Jim Lamping has practiced in the areas of trusts and estates litigation, administration and planning throughout his career. The combination of these three practice areas provides him with a unique perspective and depth of experience to serve his clients. For example, Jim uses his extensive planning and administration experience in litigation when evaluating what an estate planning document was designed to do and whether the fiduciary properly carried out his or her duties. Jim has used these insights to make contributions to the profession, including extensive teaching and writing for attorneys, judges and other professionals in each of these areas. His plain English, down to earth, practical approach will make you feel confident that your affairs are being handled properly.

Expert Witness and Consultation Services

Jim has testified as an expert witness in contested matters, as well as before the California Assembly and Senate in connection with legislation he has drafted. Several current provisions of the Probate Code were drafted by Jim. His areas of expertise in trusts and estates matters include:

  • The ethical duties of attorneys and the standard of care applicable to attorneys and other fiduciaries (including trustees and personal representatives)
  •  Issues arising out of contentious and litigated administrations
  •  Subtrust allocation and funding (including stale trust funding)
  •  Matters involving the intersection of the Family Code and the Probate Code
  •  Property characterization in the post-death setting
  •  Long term trust administrations
  •  The motivations and effects of tax sensitive trusts

Trusts and Estates Litigation
In unfortunate cases involving disagreements that develop following the death of a loved one, assertive legal representation may be the only way to protect your rights and see that your loved one’s desires are carried out. These cases often involve a combination of complex technical issues and troubled relationships between family members. The result can be that you find yourself in emotionally charged, stressful and confusing circumstances while still in the grieving process. Jim will stand with you, using his proven knowledge and experience to bring you clarity and peace of mind.

The disputes Jim most commonly resolves for his clients include the following:

  • Trusts and Estates Litigation and Dispute Resolution
  • Litigation regarding Breaches of Fiduciary Duties
  • Claims and Defenses Arising from Trust and Probate Administrations
  • Disputes concerning the Characterization of Separate and Community Property
  • Litigation regarding Spousal Community Property Rights
  • Representing Beneficiaries to Monitor and Enforce Fiduciary Compliance
  • Litigation regarding the Misuse and Misappropriation of Assets by Fiduciaries
  • Emergency Petitions to Protect Assets from Fiduciary Misconduct
  • Litigation regarding the Mismanagement of Assets by Fiduciaries
  • Litigation Relating to the Uniform Prudent Investor Act
  • Claims and Defenses Relating to Financial Elder Abuse
  • Compelling Accountings and Reporting of Information
  • Litigation of Disputes Related to Accountings
  • Litigation of Will and Trust Contests
  • Actions to Compel Distributions from Trusts and Estates
  • Litigation regarding Trustee Removal and Replacement
  • Actions to Set Aside Invalid and Improper Estate Planning Documents
  • Litigation Relating to Delayed and Stale Trust and Probate Administrations
  • Claims and Defenses Relating to Allegations of Fraud by Fiduciaries
  • Litigation regarding Missing and Misappropriated Assets

Administration of Trusts and Estates
If a loved one has died, an orderly administration of his or her estate is essential to avoid worsening an already stressful situation. The beneficiaries and other interested parties will be looking to you to bring a prompt and efficient conclusion to the administration. Estate planning attorneys or others sometimes give the impression that there is very little to be done in a post-death administration. The reality is that there are a number of complexities and what you don’t know can hurt you. The consequences of making even a single mistake can be disastrous, and may even lead to the imposition of personal liability against you. Jim will guide you through each step of the process, providing the structure necessary to ensure that the administration is completed properly and in an orderly manner.

In some post-death administrations, family members or other interested parties just don’t get along. The death of a loved one may only serve to heighten long simmering tensions, particularly in dysfunctional families. This may be compounded by the highly technical nature of post-death administrations, problems in the deceased family member’s estate planning documents, or the fact that the administration has already gone off track. Jim has extensive experience with these problematic “train wreck” administrations, combining his administration and litigation expertise in the resolution of actual or potential disputes.

The services Jim most often provides to clients in connection with post-death administrations include the following:

  • Post-Death Trust Administrations
  • Probate Administrations
  • Contested and Problem Administrations
  • Stale Trust Administrations
  • Long-Term Trust Administrations
  • Terminating Trust Administrations
  • Subtrust Funding Upon the Death of the First Spouse
  • Post-Death Transfers to Trusts (Including Heggstad Petitions)
  • Court Petitions to Modify and Terminate Trusts
  • Court Petitions to Resolve Ambiguities and Correct Drafting Errors
  • Trust and Probate Accountings
  • Emergency Appointment of Administrators and Trustees
  • Spousal Property Petitions
  • Blended Family Postdeath Administrations

Estate Planning

After performing estate planning services for nearly twenty years, Jim has stopped taking on new engagements in this area of practice. However, Jim’s extensive experience constructing intricate estate plans provides him with a unique insight into how they are supposed to be administered, as well as where things can go wrong. Jim’s extensive experience includes highly complex transactions involving millions of dollars for high net worth individuals, as well as working with everyday families who require personalized attention. This experience includes the following:

  • Revocable Trusts
  • Wills
  • Durable Power of Attorneys for Management of Property and Financial Affairs
  • Advanced Health Care Directives
  • Nominations of Guardians for Minor Children
  • Nominations of Conservators
  • Health Care Privacy Releases
  • Trust Funding Documents
  • Spendthrift Trusts to Protect Beneficiaries from Creditors or Spouses
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Planning to Avoid Disputes between Spouses and Children of Prior Relationships in Blended Families
  • Crossover Issues in Estate Planning and Family Law
  • Advanced Estate Planning for Estate and Income Tax Avoidance
  • Sales to Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts (IDGTs)
  • Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs)
  • Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRTs)
  • Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs) and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)