Probate Litigation

  • Fiduciary disputes
  • Trust disputes
  • Will contests
  • Elder abuse matters

More than 30 years ago, as the Chair of the Trial Department of California's 2nd oldest law firm, Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps, Mark Mazzarella created and ran the Probate, Trust & Estate Litigation Sub-Group within the firm's Trial Department because he realized that special knowledge and skills were required for that type of litigation. Most probate lawyers did not have the necessary trial experience; and most trial lawyers didn't know the first thing about probate, trust and estate law. From that tradition, Mazzarella & Mazzarella has continued to provide institutional and individual trustees, beneficiaries of wills and trusts, charities, and other clients with the unique combination of proven trial knowledge and skills, and an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of everyone involved in making, administering, challenging or defending wills and trusts.

REPRESENTATIVE CASES

  • Mr. Mazzarella defended the Mormo n Church in a will contest filed by a man who claimed to have been promised the gift of a large apartment complex in return for his management and maintenance of the complex without charge during the lifetime of a woman who left over $33 million to the Church.
  • In a jury trial we successfully defended the head of the Trust Department and the General Counsel of a bank who allegedly asked a bank customer to commit tax fraud to avoid the consequences of an alleged bank error. The jury returned a defense verdict in just 40 minutes.
  • The firm represented a charitable family foundation, the assets of which included a large company with manufacturing facilities throughout the United States and 220 acres of largely developable land in Rancho Santa Fe, California, with regard to potential litigation within the family and against the Foundation, and regarding the sale and/or development of the Foundation's real property.
  • We successfully prosecuted and defended numerous will contests, for among others, the ex-wife of actor George C. Scott.
  • We have represented many large banks and other institutional trustees, with both pre-litigation counseling and in litigation.

REPRESENTATIVE CLIENTS

  • San Diego Trust & Savings Bank
  • Union Bank
  • Bank of California
  • Security Pacific Bank
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints
  • The Sahm Family Foundation