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Letter from the Chair

image of Ellen McKissock

Welcome to the Trusts and Estates Section page!  If you are a California lawyer who is not yet a member of the Section, I invite you to see what we have to offer and encourage you to Join the Section.  If you are a current member, I hope you will explore the resources on our page and let us know what is. and what would be, useful to your practice.

More than 7,000 lawyers statewide are members of the Trusts and Estates Section of the California Lawyers Association (CLA). Our members have a broad variety of practices, including planning, administration, conservatorships, and litigation, and we enjoy a multi-generational mix of new and experienced attorneys.

The Executive Committee of the Section, commonly known as TEXCOM, is comprised of 35 attorneys who volunteer their time for a six-year term to work towards a logical development of the law in the field of trusts and estates. Applications to join the Executive Committee are accepted every year in the spring.  Attorneys also may participate in the Section’s activities by volunteering to serve on one of our subcommittees.

All Section members receive the highly respected law journal Trusts and Estates Quarterly, both in hard copy and on this website, and have the opportunity to contribute articles for publication.

The Education subcommittee of TEXCOM produces webinars and seminars at least once a month for MCLE credit focusing on issues relevant to your practice. The Section provides seminars for its members at the CLA Annual Meeting.  The Educating Seniors subcommittee produces a full day seminar on elder abuse issues each year.

Our members are kept up-to-date on new cases through Case Alerts posted on our website, and receive notices of these cases through email and posts on our Facebook and LinkedIn pages. 

Our Legislation subcommittee reviews every bill introduced in the Legislature to determine if any bills affect the practice of law in trusts and estates.  The Section’s subcommittees Follow Legislation (some 205 bills in 2020) to their death or passage, often providing comment to our legislators.  Statutory updates are reported to our members in The Quarterly at the end of the year. 

Nearly every year TEXCOM authors Affirmative Legislative Proposals on topics affecting Section members, seeking a legislator to sponsor proposed bills.  In 2020, amendments to Probate Code sections 21385 changing the presumption of undue influence created under Lintz v. Lintz (2014) 222 Cal. App. 4th 1346 emanated from TEXCOM, as did the amendments to Probate Code sections 21380 and 21611 protecting elders from caregivers.  

TEXCOM selectively submits Amicus Curiae Briefs on topics affecting the development of the law of trusts and estates.  TEXCOM submitted CLA’s first amicus brief and participated in oral argument at the California Supreme Court in Barefoot v. Jennings (2020) 8 Cal.5th 822. 

As the pandemic hit, TEXCOM represented its members’ concerns regarding remote online notarization for estate planning documents; although the Governor did not issue an emergency order, TEXCOM has a seat at the table with other stakeholders interested in such notarization. 

TEXCOM analyzes and comments on Uniform Laws such as the Uniform Trust Decanting Act enacted in 2018 and the currently proposed Uniform Fiduciary Income and Principal Act. Coming soon, the Section will offer Podcasts of interviews with well-respected speakers about current issues, legislation and cases.  The Section also provides expertise to practitioners through such publications as an Ethics Guide and the Practitioner Checklist for those selling, winding down or taking over the law practice of a disabled or deceased practitioner.

The Trusts and Estates Section is where practitioners keep up to date on trusts and estates law in California while interacting with the larger community of trusts and estates lawyers across the state.  We thank our existing members for their support and welcome their input.  We invite all California lawyers who are looking to start or build a trusts and estates practice to join our Section.

Ellen McKissock
Chair, Executive Committee of Trusts and Estates Section

More Information

Who Are We?

The Section was originally formed in 1976 as the Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Section. In 2002, the Section changed its name to the Trusts and Estates Section. Section membership includes more than 6,000 attorneys from Eureka to El Centro with interests and expertise in some or all of our active substantive committees, which include Estate Planning, Taxes, Trust and Estate Administration, Litigation, Incapacity (including Conservatorship, Guardianship, and Elder Law), and Ethics.

Become a player – or at least an informed spectator – in one of the most dynamic sections. Support the work we do monitoring, drafting, and critiquing legislation which affects those areas of the law which have an impact on us as trust and estate practitioners, our clients and the general public.

We encourage Trusts and Estates lawyers to join the Section and work on our various committees. We are an active Section and always need qualified and experienced lawyers to assist in our endeavor of better serving the public and Trusts and Estates practitioners.

Organization

Educational Events

Legislation

The Bill Tracking Page  provides a handy way to follow all pending legislative proposals. When you select the Trusts & Estates Matrix, you’ll access all of the pending bills of interest to the Trusts and Estates Section.

Important Cases

Administrative Matters

  • Practitioner Checklist – This checklist outlines what must be done when a Trusts and Estates lawyer dies or becomes disabled and is also an excellent starting point for Trusts and Estates lawyers to review their own procedures.

Social Media

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

Section Website

The Section website, including the members only area, is updated and expanded regularly. Bookmark the page and visit often.

Why Join?

Members receive:

  • The California Trusts and Estates Quarterly, which is, without a doubt, the best value in professional periodicals available to the California practitioner. Feature articles and columns of the Quarterly are written by leading authors, practitioners and scholars.
  • Discounted educational programs covering what you need to know, are afraid you don’t know, or absolutely must know.
  • Legislative alerts from the obvious to the obscure.
  • Opportunity to work on our substantive committees and special projects which can make an important difference.
  • CEB discount – 10% off a wide selection of publications. Details can be found on the CEB website.

What if You’re Not A Lawyer?

Consider becoming a Subscriber if you are in a Section-related field working as a paralegal, bank trust officer, financial planner, or life underwriter. You may also be interested if you are a lawyer licensed outside of California.

  • The California Trusts and Estates Quarterly .
  • Notice of Section educational programs, discounted admission fees, and outstanding materials.
  • Discounts on Section publications such as the “Guide to the California Rules of Professional Conduct for Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Counsel”.

How to Join?

For information about joining, see join a Section.

Contact Us

Trusts and Estates Section
California Lawyers Association
400 Capitol Mall, Suite 650
Sacramento, CA 95814
TrustsAndEstates@calawyers.org

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