Meet the Speakers
Frank R. Acuña is a founding partner of Acuña Regli, LLP, located in Pleasant Hill, California, with a satellite offices in Fairfield, California, and Oakland, California. Mr. Acuña is certified by the State Bar of California as an estate planning, probate, and trust administration specialist. His practice is built around the needs of tax professionals and includes estate planning, probate and trust law, business succession planning, and inheritance litigation.

Vincent has been a nurse for 6 years now, primarily focusing on geriatrics and Memory Care. In Home Health and Hospice, he was able to gain the understanding that the patient needs always goes beyond the physical, and that the emotional and social support can make the difference between positive and negative outcomes. As a memory Care Coordinator, he helped to oversee and structure the caregiver/resident relationship, so that the families could feel comfortable when faced with putting the daily care in the hands of someone else. At Care Indeed, he has been part of the initial intake process, which provided him invaluable experiences in managing clients’ pain points and addressing their needs. Vince has been able to leverage his background to devise specialized training programs for the caregivers, so that individual plans of care can take into consideration the total needs of the client, and that the caregivers are given a resource to gain knowledge and confidence in their roles.

Dr.Mehrdad Ayati, well known nationally and internationally in the field of Geriatric Medicine, is a speaker, author, and educator. He is an adjunct clinical assistant professor at Stanford University School of Medicine and a member of Ethnogeraitric and Quality and Policy Measurement of American Geriatric Society. Dr. Ayati is an advisor for many organizations related to the aging population, including Alzheimer's Association, Nothern California, Nevada chapter and SRI( Stanford Research Institute), and U.S Senate special committee on Aging.

Robert Barton is an attorney in Holland & Knight's Private Wealth Services Group. He represents individuals, families, charitable institutions, corporate trustees and private professional fiduciaries in litigation involving complex trusts and estates. He also provides guidance on trust and estate administration, conservatorship and guardianship matters, as well as claims involving elder abuse.

Paul Bartschi is a Senior Financial Advisor and Vice President with the Special Needs Team at Merrill Lynch. Paul works closely with trust attorneys and fiduciaries, helping them better serve their clients by developing customized financial roadmaps that reflect each client’s unique needs and priorities. He is skilled in anticipating critical decision points in a client’s financial life, assembling the information and resources that facilitate informed analysis and cohesive tactics. A clear communicator, Paul enjoys unwinding complexity, assisting clients in developing a more purposeful path forward.

Michaelle L. Baumert is a Principal in the Omaha, Nebraska, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She is a seasoned litigator and has extensive experience in human resources counseling. Ms. Baumert’s practice also has an emphasis on labor and employment issues and concerns in the franchise context.

Yevgeny L. Belous is a partner at Rodnunsky & Associates, a Trusts and Estates Firm located in Woodland Hills, California. For 10 years, Mr. Belous has been practicing exclusively in the areas of trusts and estates, conservatorships, guardianships, estate planning and probate litigation. A large portion of Mr. Belous’ practice is devoted to representing professional fiduciaries in court proceedings and private trusts. This includes representing professional fiduciaries under investigation by the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau.

Ms. Boehmer has been in practice over 15 years, serving as the President of the Professional Fiduciaries Association of California (PFAC) from 2011 to 2013. She is also a certified mediator through the Los Angeles County Bar Association. She has been an outstanding advocate and backer of legislation aimed at improving the fiduciary profession and standards in California. Ms. Boehmer, who is also a licensed tax preparer, has owned and operated Norine Boehmer Management, Inc. since 2000.

Choi Chio earned a Bachelor and Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at San Jose State University and a post-professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy with an aging elective at the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. Dr. Chio has over 10 years of experience working as an occupational therapist and fieldwork educator primarily in different geriatric settings including Subacute Skilled Nursing Facilities, Assisted Living Facilities, Independence Living Facilities, adult day care center, outpatient service, and home health care. She is enthusiastic about aging in place and developing different intervention programs for optimal treatment outcomes. Choi is passionate about occupational therapy with practical and functional techniques in assisting clients with physical, neurological, and/or cognitive disabilities, and comorbidities.

Caitlin Cogan is a professional fiduciary. Ms. Cogan owns her own practice in Long Beach and covers all of Los Angeles and Orange County. Ms. Cogan is not afraid of complex matters and works on conservatorships, trusts, probate, guardianships, special needs trusts and more. She has been a licensed fiduciary since 2017 with experience in the field for over 8 years. Ms. Cogan attended Cal State Fullerton and completed the Fiduciary program there.

LINDA COHEN, the Kindness Catalyst, is a nationally recognized expert and professional speaker and consultant on Cultivating Kindness. Her first book, 1,000 Mitzvahs: How Small Acts of Kindness Can Heal, Inspire and Change Your Life, is an inspirational guide to a life of gratitude. Cohen teaches associations and organizations the ROI of kindness. She inspires and deftly elicits stories from others, captivating the audience through her interactive and engaging keynotes and workshops.


Ed Corey is a shareholder in the firm’s Trusts and Estates practice group. His practice focuses on estate and trust litigation, fiduciary abuse, elder financial abuse, contested trust administrations, probate, and contested conservatorships. Ed has extensive trial, arbitration, mediation, and appellate experience, and has successfully litigated a number of high-profile trust and elder financial abuse cases in Northern California.

Ed’s experience enables him to counsel clients on matters involving family or personal conflict and advise them of their rights, duties, and responsibilities. If matters cannot be resolved with dispute resolution alternatives, Ed will take the matter to trial.

Ed is a respected expert in trust and estate litigation and elder financial abuse and is a sought-after speaker on both topics. He has testified before the legislature on topics related to trust and estate matters, conservatorships, and elder financial abuse and has assisted in drafting relevant legislation. Ed is the former Chair of the California State Bar’s Trust and Estates Committee and former member of the Judicial Council of California of California Probate and Mental Health Advisory Committee.


HON. DAVID J. COWAN is Supervising Judge of the Probate and Mental Health Depts. of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. In that capacity, he oversees sixteen courtrooms and works with the other judges, Court management and justice partners on the operations of the Court for these disciplines. He serves on the Court’s Operations and Executive Committees. Since March 2018, he has been sitting in Dept. 3 of the Mosk Courthouse – focused solely on long or complex Probate trials and settlement conferences. Previously, he spent five years handling a Probate calendar and trial assignment; managing and deciding decedent estates, trusts, guardianships and conservatorship cases.

Judge Cowan is a member of the Probate and Mental Health Advisory Committee to the Judicial Council of the State of California, as well as Vice-Chair of the Probate Law Committee of the California Judges Association.

Judge Cowan was appointed a Judge of the Court by Governor Jerry Brown in June 2014. Previously, Judge Cowan served as a Court Commissioner for almost nine years. For much of that time, Judge Cowan was assigned to the Santa Monica Courthouse where he had a Family Law calendar and handled all Family Law cases filed in the West District of the Court.

Prior to going on the bench, Judge Cowan practiced business and real estate litigation for seventeen years; initially with Rogers & Wells. Later, he started his own office which he had until going on the bench.

