Working With Probate Referees

In 2020 the California Probate Referee’s Association released their updated Probate Referee Guide. Each attendee will be given a free copy of The Probate Referee Guide. The Guide is designed to assist professional fiduciaries, attorneys and staff to ensure each Inventory & Appraisement is properly submitted so that the returned valuations are accurate and can withstand the scrutiny of both the Courts and the beneficiaries.  Practical suggestions and forms will be provided.  A California State appointed Probate Referee will provide best practices and answer questions about hard to value assets.  Fiduciary Real Estate Services will provide insight on the valuation issues surrounding real properties from the perspective of the real estate broker, the Probate Referee and an attorney.  An inaccurate valuation can haunt a PPF and invite breach of fiduciary duty claims.  An accurate valuation can serve to protect the professional fiduciary by having an expert, known by the Courts, supporting the sales/transfer value.

Speakers

Franza Giffen, Esq.

Franza Giffen, Esq.

Giffen Fiduciary Services


Franza Giffen  is an attorney whose practice focuses exclusively on fiduciary services.  She earned her Juris Doctor degree from Golden Gate University and is a licensed real estate broker, giving her a well rounded background for selling, renovating and dealing with all matters having to do with the real estate many of her clients own.  For the past 30 years she has also been a probate referee for Contra Costa County.  Early in her career she wrote wills and trusts for her clients but as the years passed, her clients grew older and called her with more and more personal needs.  She acted under powers of attorney to help them with finances and their health care.  Soon she was called upon to act as a Trustee, which also grew to involve a wider breadth of service to her clients.  Having such close and intimate contact with her clients gave more meaning to her role as she continued to expand her services.  Being able to visit her clients in their home, listen to their concerns and take care of them was more meaningful and rewarding to her than the limits of drafting wills and trusts and much more fun!

Teresa Gorman

Teresa Gorman

Fiduciary Real Estate Services

Protecting the Fiduciary Client in the LEGAL aspect of the real estate transaction. Teresa Gorman is a licensed attorney and has a certification as a Trust & Estate Specialist by the State Bar of California. Teresa brings over 20 years of experience in representing the interests of Private Professional Fiduciaries. Teresa’s law practice focused on representing Fiduciaries in some of the most challenging cases in Orange County. Teresa worked closely with Fiduciary Clients to ensure their actions met the standard of care expected by demanding, sometimes discontent, beneficiaries. Teresa provided aggressive and uncompromising representation in Probate, Conservatorship and Trust matters. Teresa was regularly appointed by the courts to serve as court-appointed attorney or guardian ad litem for seniors who found themselves in the crosshairs of the legal system. Teresa also serves a volunteer for South County Senior Services providing legal advice and protecting seniors in need.

As a Trust & Estate attorney Teresa saw the impact when Fiduciaries utilized the services of real estate agents who purchased tawdry “probate specialist” designations. In her role as an attorney, Teresa dealt with the aftermath of real estate agents who exposed her clients to liability when the agent did not possess the requisite experience in the probate court, did not understand the law, and did not understand the heightened duties of a Fiduciary Client. The sale of real property is a legal contract. The real estate transaction of a Fiduciary Client invokes a further level of expertise. Teresa’s law experience as a Trust & Estate Specialist protects the seller and ensures Fiduciaries are insulated from claims by disgruntled beneficiaries and buyers. By selecting FRES, the Fiduciary Client and their attorney can rely on FRES to provide a smooth real estate transaction.

Steven Paull

Steven Paull

California Probate Referee

Mr. Paull was appointed as a California Probate Referee in 1989 per California Probate Code Section 400-408 and Code Section 16247. He has been valuing assets since 1989 for the Superior Court, arbitration and litigation matters and for estate planning. Mr. Paull has valued well over 4,000 estates and trusts since 1989. Mr. Paull holds a Bachelor degree in Accounting and a Masters in Business with an emphasis in Real Estate. Mr. Paull is a CPA and holds a California Real Estate Broker’s License. He has taught real estate finance and valuation courses at the University of California, San Diego and to the California Probate Referee Association Members.