TRUSTS & ESTATES

Friedemann Goldberg LLP’s Estate Planning team has extensive experience in drafting all forms of trusts, and excels at safeguarding our clients’ loved ones and their assets at all phases of estate planning, trust administration and, if necessary, litigation.

We represent clients with wide-ranging needs in regard to complexity - from the high net worth to those with more traditional needs – with the same level of care and courtesy as we would expect for ourselves. We strive to relieve our clients’ concerns and ensure the maximum level of asset security through decreased tax liability and thoughtful generational wealth transfers.

Our attorneys have experience in multiple areas with expertise in family business succession planning, offshore asset protection planning, and estate tax deferral strategies. They are viewed in the highest regard by their peers in the estate planning and trust administration profession, and are authors of articles and book chapters on family limited partnerships, generation-skipping transfer tax, business succession, and domestic partnerships.

Friedemann Goldberg’s attorneys are on the cutting edge of estate planning strategies for all family structures, and regularly handle the most complex of matters with understanding and attention to detail.

Our Estate Planning team is led by partners Steven M. Goldberg, Ronald P. Wargo and Stephanie Barber Hess. Both Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Wargo are Certified Specialists in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Goldberg is a three-time winner of Worth Magazine’s “100 Best Estate Planning Attorneys in the Nation.” Ms. Hess leads the firm’s probate litigation practice and is experienced in all forms of litigation procedures.

Areas of Focus


Our focus is to use creativity and common sense to carefully craft plans to meet our clients’ wishes and needs. Our firm is one of the leading firms in matters of wills, powers of attorney, health care directives and all aspects of estate planning, including qualified personal residence trusts, special needs trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, spousal lifetime access trusts and irrevocable life insurance trusts.


After trusts have been established, proper administration is essential. Our firm handles all matters of trust and probate administration including advising and consulting for trustees and executors, assisting with the transition of ownership, handling gift transfers, and working with charitable organizations. We strive to ensure our clients’ wishes are honored and their instructions are carried out dutifully.


While it is always our goal to assure trust and probate matters are handled seamlessly and to settle disputes quickly, there are some matters that can only be resolved through litigation. As such, we are always prepared to advocate for our clients to the fullest extent. We explore every avenue in order to ensure that trust and probate matters are litigated efficiently and successfully.

Team Members

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Steven Goldberg has more than 30 years experience representing businesses and commercial enterprises.

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Ronald Wargo is highly experienced in matters of estate planning, and business and entity formation.

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Stephanie Hess has led numerous trust litigation matters in all phases.

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John MacLeod has handled business litigation matters such as breach of contract, fraud, and collections, as well as probate litigation matters.

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Mia Bowler is experienced in matters of estate planning, trust administration, and estate and gift tax returns.

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Christopher Haws is experienced in simple and complex estate planning matters, trust administration, and estate and gift tax returns.

Recent Articles

All of the following people have something unfortunate in common: Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Pablo Picasso, Steve McNair, and Prince. Indeed, being a public figure or celebrity can be unfortunate, but the more tragic common thread among them is that they passed away without an estate plan.

Electronic communications, social media, and other digital mediums have become an increasing part of our lives. For some, even a Second Life. But what happens to these digital assets when you become incapacitated or die?

Third party irrevocable spendthrift trusts are considered a means of asset protection for the beneficiaries; however, California already allows for many exceptions to the general rule that a creditor of a beneficiary cannot access the assets of such a trust.