Judge Cowan received his J.D. from Univ. of Calif., Hastings College of the Law and B.A. from Columbia University.

Since 2007, Judge Cowan has taught as an Adjunct Professor at Loyola Law School. He currently teaches Trusts & Wills. Judge Cowan is also a frequent speaker to Bar Associations on Probate issues.


Daniel Cutter is a First Vice President and Senior Financial Advisor with the Special Needs Team at Merrill Lynch. Headquartered in San Francisco, Dan works with clients throughout the West, providing tailored advice and guidance to enhance the long-term financial well-being of special-needs, disabled and elderly individuals. He is particularly skilled in working with clients’ external trust and legal advisors to design customized programs squarely focused on the well-being of the client. His areas of focus include Special Needs Trusts, government benefits, trust administration, the Uniform Prudent Investor Act, and California Probate Code.

Dan began his wealth management career in 1999. Prior to joining Merrill Lynch in 2005, he served as a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley. He earned his M.B.A. with a concentration in Finance from the University of San Francisco and holds the Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM designation awarded by the College for Financial Planning. Dan has served as a consultant for two major legal publications: Special Needs Trusts: Planning, Drafting, and Administration through the California Continuing Education of the Bar, and Administrating the California Special Needs Trust.

Stephen W. Dale received his JD from Armstrong Law School and his LL.M. in Taxation from Golden Gate University in 2001. The Dale Law Firm was established in 1992 in order to provide quality estate planning to clients by working cooperatively with the clients' tax, financial and insurance professionals.


Kelly is a shareholder in Weintraub Tobin’s Trusts and Estates practice group. Her practice focuses on helping families navigate the difficult issues that can arise when elders become incapacitated or family members pass away. Kelly combines her litigation experience with a thorough knowledge of probate law to help clients resolve trust and probate disputes including elder financial abuse claims, contested conservatorships, will and trust contests, contested accountings, breach of fiduciary duty claims, and other contested and uncontested matters involving the administration of trusts and estates.

Kelly also represents beneficiaries as well corporate and individual trustees, executors, and other fiduciaries in a wide range of uncontested matters, including interpretation of complex estate planning documents, accountings, petitions for instructions, and petitions for construction of trust instruments.

Kelly is a frequent speaker on issues related to trusts and estates litigation and elder financial abuse and is a regular panelist for continuing legal education programs.

Andrew de Vries, MBA has provided expert real estate sales for private and professional fiduciaries in the Bay Area for 17 years. With more than 700 successful fiduciary sales transacted in most major Bay Area counties, Andrew brings deep experience-based knowledge to his client's needs. His services include initial case evaluation, property preparation, and development and execution of sophisticated sales strategies to limit a fiduciary's liability while satisfying all parties involved (including difficult family members). Andrew holds a Real Estate Broker's License (#01368031), a Professional Fiduciary's License (#544) and earned an MBA with honors from the University of San Francisco.

Liza de Vries
De Vries Law, P.C. Closing General Session - When Your Job Is Being The Ethical Adult In The Room

After vigorously prosecuting civil rights cases and building her own elder abuse practice over sixteen years at the Scott Law Firm, Liza launched her own practice in 2020.

Committed to preserving civil rights of those whose voices cannot be heard, Liza represents children who have suffered from wrongdoing by those erroneously entrusted to keep them safe and adults whose rights have been trampled. She also represents elders, adults with disabilities, consumers, and those who have suffered from a prism of scenarios constituting abuse of power, government misconduct, employment discrimination, harassment or retaliation.

In addition, Liza represents professional fiduciaries who protect those who cannot protect themselves from abuse or neglect. She also staunchly defends fiduciaries falsely accused of wrongdoing for nefarious purposes. Common opposing parties are so-called friends, colleagues, associates, care providers, disgruntled family members, strangers, state actors, and all who take advantage of a victim's frailties, diminished capacities, and inability to withstand undue influence, fraud or duress.

Her clients recover their losses through civil litigation, conservatorships, and estate or trust litigation.


Kristi W. Dean, Managing Partner, is a skilled trial lawyer who represents clients in business disputes. She focuses on complex litigation matters and litigates cases in both State and Federal Court.

Kristi was named a 2013 Trusted Advisor by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. She has been consistently named a "Southern California Super Lawyer" and recognized as "one of the top" lawyers in Southern California by her peers in Los Angeles Magazine, Law & Politics Media, Inc., and Super Lawyer publications.

Kristi represents corporations and business organizations in various litigation disputes, including breach of contract, shareholder disputes, unfair business competition, trade secret misappropriation, tortious interference, wage & hour, shareholder derivative actions, and breach of fiduciary duty claims. She also acts as general counsel for businesses who seek to avoid litigation through effective risk management techniques.


Merrianne E. Dean, Esq. has more than two decades of courtroom experience litigating probate and trust disputes, financial elder abuse matters, conservatorships and business disputes. Her work also includes representing executors and trustees in the administration of trust, probate estates, and conservatorships.

Ms. Dean was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1994 and has practiced in the area of Trust & Estates since 1997. Ms. Dean is a California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law.

Ms. Dean has been a member of the San Diego Probate Bench Bar Committee since 2004 and has served as a court-appointed attorney in conservatorship matters for more than 15 years. She has also served as a pro tem judge in the Probate Branch of the San Diego Superior Court for more than six years.

During her career as an attorney Ms. Dean has achieved a peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell of AV Preeminent, with a score of 5.0 of 5.0, signifying that her peers and the judiciary rank her at the highest level of professional excellence.

Brad Dela Cruz has worked in the fields of business and residential financing for more than 20 years and has specialized exclusively in reverse mortgage lending for the last fifteen years. He has trained hundreds of financial professionals on the topic of reverse mortgage loans and how to incorporate the programs into their practices to accurately advise their clients. He also provides community education on the programs to educate older homeowners and their families on the responsible use of home equity during retirement.


Mary deLeo is a Shareholder with the law firm of Weintraub Tobin as part of the Trusts and Estates practice group in Sacramento, California. Her practice focuses on trust and estate litigation, trust and estate administration, conservatorships, fiduciary representation, special needs trust administration, planning for incapacity, and elder law.

Mary has successfully represented clients in trust and probate litigation controversies, including trust and will contests, beneficiary/trustee disputes, fiduciary abuse claims, accounting issues, elder abuse claims, public benefit eligibility issues, and a wide variety of trust and probate litigation.

Mary is a member of the Trusts and Estates Executive Committee of the California Lawyers Association, where she serves as Co-Chair of the Legislation Committee and Co-Chair of the Education Committee. She is a past Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Trusts and Estates Quarterly. Mary was recently appointed to the Judicial Council of California Probate and Mental Health Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to the Judicial Council of California for improving the administration of justice in probate matters involving mental health and developmental disability issues.


Danielle is an associate in Weintraub Tobin’s Trusts and Estates practice group. Her practice focuses on all aspects of trust and estate litigation, including contested trust and probate administration, and contested conservatorships.

