Fewer than 100 of the approximately 15,000 licensed attorneys in the county have earned the "Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law" designation from the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.
The reasons for and the significance of the designation are explained below, adapted from the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization brochure What Can a Certified Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Specialist Do for You?:
What does it mean when an attorney is a Certified Specialist?
A Certified Specialist is more than just an attorney who specializes in a particular area of law. An attorney who is certified by the California State Bar as an Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Specialist must have:
Taken and passed a comprehensive full-day written examination in estate planning, trust, and probate law administered by the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization;
Demonstrated a high level of expertise and requisite number of years of experience in estate planning, trust, and probate law;
Fulfilled mandated ongoing education requirements in estate planning, trust, and probate law;
Been favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with his or her estate planning, trust, and probate work.
Why does the State Bar certify legal specialists?
To help the public identify attorneys who have demonstrated proficiency in specialized fields of law;
To encourage the maintenance and improvement of attorney competence in specialized fields of law.
Estate planning, trust, and probate law is complex and constantly changing - a Certified Specialist stays current with the law.
What can a certified Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Specialist do for you?
Create and implement your estate plan by preparing wills and trusts;
Minimize death, gift, and income taxes in connection with your estate plan;
Assist with probate, trust, conservatorship, and guardianship proceedings and disputes.
Every individual attorney sets her or his own fees based upon the complexity of each particular case -- a Certified Specialist designation does not at all mean it will cost you more money.
Whether your situation is simple or complex, consider hiring an attorney who is a "Certified Specialist in Estate Planing, Trust & Probate Law" by the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization - an attorney who is committed through certification to maintaining proficiency in estate planning, trust, and probate law through continual practice and continuing education.
If you have any questions or concerns about any aspect of estate planning, probate, or trust law, please feel free to call (949) 497-5056 or email LDaff@estateplaninc.com. I'll be happy to hear from you and will do my best to help - Leslie