Wills and Trusts

Providing wealth preservation and management advice

Distribution and transfer of assets according to a will or a trust must be handled with care to avoid impairing the rights and interests of the beneficiaries. For more than 19 years, Thomas R. Barnes Attorney at Law has worked with clients in the Marina Del Rey area on their estate planning, wills, trusts and probate needs, including probate litigation, estate and trust administration, and charitable gift planning.

Every trust involves a grantor, a trustee and a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Trust administration is a specialized area of practice and often involves complex considerations that may not be apparent to the trustee or to the trust beneficiaries.

It is important that you seek the advice of a knowledgeable and skilled attorney on wills, trusts and other testamentary instruments and estate plans. Unlike most other legal exercises, the testator cannot alter the terms of wills and trusts after the testator’s death, which is when they become effective. That makes it very important that the testamentary instruments embody the testator’s exact intent. Our seasoned wills and trusts lawyers have extensive experience with drafting legal documents that implement testators’ wishes precisely.

We also have extensive experience with estate litigation matters. When a testator’s will or trust is ambiguous or when beneficiaries dispute an estate scheme, the aggrieved parties come to us to help resolve the conflict. Contact us right away if you are a beneficiary and if you feel that the trustee has squandered trust assets or if you are being treated unfairly in an estate distribution. Our attorneys provide effective counsel and advice and will represent your interests aggressively, whether at the settlement table or in court.

If you have a trust or estate question, contact our experienced attorneys today. Do not delay – timing is important in trusts and estates matters to ensure that your rights are protected. Call us at call at (310) 821-7745 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. 

Providing wealth preservation and management advice.


Delivering well-reasoned solutions to complex probate problems

Thomas R. Barnes Attorney at Law represents executors, administrators, beneficiaries and trust fiduciaries in probate and probate-related litigation. We integrate our substantive legal knowledge with sound professional judgment to ensure that our clients receive the representation they deserve to resolve conflicts that arise over probate.

Our firm makes it a priority to simplify the process of probate for executors who are unfamiliar with the legal steps involved with administering an estate. Among many other tasks, we assist executors and administrators with settling debts, paying taxes, filing the will with the appropriate state authority and carrying out the last wishes of the deceased.

It is important to note that there is a difference between executors and administrators. Executors are generally appointed in wills to settle the decedent’s outstanding debts and transfer the remainder of the estate among the named beneficiaries. Administrators are appointed by the court when a person dies intestate (without a will). The court-appointed administrator is usually the surviving spouse, adult child of the deceased or the person who stands to inherit the remainder of the estate based on fixed legal rules.

In rare cases, distressed family members may object to the distribution of assets — giving rise to probate litigation. Beneficiaries of wills may have grounds for litigation when they can show forgery of wills, undue influence over the deceased, mental incapacity or other problems with the will. Our attorneys are tough legal advocates who fight for the rights of heirs to an estate and their executors in various types of litigation.

Trust litigation involves larger sums of money and can prove to be more acrimonious.  Thomas R. Barnes Attorney at Law consists of tough legal advocates who do not back down from a fight.  We are consistent and aggressive in our approach to trust litigation — representing both individual beneficiaries and trust fiduciaries in complex litigation.

For advice regarding your legal issue, consult with Thomas R. Barnes Attorney at Law by giving us a call at (310) 821-7745. We look forward to helping you resolve your probate matter.


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