Danielle earned her J.D. with distinction from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, and graduated as a member of the Roger J. Traynor Honor Society for academic achievement. While in law school, Danielle took courses in environmental law and intellectual property, and obtained the Witkin Award for academic excellence in Patent Prosecutions.

Kathleen A. Durrans is a shareholder of Aaron, Riechert, Carpol & Riffle, APC in Redwood City, Ca, and practices primarily in San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco Counties. She is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law. Ms. Durrans has been practicing in the area of Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law since 1999. She is a graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she graduated Cum Laude. She attended Boston University where she obtained a degree in English Literature. Ms. Durrans specializes in conservatorship work, representing both professional and non-professional fiduciaries from start to finish. She also has experience in probate and trust administration and litigation, and estate planning.


Robert A. Earnest is a California licensed professional fiduciary and the principal of Earnest Trust Management. Robert earned his Certificate of Fiduciary Management from CSUF and is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School. Before establishing Earnest Trust Management, he practiced law for 30 years for both international law firms, including Paul Hastings in Los Angeles, and multinational companies, such as ARCO and Nissan. He started his career as a professional fiduciary in 2016.

Robert’s professional activities include serving on the Legislative Committee of PFAC and organizing the Fiduciary Forums for the San Gabriel Valley Chapter of PFAC. He also serves on the boards of the Fiduciary Round Table of San Gabriel Valley, the Estate Planning Counsel of San Gabriel Valley and the Pasadena chapter of Rotary International. He enjoys lecturing on the profession to anyone who will listen, including local chapters of CalCPA and the Financial Planning Association.


Loren "Elle" A. Emmanuel is the founder and Executive Director of The ACE Fiduciary Group, A Non-Profit Corporation. She brings more than 30 years of experience in financial management for small businesses and family wealth transitions. She has a depth of experience in managing asset transfers; real property; financial accounting to beneficiaries; and handling numerous probate, conservatorship and trust administration cases both as a highly qualified paralegal and as a licensed fiduciary. She is a Certified Professional California Licensed Fiduciary and a member of The Professional Fiduciaries Association of California, an affiliated member of the Contra Costa County Bar Association and a member of the National Guardian Association.

Loren’s experience and education exceeds the standards to qualify under the California Business & Professions code requirements as a professional fiduciary. She received her Master's in Business Administration from the University of Southern California and her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, Calif. Licensed Professional Fiduciary and National Certified Guardian with 30 plus years accounting experience combined with 22 plus years of estate and trust administration. Experienced in estate & trust tax matters, forensic accountings, court accountings and trust administration in litigious environments. Frequently serving as a qualified expert witness in multiple counties on estate and trust tax and administration matters, including fiduciary responsibilities. Continuing educational instructor for estate attorneys and professional fiduciaries with a focus on providing consulting to attorneys and professional fiduciaries.

Martin Harris
Harris Fiduciary Accounting Services A2 - Fiduciary Accountings – I Hate Accounting, Remind Me Why And How I Have To Do This
Martin Harris has spent two decades preparing court and non-court accountings for professional and non-professional fiduciaries and their attorneys throughout the Bay Area and beyond. He is highly regarded by Bay Area fiduciaries, probate attorneys and court staff. Martin is a popular speaker on fiduciary accountings, and regularly speaks to and advises legal, tax, accounting and other professionals regarding court accountings.


Wendy Hatch is the current owner of Hatch and Associates, a private professional fiduciary firm that has been in business since 1984.

  • Has her degree in Business Administration;
  • Passed the first National Register Guardian test given in 1996;
  • Also one of the first 60 that passed the first State of California & National wide examination to become a California Certified Fiduciary and National Registered Guardian in 2000;
  • Has been registered with the State’s Attorney General Office as a professional Conservator and Trustee and --Registered with the County of Los Angeles and Orange; and
  • Licensed number 16 in Professional Fiduciary Bureau and a " National Certified Guardian"

She has held many offices with the Professional Fiduciary Association of California (PFAC) past President of the Southern Region -Regional Director of the Southern Region (twice) where she still is an active as a founding charter member.

She is a member of the Estate Planning and Trust Council of Long Beach, Special Member to Women Lawyers of Long Beach, was a special consultant to the LA County FAST team

She was an Instructor for the Adult Extended Education Fiduciary Certificate Program through Cal State University, Fullerton (Subjects: Standard and Practices for Fiduciaries and Record Keeping and Accounting for Positions of Trust). She designed the on-line course for the Record Keeping and Accounting Program for Cal State.

She has been qualified as an expert witness in Fiduciary Abuse Cases.

As of January 1st 2019 Governor Brown appointed her to the California Professional Fiduciaries Advisory Committee.

Ricsie M. Hernandez is a San Diego attorney employed by the law firm of Brierton, Jones & Jones, LLP. Ms. Hernandez focuses her practice on probate, conservatorship, guardianship, and trust administration matters. Ms. Hernandez has presented to the State Bar of California and the Professional Fiduciary Association of California on topics including withdrawing life sustaining treatment, fiduciary powers, and sales of real property. Ms. Hernandez is also an active member of the Probate Attorneys of San Diego and the San Diego County Bar Association’s Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Section. Prior to being admitted to the State Bar, Ms. Hernandez worked as a Court Operations Clerk for the Superior Court of California County of San Diego, served as a judicial extern to the Honorable William R. Nevitt, Jr., retired, at the Superior Court of California County of San Diego, and volunteered at the Legal Aid Society Conservatorship Clinic.


Steven Hoch has over 40 years of experience with both federal and state environmental laws and regulations in the context of permitting, regulatory proceedings, litigation, enforcement actions, water supply, public policy formation, and advice. His work includes contamination of land and ground and surface water. Steven has critical experience in the areas of environmental law and the federal and state Safe Drinking Water Acts, Title 23, water supply, and the mechanics of water distribution. His experience also extends to groundwater modeling and water quality testing. He also has significant experience in hazardous substances and waste handling practices, remediation, soil erosion, and claims of toxic exposures.

Steven has in-depth experience working with numerous public water systems throughout the state. He has also established a sterling reputation for his work with the Regional Water Quality Control Boards, the Department of Toxic Substance Control, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency both in the administrative and litigation. His clients range from the country's largest municipal water agency to individuals selling or buying contaminated sites.

Cindy Hofen is a Certified Relocation and Transition Specialist and founder of Managing Moves & More. After helping her Mother-in-Law downsize her home, Cindy knew she wanted to help others through this process. Managing Moves & More specializes in start to finish moving solutions, including downsizing, de-cluttering, packing, home set-up, home clearouts and staging and 2009, they have helped over 2,000 individuals and families throughout the Bay Area. Cindy’s dream team of professional Move Managers understand the challenges that people face and manage each project with care and compassion. Managing Moves & More is Nationally A+ Accredited by the Association of Senior Move Managers and a member of their Diamond Service Society. Cindy is also a past member of the Board of Directors at Avenidas in Palo Alto, and is a PFAC Affiliate Member.

