With over 25 years of leadership in the fields of Estate Planning, Probate, Conservatorships, Trust and Probate Litigation, and Special Needs Planning, The Law Office of Elise Lampert works with its clients to find the best possible solution for each client’s unique situation and goals. We bring to this effort our experience and a commitment to providing the highest level of personalized service.

How we can help

Trust and Estate Litigation

Trust and Estate Litigation

Disputes often arise in the administration of a trust or a probate estate. These situations are often fueled by grief, confusion, and other strong emotions especially when there are substantial amounts of money involved or when family conflict is present.  Quite often these disputes arise between beneficiaries, a trustee, probate administrator, heirs, or from third parties. For over 25 years, The Law Office of Elise Lampert has been representing Trustees, Beneficiaries, Administrators and Fiduciaries in probate and trust disputes. We are very mindful of the issues facing the parties and the fact that many of these disputes often involve family members.

Our practice focuses on handling claims for breach of fiduciary duty, beneficiary disputes, disputes regarding the validity of wills and trusts, undue influence, and all aspects of conservatorships and guardianships.

Contact us through our website, by phone at (818) 905-0601, or email elise@lampertlaw.com

Estate Planning

Our approach is twofold:

First, we take the time to get to know you and your circumstances. Reviewing your finances is only one part of this process. We want to know about you and your family. How is your family structured? What are your family dynamics? Do you have children with special needs? Are you considering making gifts to a charity?  Do you have any health issues we should know about?

Second, we take the time to educate you. We want to make sure you always understand — and are comfortable with — the strategies outlined in a proposed estate plan. You will never feel rushed. We always have time to discuss your concerns and answer your questions.

We then create an estate plan that is tailored to your needs. Our firm also represents clients during trust administration, probate administration, conservatorships, guardianships, and probate litigation.

The Law Office of Elise Lampert provides a safe and supportive environment for you to discuss these intimate personal issues. Contact us through our website, by phone at (818) 905-0601, or email elise@lampertlaw.com


What is a Trust?

A trust is an estate planning vehicle that allows those assets transferred into the trust to pass to another person without having to go through a court proceeding called probate.  A trust is not just for the ultra wealthy, it is an estate planning tool that should be used by those who owns real estate or own assets in excess of $150,000.00. Trust administration is the process of distributing the property and the estate of a deceased person, in accordance with the decedent’s Trust. An estate plan that includes the creation of a  Trust can save family members from disputes and court proceedings, after the passing of a loved one.

Potential problems can arise if you do not have an estate plan that includes a trust or a will.

  1. Your money, assets, or property may go to a person you do not want to have it.  If there is no estate plan in place, the State of California decides who gets what, using its own rules and procedures.
  2. In general, most married couples would like their spouse to inherit both joint and separate property. In a situation where you do not have a will or a trust and have one or more children, the California Probate Code dictates that your separate property is to be divided between your spouse and your children. Having a trust allows you to decide who will inherit your property. 
  3. If you are separated from your spouse, not divorced or your divorce has not been finalized and you do not have a will or a trust, your estranged spouse will inherit your assets under the law of the California Probate Code.
  4. If you are single with no children and you pass away without a will or a trust, under California Law all assets will go to your next of kin regardless of whether you know them and whether you intended them to inherit your assets. 
  5. If you only have a will and no trust and own a home or estate valued over $150,000, then your estate will likely end up in probate court, a costly and time-consuming court proceeding. 

A properly drafted and funded trust can help avoid probate. 

If you need help creating an estate plan contact us through our website, by phone at (818) 905-0601, or email elise@lampertlaw.com



A will is a document whereby you designate who is to receive your assets and personal belongings after you pass away.  You also have the ability to designate who will oversee the administration of the estate, the executor, and allows you to nominate a guardian for a minor child. It is a tool that puts you in control of your affairs after you have passed away. It also gives you the ability to identify bank accounts, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds and to earmark sums to go to charities or other beneficiaries. You also have the ability to make arrangements for the care of your pets in a will as well.

You have the ability to clarify the status of a former spouse or stepchildren in order to avoid confusion or disputes. Thus, a valid, executed will can minimize the probate process and reduce taxation. 

If you do not have a will, or your will is found to be invalid, your estate will be distributed according to state law instead which may include distributions that are contrary to your own wishes.

