Trusts and Estates

Season 1, Episode 3: Ethics for Trusts and Estates Attorneys

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Guests for this episode of “Trust Me!” are Tom Shaver and Neil Wertlieb. Tom served as Editor to the Fourth Edition of the Guide to The California Rules of Professional Conduct for Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Counsel. Tom discusses the process of reviewing and updating the fourth edition of the Guide. He also explains the effort to make this edition even more of a practice guide with  expanded sample discussions and new chapters on litigation and technology. For more information about the Guide, including how to purchase your own copy go to:

Co-Chair of the California Lawyers Association’s Ethics Committee Neil Wertlieb joins the podcast to tell us about the work of the Ethics Committee as well as ethical issues relevant to trusts and estates attorneys. We talk about conflicts—who is and who isn’t a client, conflicts when the fiduciary is also a beneficiary, and current and advance client conflict waivers. Finally, we consider ethical issues relevant during a pandemic.

Thomas Shaver was an attorney with Hartog Baer & Hand in Orinda for over seventeen years, with a practice focused on estate planning, post-death administrations, and related estate and gift taxation. He served for six years as a member of the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section.  In his final two years of that term he chaired the Ethics Subcommittee that coordinated the research, updating and revision of the Ethics Guide for trusts and estates practitioners that the Section published at the end of last year.  

Neil J. Wertlieb brings more than three decades of experience as a corporate transactional lawyer, including two decades as a partner at Milbank LLP.   Mr. Wertlieb’s areas of expertise include: corporate governance and business transactions (including acquisitions, securities offerings and restructurings); and attorney ethics and attorney standard of care.  He served as an ethicist as a Founding Member and Co-Chair of the California Lawyers Association Ethics Committee, a past Chair of  California State Bar’s Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct, past Chair of  Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Professional Responsibility and Ethics Committee and as Special Deputy Trial Counsel for California State Bar’s Office of Chief Trial Counsel. For additional information, please visit

Host Herb Stroh is a partner at McCormick Barstow LLP, and practices out of the San Luis Obispo office. Herb is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. He is past chair of the Trusts and Estates Section of the California Lawyers Association and represents the Section on the CLA Board of Representatives. He is also Treasurer of CLA for the 2020-2021 year.  Herb has extensive experience in all aspects of trust, probate, conservatorship, and guardianship conflict resolution.  He also has experience in all aspects of estate planning and administration of trusts, probate estates, special needs trusts, and conservatorships. Mr. Stroh has also served as a mediator in a variety of trust and estate disputes both in Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo counties. 

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