Paul Hynes is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) professional and financial advisor with more than 35 years of experience. Paul is the President and CEO of HearthStone | Private Wealth Management, a fee-only investment management and financial planning firm with offices in Irvine, Temecula, and San Diego. HearthStone provides professional investment management for professional fiduciaries and families. A native Bostonian and graduate of the University of Virginia, Paul spent the first 22 years of his career with a large Wall Street investment firm. He’s led HearthStone since founding the firm in 2006.


Aaron N. Jacobs is a California licensed professional fiduciary and owner of Sentry Services. Aaron specializes in assisting his clients as trustee, successor trustee, conservator, power of attorney, and guardian, as needed.

Aaron has degrees in business and economics. He is vice president of the Southern California Region for the Professional Fiduciaries Association of California. He and his team have built their reputation through caring, discreet work with families in need of a trusted agent to act on their behalf.

Tamila C. Jensen, Esq.
Law Office of Tamila C. Jensen P.C. Lunchtime General Session - Current Issues in Conservatorships: Assuring the Best Interests of Elders and the Vulnerable are Protected
Ms. Jensen is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and earned her law degree from the University of California at Davis School of Law. She recently earned an LLM in Transnational Commercial Practice, Lazerski University, Poland. Ms. Jensen has an active practice in Los Angeles where she represents private professional fiduciaries and lay people in the Probate Courts. The focus of her practice is elder law and real property. She currently is serving as president elect of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Ms. Jensen has taught widely including at Indiana University School of Business, and seminars at the School of Law, Debrechen, Hungary, and at the European School of Law and Economics, Pristina Kosovo. Ms. Jensen participates in several volunteer activities including the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) international moot court arbitration competition. She is a certified mediator and participates as a settlement officer in volunteer mediation and arbitration programs through LACBA. She has authored many articles including the recent "Scalia’s Lasting Legacy: Debating the Constitution


Natalie Keam is a manager of audit, review, and fiduciary accounting engagements at Onisko & Scholz. She has over eight years of experience in accounting and auditing, in a range of industries including, non-profit, post-secondary education, title insurance, employee benefit plans, construction, manufacturing and distribution. Her current concentration is in consultations in accounting processes, forensic and fiduciary accountings for escrow, trusts, and court.

Ms. Keam began her public accounting career at Grant Thornton and later moved into a regional, and local firm to service mid-size clients. She then spent a couple years in the private sector, performing internal audits at one of the largest title insurance companies, before returning to public accounting, at Onisko & Scholz.

Ms. Keam received her Bachelor of Arts in Accounting & Finance from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

In addition to be a certified public accountant, Ms. Keam is a certified fraud examiner.

Daniel Kim is a Senior Attorney in Weintraub Tobin’s Trusts and Estates practice group. His practice focuses on all aspects of Trust and Estate litigation including fiduciary abuse, elder financial abuse, contested trust administrations, probate, and contested conservatorships. With experience as a complex civil litigator, Daniel applies his litigation expertise in highly contentious and complicated trust and estate disputes to help direct the matters towards resolution, where possible, or successful trials and appeals. Daniel is based out of the firm’s Sacramento office and serves clients throughout the state of California.

Paula Kluge is licensed in California as a Professional Fiduciary (CLPF #839), and a National Certified Guardian (NCG). For over 22 years, she lead staff at Marin County Health & Human Services, working with Medi-Cal, Medicare, Social Security benefits, long term care, disabled children, seniors, mentally challenged, developmentally delayed, working disabled, many forms of income and property, and was the only person reviewing trusts for public assistance programs. She determined budgets, and authorized benefits. Mrs. Kluge was responsible for specialized units which determined eligibility for many programs, including VA benefits, and Medi-Cal. She trained staff in and out of her department (including the Public Guardian’s office) in such topics as Medi-Cal for long term care with spousal impoverishment rules, Medicare Premium Payment Programs, Estate Recovery, and the 250% Working Disabled Program.


Ann Koerner is President of National Care Advisors – a firm dedicated to providing consulting services for attorneys, financial planners, fiduciaries and trustees. National Care Advisors provides care and quality of life planning services for those families faced with physical disability, mental illness, developmental disability, or eldercare issues. Services include planning and case management applicable to Special Needs Trusts and government benefits preservation. National Care Advisors also specializes in post-litigation resolution consulting services specific to lien negotiation, Medicare Set Aside projections and administration.

Prior to the inception of National Care Advisors in 2008, Ann’s nursing practice has been dedicated to developing effective disability management solutions for injured and ill workers. As a result of her work with many national corporations, Ann possesses extensive business knowledge of case management, utilization review, third party payers, workers’ compensation, private insurance companies and government resources.


Patrick A. Kohlmann is the managing partner at Temmerman, Cilley, & Kohlmann. He specializes in the areas of estate and business planning, trust and decedent's estate administration, probate, conservatorships, and related trust and estate litigation.

Patrick advises individuals and families in all aspects of wealth transfer planning, including tax-advantaged transfers of assets, multigenerational planning, the taxation of trusts and estates, and business succession counseling.

Patrick is passionate about the law. He was Chair of the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the State Bar of California (TEXCOM) from 2015-2016, and served on the Executive Committee from 2008-2019. He is a member of the Judicial Council’s Probate and Mental Health Advisory Committee, a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estates Counsel, and has consistently been named a Northern California “Super Lawyer.” Patrick is a CPA, and practiced public accounting before becoming an attorney. He is recognized by his peers as a Best Attorney in America (Best Lawyers®).


Leslie is an associate in Weintraub Tobin’s Trusts and Estates practice group. Her practice focuses on all aspects of trust and estate litigation, including contested trust administrations, probate, contested conservatorships, and elder abuse. She also represents clients in uncontested matters such as trust and estate administrations, conservatorships, and fiduciary representation.

Leslie graduated magna cum laude from Southwestern Law School, where she was on the board of the Southwestern Law Review. Leslie received her Bachelor of Arts in both Comparative Literature and Political Science with a minor in Greek from the University of California, Davis.

Ted Ong and Jeremy Lau, CFA®, CFP® are SEC-Register Investment Advisors (RIAs) with Prudent Investors Network. They specialize in fiduciary planning and investment management for institutional and private fiduciaries. They co-teach the Management of the Investment Portfolio Class in the Trustee Certification Program at California State University at Fullerton (CSUF) and co-authored the white paper, Prudent investing Under the Probate Code, What Judges, Estate Planning Attorneys, Fiduciaries and Trustees should Know. In addition to fiduciary planning and investment management services, Mr. Lau also serves as an expert witness on prudent investing under the California probate codes.

David D. Little is a Principal with Hartog, Baer & Hand in Orinda, California. David has been practicing law since 2000 and has specialized in trust and estate law since 2008. He is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate law. David’s practice is focused on estate planning and the administration of trusts and estates, but he also has extensive experience in trust and estate litigation and has previously worked as a trust officer in a bank trust department. David has published extensively and has presented throughout California on estate planning and administration topics. He is the incoming 2020 President of East Bay Trust and Estate Lawyers and is a volunteer member of the Trust and Estate Administration Committee of the California Lawyers Association’s Trusts and Estates Section. David previously served as a commissioner on California Bar Association Board of Legal Specialization’s Estate Planning Law Commission and is a Past President of the East Bay Estate Planning Council.