If you need help creating a will, contact us through our website, by phone at (818) 905-0601, or email elise@lampertlaw.com

Conservatorships and Guardianships

Conservatorships and Guardianships

A General Conservatorship

A conservatorship is a court proceeding wherein an individual (the Conservator) is appointed to manage the finances and/or daily life activities of an adult(the Conervatee) who is no longer able to care for him or herself due to a physical and/or mental incapacity. A General Conservatorship may be necessary when a loved one suffers from Parkinson’s, Stroke, Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, or other serious mental impairments and/or is unable to withstand undue influence. Conservatorships are public proceedings that involve ongoing court supervision. 

Limited Conservatorships

A Limited Conservatorship may be required for adults who were diagnosed with a developmental disability prior to attaining the age of 18 and are unable to completely care for his or herself or unable financial decisions by his or herself.

In these circumstances, the Court appoints an individual (the Conservator), usually a parent or older sibling, to make decisions relating to housing, education, medical, finances, etc. Once your loved one turns 18 (even if you are the parent), a court order is needed to allow you to continue to act and make decisions on his or her behalf.  


A Guardianship is like a Conservatorship, but it applies to minor children. A Guardianship is necessary when a parent is unable to care for their child or children. A Guardian is appointed by the Court to make personal decisions such as housing, education, and medical decisions. When a minor receives an inheritance or other sums of money, a guardian of the estate may be required to manage the assets until the minor child attains adulthood.  

If you need help creating a will, contact us through our website, by phone at (818) 905-0601, or email elise@lampertlaw.com

Advanced Healthcare Directive

Advanced Healthcare Directive 

An Advanced Health Care Directive is a document wherein you outline your wishes regarding healthcare in the event you are unable to express those wishes for yourself. It is not about how you want to die; it is about how you want to live. While we all tend to think we will always be healthy and able to communicate our wishes, unfortunately, things can quickly change and often unexpectedly.  This document acts as a roadmap for those you have assigned to carry out your wishes regarding your healthcare choices, if you are unable to communicate those wishes yourself.

Everyone over eighteen (18) years of age should create and execute an Advanced Healthcare Directive, which specifies in detail his or her wishes regarding treatment and care if he or she becomes ill and cannot communicate those wishes for themselves. You also have the ability in an Advanced Healthcare Directive to designate an agent who understands your choices and will speak on your behalf. It must be stressed that an Advanced Healthcare Directive can only be signed and executed when a person is mentally competent and has the ability to communicate his or her wishes.

If you need help establishing an Advanced Healthcare Directive, contact us through our website, by phone at (818) 905-0601, or email elise@lampertlaw.com

Special Needs Trust

Special Needs Trust

A Special Needs Trust is a trust designed for persons with disabilities.  The purpose of a Special Needs Trust is to provide supplemental funds in addition to the public benefits without jeopardizing them, to the person who has a disability. 

With the creation of a Special Needs Trust it is possible to appoint a trustee to hold property for the benefit of the person with the disability after you’re gone. A special needs trust provides for the needs of a disabled person without disqualifying him or her from benefits received from government programs such as Social Security and Medi-Cal.

In order to qualify for the Social Security Administration’s Supplemental Security Income Benefits, (“SSI”), a disabled adult can’t hold more than $2,000 in assets, excluding a car and a home. SSI benefits, which average about $400 per month, must only be spent on food, clothing and shelter expenses.


Assets held in a special needs trust are not counted as part of the special needs beneficiary’s assets in determining  his or her eligibility for needs based public assistance.


Special Needs Trusts  fall into two categories: (1) the third party Special Needs Trust; and (2) the first party Special Needs Trust.  The benefits recipient is the party. In the first party Special Needs Trust are created with the beneficiary’s own assets.  Third party Special Needs Trusts are established by someone other than the beneficiary, with the creator’s (Testor’s) own assets.

Medi-Cal Refund:

First party Special Needs Trust are required to provide for Medi-Cal reimbursement on the beneficiary’s death.  Third party SpecialNeeds Trust are not required to provide Medi-Cal reimbursement upon the beneficiary’s death. 

Contact us through our website, by phone at (818) 905-0601, or email elise@lampertlaw.com

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