scott E. Rahn Named to National Law Journal’s List of “Elite Boutique Trailblazers”

published on PRNewswire
Scott E. Rahn, founding and managing partner of RMO LLP, has been named to the National Law Journal’s “Elite Boutique Trailblazers.” National Law Journal compiles the list to “spotlight those making a big difference,” and describes those chosen for the honor as having “shown a deep passion and perseverance in pursuit of their mission, having…

Winning Appeal Sets New Standard in Contract Law

Appellants challenging the removal of a trust manager have prevailed in a first-of-its-kind decision that sets new standards in California contract law.

The defendant successfully asked the Second Appellate District to overturn an order from Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Gregory W. Alarcon that allowed plaintiff and co-trustee Harry Roussos to hand select a replacement in favor of the proper fund-appointed director. The dispute was between several entities and trusts that invest in residential real estate.