Roger L. Lund is a judge for the Superior Court of Ventura County in California. He was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) in December 2009. Lund was elected to a full term in 2010 and ran again unopposed in 2016, winning re-election automatically

Apollo Lupescu is a Vice President at Dimensional Fund Advisors, an investment management company founded in 1981 and currently managing over $580 billion of investment assets. Apollo earned his PhD in economics and finance at the University of California, Santa Barbara. During his tenure at the firm, Apollo has been part of the Dimensional Investment Strategies group, worked directly with financial advisors assisting in the development of their business, managed the internal Client Services team that provides broad analytical support, and oversaw the firm’s national advisor retirement business. He is currently Dimensional’s "secretary of explaining stuff." In this role, he frequently presents around the country and the world at various conferences and events.


Scott MacDonald is the founder and leader of the Special Needs Team at Merrill Lynch, a group of financial advisors and client associates dedicated to enhancing the long-term well-being of special-needs, disabled and elderly individuals by offering financial advice and guidance. Scott joined Merrill Lynch in 1987 and has spent his entire career addressing the unique needs of society’s most vulnerable members.

Passionate about his work, Scott provides wealth planning and investment management for Special Needs Trusts and other court-supervised trusts, as well as probate investing for Conservatorships and Guardianships. He offers extensive knowledge of various state Probate Code restrictions on investments, as well as the terms of the Uniform Prudent Investor Act. Scott facilitates close collaboration with attorneys, caregivers, trustees, fiduciaries, benefits counselors, and other professionals. A regular lecturer and media contributor, he is the author of numerous articles and publications related to special-needs and elder financial strategy.

LeAnne Maillian has specialized in conservatorships, probate and trust administration & litigation for over 40 years. She has been on the PVP Panel for the Los Angeles Superior Court since its inception, often dealing with sales of residences from the conservatee's perspective. She frequently represents professional fiduciaries and others in connection with the sales of trust, probate and conservatorship properties.


Russ Marshall is the owner of Marshall Fiduciary Services. He is a registered professional conservator and trustee and a California Certified Fiduciary. He was elected President of PFAC in 2002-2003.

Prior to entering private practice, Russ was the Manager of Estate Administration for the Santa Clara County Public Guardian. He served as President in 1993-1994 of the California State Association of Public Administrators/Guardians/ Conservators.

Russ is certified by the National Guardianship Association as an Approved Educator. He is a Certified by the Center for Guardianship Certification as a National Master Guardian.


JEFF MARVAN is the founder of MarvanLaw, A.P.C. A 1999 graduate of the U.C. Davis, King Hall School of Law, Jeff started his career as a criminal public defender for Yolo County. Jeff established MarvanLaw, A.P.C. in 2006. The firm focuses on probate litigation, trust litigation, estate planning, guardianships, and conservatorships in Los Angeles. The firm represents professional fiduciaries.

From 2012 to 2014, Jeff served as an associate professor at Glendale University College of Law, teaching trusts and estates. Jeff is a member of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Probate Volunteer Panel, and the Los Angeles County Probate Settlement Officer Program. He is a on the LACBA Trust and Estate’s Executive Committee and is currently responsible for assisting in the education of Court Appointed Counsel. Jeff was awarded the SuperLawyer designation for 2020.

Joan McCreary is a Certified Professional Organizer and owner of JMPO, a successful estate and home organizing business based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Joan comes from a background in startup medical companies, charter schools, and the mortgage industry. She now specializes in working with the chronically disorganized, seniors and estate clear outs. Joan is a member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO), the Institute for Challenging Disorganization, the Platinum Senior Network and other professional groups.


Mr. Miller has 30 years of experience serving as a senior executive and trusted advisor to high net worth families, business owners and Board directors. He provides trust, estate and probate administration; investment management; property management, business consulting and business management services. He specializes in administering complex trusts & estates and navigating conflict situations.

Mr. Miller is a graduate of the University of Southern California and USC’s Marshall Business School, where he studied Electrical Engineering and Business Administration (Honors Finance). He completed the required accounting coursework at UCLA and sat for the CPA exams, and the Effective Board Leadership program at UC Irvine. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst®, a Certified Corporate Trust Specialist®, and possesses the FINRA Series 7/66 ("stockbroker") and Series 79 (investment banking) licenses. He has a Certificate in Professional Fiduciary Management from California State University, Fullerton, and is pursuing his California Real Estate Salesperson license (he was a Broker from 1996-2012).


Megan A. Moghtaderi is an associate attorney at TLD Law. Her practice includes trust litigation, estate planning, probate, business formation and business disputes.

Ms. Moghtaderi graduated Summa Cum Laude from Biola University and the Torrey Honors Institute in 2013. She was recognized as the top percent of her graduating class. As an undergraduate, she was a member of the honors societies of Phi Alpha Theta and Pi Sigma Alpha Theta.

Growing up, Ms. Moghtaderi first peaked an interest in law when her family dealt with a hotly, contested probate issue. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she went onto Chapman University Fowler School of Law, earning her J.D. in 2016. During law school, she worked as a Judicial Law Extern for the Honorable Kim. R. Hubbard in Probate at the Orange County Superior Court.

Today, Ms. Moghtaderi actively assists clients in drafting simple and complex estate plans and has developed case strategy for complex Trust and Estate litigation matters involving over $100 million in assets. Devoted to resolving situations amicably, Ms. Moghtaderi was instrumental in helping the Orange County Judiciary develop a mediation program for all Trust, Estate, Probate, Conservatorship, and Guardianship matters.

Joanna Mueller joined Canine Companions for Independence in July, 2016 as Development Associate for the Southwest Region. She has worked most of her career in nonprofit in both programs and development, with her most recent position managing special projects for the CEO of Goodwill Industries of San Diego County. Joanna’s passion for supporting independence for people with physical, cognitive, or social disabilities began when she was twelve years watching the joy on her mother’s face as she tutored children with special needs. Joanna holds a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). She finds her greatest happiness in spending time with family; her husband, Bob, her four children, five (to date) grandchildren, and her "change of career dog, Lorax (not always in that order!).

Ms. Murphy is particularly known for her extensive knowledge and reputation in the field of home care, which Ms. Murphy has built over the past 15+ years by extensively lecturing and teaching home care employers throughout the country; representing hundreds of home care franchises, franchisors and independent agencies; and supporting these entities in every aspect of their employment relationships. She is also a frequent contributor to Home Health Line, a subscription-only industry publication that helps home health agencies provide excellent patient care and increase profitability. Ms. Murphy's daily work includes advising employers in management and decision-making issues, such as handling sensitive terminations, preparing and negotiating employment and severance agreements, preparing and revising employee handbooks, training management and staff, and administering leaves of absence; and representing employers in wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour, and other employment-related litigation in state and federal court, arbitration, and before various governmental agencies such as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, the Employment Development Department, and the Department of Labor.


