Sound Counsel to Guide Administrators and Trustees

A lifetime of hard work can reap personal and financial rewards. Making sure that the fruits of your labor aren’t diminished because of a lack of planning or guidance requires sound and experienced counsel.

Although I do not generally do estate planning, I provide a complete range of services once that planning is completed. Those services include will and trust interpretation, administration, probate, dispute resolution, and litigation if necessary. I work with individuals and families to identify goals, evaluate options, and plot the most efficient strategy for their unique situation. I ensure that the appropriate and necessary papers are prepared, served, filed, and recorded, and I work with your accountants to ensure that all required reports and tax filings are handled thoroughly and in a timely manner.

In addition, I advise trustees, executors, and administrators regarding their rights and obligations as fiduciaries and their responsibilities to the beneficiaries of the will and trust. I work with these personal representatives and other appropriate professionals (such as accountants, financial consultants, tax experts, and brokers) to:

  • Prove the authenticity of the will or trust
  • Interpret the language and requirements of the will or trust
  • Assemble and collect the assets of the estate and prepare an inventory
  • Pay debts and review claims against the estate
  • Contest claims against the estate if appropriate
  • Properly distribute assets to heirs
  • Prepare and file the final accounting
  • Evaluate and facilitate investment options, standards of distribution, and titling of assets

Handling Probate Issues and Contested Matters With Clarity and Compassion

When you have lost a loved one, the practical issues involved in resolving their estate matters in the way they intended can be confusing, frustrating, and overwhelming. Unfortunately, sometimes family members exacerbate these emotions by claiming that a will or trust is invalid because it was obtained though the undue influence of another family member, or by questioning the interpretation of the language of the estate planning documents. When disputes arise between those left behind, the emotional toll and financial risks can be even greater. I stand ready to guide you through what can be a trying process, and can help you wrap up final affairs and settle accounts efficiently and compassionately.

With the personal attention and responsiveness that can be lacking from larger law firms, I will take the time to discuss with you your issues and goals, and to review all of the relevant documents, including wills, trusts, correspondence, bank statements, life insurance policies, or other important information. Together, we will develop a full picture of assets and liabilities, determine the likely intent of the decedent, and decide on the best course of action.

When family members disagree about the validity, content, or interpretation of a will or trust, or cannot resolve other inheritance issues, I provide assertive representation for probate and trust litigation with the goal of getting the estate closed as efficiently as possible in accordance with the intent of the decedent, and avoiding further irreparable damage to already frayed family relationships.

Cohen Law Firm: Experienced Guidance in Estate, Trust and Probate Matters

I welcome the opportunity to meet with you regarding your estate, trust or probate administration or litigation issues. Please call my Westlake Village office today at (805) 267-7147 or e-mail me at to discuss your issues or to make an appointment.