Stacie Polashuk Nelson is a partner in Holland & Knight's San Francisco office and is a member of the firm's Private Wealth Services Group. Since 1998, Ms. Nelson has concentrated her practice on all aspects of contentious trust, estate and conservatorship matters. Her practice includes will and trust contests, accounting disputes, disputed conservatorships, breach of fiduciary duty matters, financial elder abuse matters, as well as trust and estate administration. She is an experienced trial attorney, but she is dedicated to finding the best resolution for the client, including client counseling, mediation, settlement negotiations and/or trial. Her administration practice focuses on assisting clients with post-death administration of trusts and estates and securing and protecting bequests made to individuals and charitable beneficiaries. Ms. Nelson’s clients include individuals, families, charities, and professional and institutional fiduciaries.

Ms. Nelson's experience includes some of the most sensitive and high-profile cases in her field. For example, she was admitted to appear pro hac vice in the New York County Surrogate's Court as a key member of the jury trial team propounding and defending the will of Huguette Clark, in the matter of The Estate of Huguette M. Clark, File No. 1995 - 1375A.

In addition, Ms. Nelson also devotes a portion of her practice to pro bono legal services and is the chair of the Holland & Knight Mickey Rooney Elder Financial Abuse Pro Bono Project for the San Francisco office. Through this project, Ms. Nelson and the San Francisco office provide legal services to elder adults who would otherwise not have the financial ability to protect themselves. In addition to her pro bono legal work, Ms. Nelson is active in her community and local charitable organizations.

Ted Ong and Jeremy Lau, CFA®, CFP® are SEC-Register Investment Advisors (RIAs) with Prudent Investors Network. They specialize in fiduciary planning and investment management for institutional and private fiduciaries. They co-teach the Management of the Investment Portfolio Class in the Trustee Certification Program at California State University at Fullerton (CSUF) and co-authored the white paper, Prudent investing Under the Probate Code, What Judges, Estate Planning Attorneys, Fiduciaries and Trustees should Know. In addition to fiduciary planning and investment management services, Mr. Lau also serves as an expert witness on prudent investing under the California probate codes.


Matt is a senior associate in the trust and estate litigation team. Matt focuses his practice on trust, estate, and inheritance disputes. He has prosecuted and defended a wide range of matters in probate court, including trust contests, elder abuse actions, accountings, contested conservatorships and claims involving breach of fiduciary duty. His clients include high net worth individuals and families, corporate trustees, and private professional fiduciaries. Matt has successfully handled several trials and arbitrations of trust and estate disputes. He also handles appeals and was one of the attorneys of record in Funsten v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (2016) 2 Cal.App.5th 959.

Matt is a certified specialist in estate planning, trust, and probate law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. A leader in the legal community, Matt speaks and writes on trust and estate litigation topics and serves on the California Lawyers Association Trusts and Estates Section Subcommittee on Membership, Marketing, and Social Media and as Vice Chair of the San Diego County Bar Association, Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Section’s Executive Committee. He was ranked on Legal Week’s Private Client "Ones to Watch" list in 2017, 2018 and 2019, and has been named a Super Lawyers Rising Star every year since 2013.


Nathan is an active member of the Contra Costa County Bar Association, East Bay Trusts & Estates Lawyers, and the Robert G. McGrath American Inns of Court. Nathan was selected as a Rising Star in Trust and Estate litigation in 2018 and 2019 by Super Lawyers, an exclusive award given only to the top 2% of attorneys in Northern California.

As a graduate of University of California, Berkeley, Nathan received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He went on to earn his J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law. After law school Nathan earned an LLM in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate law at Golden Gate University School of Law. During law school Nathan worked for the Contra Costa County Probate Court, developing an in depth knowledge of the probate court system and Judges. Prior to opening the Law Offices of Nathan D. Pastor, Nathan gained extensive experience as a top litigator in one of Contra Costa’s largest Trust and Estate law firms.

Nathan is a member of the Contra Costa County Criminal Conflict Program and is routinely appointed by the court as counsel for proposed conservatees. Nathan handles matters both big and small. For example, Nathan is handling an appeal stemming from a trust contest that’s currently pending before the California Supreme Court (See Barefoot v. Jennings; California Supreme Court Case No. S251574)."

Judge Brenda J. Penny was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the Los Angeles County Superior Court on October 11, 2018. Judge Penny is assigned to Probate and currently serves as the Assistant Supervising Judge of Probate. In February 2020 Judge Penny will assume the duties of Supervising Judge of Probate and Mental Health for the Los Angeles Superior Court.


Ruth A. Phelps received her undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles. She received her JD degree and her LL.M. (taxation) from Loyola Law School.

Mrs. Phelps is a Certified Elder Law Attorney and a Certified Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Specialist. She has been named a Southern California Super Lawyer for 2005 to 2018. She is a past President of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, a national organization of over 4,300 lawyers practicing in the field of elder law. She is a past member of the Executive Committee of the Trust and Estates Section of the State Bar of California, past President of the Southern California Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.

Mrs. Phelps is a 2007 Spirit of CEB recipient, and is the author and co-author of several chapters for California Continuing Education of the Bar, publications, including:

  • California Guardianship Practice – "Introduction to Duties and Powers of the Guardian of the Estate" and "Compensation"
  • California Trust Administration – "Court Proceedings"
  • California Powers of Attorney – "Health Care Directive: Complete Forms and Related Documents"
  • California Will Drafting – "Special Needs Trusts"
  • California Decedent Estate Practice – "Statutory Protections for Family Members"
  • Special Needs Trusts: Planning, Drafting and Administration – "Special Needs Trusts and Appropriate Distributions"
  • California Estate Planning – "Special Needs Trusts"
  • Drafting California Irrevocable Trusts – "Special Needs Trusts"

She was an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School, teaching Elder Law, from 2005 to 2014.

Tracy S. Regli is a founding partner of Acuña . Regli, LLP. Tracy focuses her practice on probate and trust administration, fiduciary representation, conservatorship and special needs planning. She has assisted many banks, fiduciaries, and family members with administering large and small estates throughout California.Tracy is an active member of the Alameda and Contra Costa Bar associations, the Professional Fiduciary Association of California (PFAC), and the Southern Alameda Estate Planning Council. She is a sought-after speaker and has spoken at PFAC and Estate Planning Council meetings and conventions. Her pro bono activities include participating in the Lawyers in the Library program and assisting low income seniors through workshops sponsored by the Contra Costa County Bar Association.

  • Undergraduate degree from Loyola Marymount University in Business Administration
  • JD from University of San Diego 1990
  • Sole practitioner in Encino focusing her practice primarily in the areas of probate, estate planning, conservatorship, and trust administration
  • Actively involved in San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Probate and Estate Planning Section, Section and Speaker Chair
  • Probate Volunteer Settlement Officer, Los Angeles County Superior Court
  • Member, Member of Board of Directors, San Fernando Valley Estate Planning Council
  • Member, Member of Board of Directors, Woodland Hills Tax and Estate Planning Council
  • Has guest lectured at Pepperdine University School of Law, Advanced Wills and Trusts class
  • Has co-authored several articles in the Valley Lawyer including two on Gifts to Care Custodians Certificates of Independent Review and one on the use of DNA Evidence and Parent-Child Relationships


Hon. Glen M. Reiser (Ret.) has vast experience adjudicating and resolving thousands of complex commercial, real property/environmental, trust and family law disputes as a respected trial judge and litigator. Judge Reiser spent more than 20 years on the Ventura County Superior Court, serving as both supervising probate judge and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) judge for more than a decade. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he litigated hundreds of civil cases to successful conclusion in trial and appellate courts throughout California.

Judge Reiser regularly teaches California judges trust, probate, and conservatorships through the Judicial Council of California’s Center for Judicial Education and Research (CJER).

Judge Reiser is known for using his thoroughness, intellect, attention to detail and breadth of knowledge to develop creative solutions to disputes of all types.

Vivian Rivera is a Los Angeles attorney and a member of the firm's Private Wealth Services Group. Ms. Rivera focuses her practice on complex trusts and estates litigation, as well as trust and estate administration. During law school, Ms. Rivera was a member of the nationally ranked Byrne Trial Advocacy Team where she gained extensive trial experience, advocating in dozens of mock trials in preparation of tournaments. She was a note and comment editor for the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review. Ms. Rivera also served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Michael Garcia at the Superior Court of California County of Los Angeles.


Gary Rothstein is a shareholder in the firm’s Trust and Estates practice group. His practice has focused on trust administration, probate matters, and estate planning since 1993. Gary represents corporate and individual fiduciaries and beneficiaries in all aspects of trust administration, including representing clients in connection with disputes between fiduciaries, beneficiaries and creditors. He counsels fiduciaries, beneficiaries, and creditors through contested and uncontested probate and trust administration proceedings in Northern and Southern California Probate Courts. His practice includes prosecution of will and trust contests, preparation and arguing of petitions for instructions, petitions for construction of trusts, and petitions for termination of trusts.

Gary also advises individuals and families about estate planning, including estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax issues, revocable and irrevocable trusts, GRAT’s, defective grantor trusts, family limited partnerships, charitable giving vehicles, QPRT’s, and life insurance trusts.

Gary regularly presents to banks, trust companies, and professional associations on trust and estate administration risk management issues, as well as to legal professionals and prospective non-profit organization donors.

Nancy Sanborn is Executive Director of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties Trust and Probate Division and one of the industry’s most consistent and reliable sales professionals. She has built a team that provides informed representation to an impressive list of repeat and referral clients. With unequaled expertise in probate, trust and conservatorship, Nancy’s approach is direct and sensible.


Evan is a Tax Manager at Onisko & Scholz with a specialty in estate and trust tax.

Evan graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz with a major in Political Science in 1992.

After graduating, he worked as an Auditor for the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust while attending night school at UCLA Extension in order to complete their Certificate in Accounting.

Upon completion, he entered the field of Public Accounting gaining valuable experience in the fields of auditing, accounting and tax. In 2015, Evan graduated from Golden Gate University with a Masters in Tax degree in order to build on his specialty areas of Estate and Trust work, as well as high-net worth clients.

A graduate of Boston University School of Law, Scott P. Schomer is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law. Scott is the owner of Schomer Law Group, a professional law corporation that specializes in elder law, probate, will, trusts, and conservatorships. Scott has tried dozens of cases to judgment or verdict and obtained millions of dollars in judgments for his clients. Scott has served as a member of the Los Angeles PVP Panel, the Probate Settlement Panel and as a Judge Pro Tempore. Scott is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and from 2008-2018, recognized as a California Super Lawyer.

Victor Segovia
Segovia, A Law Office EB2 - Defending Yourself: Professional Fiduciary Jiu Jitsu

Victor Segovia has 26 years professional legal experience in litigation and trials in California State courts and Federal courts. He has prosecuted criminal cases in both Los Angeles and San Francisco as a deputy District Attorney with many jury trials to verdict. Mr. Segovia has extensive experience in banking legal matters with FDIC where he earned the FDIC Mission Achievement Award; and with Wells Fargo Bank as Senior Corporate Counsel. Victor Segovia currently practices in Contra Costa County and handles cases through trial representing individuals charged with crimes.

Mr. Segovia earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. After working for a few years as a Senior Corporate Analyst with Wells Fargo Bank, he returned to school and earned his J.D. from UC, Hastings School of Law.

Victor Segovia is a member of the Contra Costa County Criminal Conflict Program. He is routinely appointed by the court as counsel. His unique combination of experience in banking where he focused on uncovering Financial Crimes, Money Laundering and Fraud, and his deep experience with jury trials in large city District Attorney offices provides advice backed by experience in cases all the way to the US Supreme Court.


Brenda Shorkend is a Certified Aging Life Care™ Manager/Geriatric Care Manager, with over 25 years of experience working with older people and people with disabilities and their families. She has a background in Rehabilitation Psychology and is a member of the Aging Life Care Association.

She has worked in a wide variety of hospital and community settings, including Huntington Hospital's Senior Care Network in Pasadena. Brenda has broad knowledge of local resources and services.

Brenda is a strong advocate for her clients. She works with her clients to tailor unique solutions for each individual that maximizes their independence and autonomy while ensuring their safety and well-being.

She is on the board of the San Gabriel Valley Financial Planning Association and the advisory boards of the West San Gabriel Valley Elder Abuse Task Force and of Community Healthcare Ethics.

Lisa Soloway is a California Licensed Professional Fiduciary and owner of Soloway Fiduciaries, Inc. She has been administrating trusts, estates and Conservatorships for fourteen years. The Contra Costa court regularly appoints Ms. Soloway to resolve contentious family matters and provide complex trust analyses and accountings. Lisa is a long time member of the Estate Planning Council of Diablo Valley and is Secretary of the board of directors. She is a proud member of the Professional Fiduciary Association of California and the Past President of the East Bay Chapter. Lisa also sits on the board of Wellspring Educational Services in Walnut Creek as wells as the Regional Center of the East Bay.

Canine Companions is happy to introduce Charmaine Stainbrook, our new national director of planned giving. A native of Sonoma County, CA and a Canine Companions volunteer puppy raiser, Charmaine is an attorney with a background in estate planning, Charmaine brings experience, expertise and a diverse background to her new role, and we’re thrilled to have her on our team.


Kathryn Stebner, the principal of Stebner and Associates, has been advocating for the rights of elders in California for over 30 years. She works tirelessly as a civil litigator representing elders and their families in individual and class action cases against long term care facilities and financial institutions and as an advocate for legislative progress to increase legal protections for senior citizens and disabled adults.

Kathryn has been on the Board of Governors of the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) for over ten years and is currently its Fourth Vice President. She is a Past-President of the San Francisco Trial Lawyers' Association (SFTLA). She has tried in excess of 20 trials and arbitrations. Among numerous other publications, she is the author of two chapters on Elder Abuse for the Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), as well as the book Elder Law Litigation Strategies: Leading Lawyers on Understanding the Changing Landscape of Elder Law Litigation and Its Effect on Client Needs.

When it comes to later life and all the “stuff” that goes with it, Clear Home Solutions’ CEO Marty Stevens-Heebner and her team can take it on. Her hard-working staff tackles moves, downsizing and organizing, and home inventories, managing all the logistics and stress so their clients don’t have to. An award-winning entrepreneur, designer and author, Marty was inspired to launch Clear Home Solutions after her experiences with her 90-year-old father and her 88-year-old aunt with dementia. Clear Home Solutions was the first nationally accredited company in her industry and serves Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Marty is the President-Elect of the thousand-member National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) and was the first Certified Senior Move Manager (SMM-C) in the country. She’s also a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO) and a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS).

Kai Stinchcombe is CEO and co-founder of True Link Financial. He is a three-time Chief Technology Officer or Head of Data Science and has served in appointed positions on the Obama administration task force on technology and aging and in the California working group on Blockchain Technology.


Carlena Tapella is Of Counsel in the firm’s Trusts and Estates practice group. Her practice encompasses all areas of trust, estate, and conservatorship litigation and administration.

Carlena has successfully represented clients in a wide range of trust and estate litigation, including challenging and defending the validity of wills and trusts, seeking and defending fiduciary removal, and pursuing and defending claims of breach of fiduciary duty and elder financial abuse. She believes in working with clients to attempt to resolve disputes through mediation, but is prepared to aggressively pursue a matter to trial should such attempts prove unsuccessful.

Carlena serves as chair of the Incapacity Committee for the Trusts and Estates Executive Committee of the California Lawyers Association, and Co-Editor in Chief of The Quarterly. She has done presentations on postmortem trust administration, conservatorship basics, the basics of estate administration, financial elder abuse, and managing a trusts and estates law practice.


Herb Thomas, is the founder of Kairos Fiduciary Services, serving as a trustee for Special Needs Trusts and Settlement Trusts is more than a job or career. It is a calling that holds a personal significance, since he has a child diagnosed with special needs. Herb understands what parents and people who are injured need to consider as they move forward in their lives.

Herb has years of expertise in Special Needs Trust and Settlement Trust administration in the state of California and nationwide as well as a depth of experience in Conservatorships, Public Benefits Advocacy, and Probate Estate Administration. He is a California Licensed Professional Fiduciary (CLPF), with license number #86—meaning he was one of the first 100 people in California to earn the authority to serve as a professional fiduciary.

Hon. Judge Mary Thornton-House (Ret.)
Alternative Resolution Centers Lunchtime General Session - Where's the FUN in DysFUNctional Families: Interactive Case Studies
Judge Mary Thornton House retired from the Los Angeles Superior Court in September 2018 after serving for 22 years. She is a private neutral for Alternative Resolution Centers (ARC). Prior to her retirement, she presided over trusts, wills, estate, conservatorship and guardianship matters in Pasadena and the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. The bulk of her years on the Superior Court was in probate or general civil litigation individual calendar courts


Kevin Urbatsch is a principal of the special needs and settlement planning law firm, The Urbatsch Law Firm P.C. located in Pleasant Hill, California. Kevin also serves as National Director of the Academy of Special Needs Planners (ASNP), a national organization of special needs and settlement planning professionals. Kevin is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. Kevin is also a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC).

Kevin Urbatsch is the host of the Special Needs Planning Symposium, a three-day special needs planning training for professionals interested in mastering this area of practice. The program provides continuing legal education and certified specialist credit. The website is located at Kevin Urbatsch has served as expert witness on several cases concerning the settlement needs of persons with disabilities and minors. He testified in a trial in Alameda County and one held in England based on California law.


Listing & Selling since 1991, Nancy currently practices in southern California. She holds a Broker's license in California and previously held a Broker's license in New York.

Her sales experience includes all areas of residential, income and residential investment properties. Due to her experience and expertise in the handling of complicated real estate transactions, she is the Director of Trust & Probate properties and was for five years chosen as the Official Real Estate Sponsor of the Pasadena Bar Association. She works with Professional Fiduciaries as well as Successor Trustees and Seniors. She is an Affiliate member of PFAC. She has been a member and on the board of the Fiduciary Round Table of the San Gabriel Valley. Her practice also includes selling properties as part of a divorce. Many trust sales are complicated by current or past divorces and warring step-families.

Nancy had another career before entering real estate: she was a professional opera singer, living in Europe for 11 ½ years. She is fluent in German. Her years of living abroad have given her a deep understanding of buyers and sellers with varying cultures and traditions. This experience is a valuable tool in understanding client needs and translates into a superb skill in negotiating on behalf of her clients.

She has family living in Singapore and Bermuda. She has 6 very young grandchildren. She is a supporter of classical music and is a Donor to the LA Phil.

Peter J Wall is the Director of Fiduciary Services for True Link Financial. With over 18 years of trust administration experience, Peter focuses his efforts in the Elder Law arena and is known for his Special Needs Trust administration and planning capabilities throughout the country. Before joining True Link Financial, he developed and help lead BOK Financial’s dedicated SNT division. Mr. Wall is the former President for the Centennial Estate Planning Council, former President of the Denver Trust Officers Association, President of the Board of Directors of VSA Colorado Access Gallery, and serves on the Board of Directors for Easter Seals. He is a frequent presenter on the topics of Special Needs Trusts, estate planning, taxation, and trust administration for numerous professional and community groups and was a presenter and faculty member at the CBA 2012, 2014 and 2015 Elder Law Retreat, the 2013 National Down Syndrome Congress, 2015 46th Annual Autism Society National Conference, the 2019 National NAELA conference, and the 2016, 2018 and 2019 Stetson National Special Needs Trust Conference. Mr. Wall is also a published author, most notably in the Elder Law in Colorado Red Book, Fourth Edition. Peter is a nationally recognized touring saxophonist and lives in Denver, CO with his wife and two children.


Lauriann Wright is an experienced probate litigator and estate planner. For over 25 years, she has been practicing all phases of probate law and litigation, including conservatorships, guardianships, trusts, and probate estates, throughout Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside Counties. The focus of her practice is the representation of professional fiduciaries, with particular success in helping fiduciaries maintain neutrality in the midst of litigation among family members. She also represents select private clients in trust and estate litigation matters, like will and trust contests.

For 2019, she has been named as one of the Top 50 Women Super Lawyers in Southern California. For the 8 consecutive years of 2012 through 2019, she was named as a Southern California Super Lawyer in Trust and Estate Litigation. For 2016 through 2019, she is also listed as one of “The Best Lawyers in America” in Litigation/ Probate by Best Lawyer and her law firm has been named a Best Law Firm by U.S. News & World Report as well. And she has been named as a member of the National Advocates: Top 100 of Wills, Trust and Estates Lawyers. She is a regular speaker on probate law topics.

Deena Zacharin has been an associate attorney with Stebner and Associates since 2015, focusing on elder neglect and financial abuse cases. Prior to joining the firm, Deena practiced in the areas of trusts and estates and conservatorship, representing professional and non-professional conservators; she continues to serve as a court-appointed attorney in probate conservatorships in San Francisco County. Deena is an affiliate member of PFAC.