The following written materials accompanied Mr. Wallace’s presentation on Estate & Trust Litigation to the Continuing Education of the Bar. I. Avoiding Conflicts of Interest A. Know the Rule. One of most important considerations in attorney-client relationship is dealing with conflicts of interest. Starting point: Read Rule of Professional Conduct 3-310. Don’t read it for the first time when a client says you have violated it. You may be surprised at its content. B. What have you got to lose? Plenty. Bad things can happen if you have a conflict of interest when doing work for a client. They include discipline by the state bar, disqualification, loss of fees, action for malpractice. C. Dual Representation. Most obvious conflict is dual representation — simultaneous representation of clients with differing interests. (Asbestos Claims Facility v. Berry & Berry (1990) 219 Cal.App.3d 9, 26.) D. Not necessary to have an attorney-client relationship to create a conflict. Providing legal advice to a person or obtaining confidential information from the person can provide the basis for conflict claim. May preclude you from representing someone else even on an unrelated claim against that first person. (See Beery v. State Bar (1987) 43 Cal.2d 802, 811.) E. Estate planning and estate and trust litigation provide fertile ground for assertion of conflicts. 1. For example, where the estate planner is planning an estate for husband and wife who have children by earlier marriages. In hypothetical Case No. 1, you have just such a situation. Considering what the clients are asking the attorney there, independent representation of husband and wife seems advisable. At a minimum get a written waiver of conflict from husband and wife. 2. Or suppose you represent the trustor of a living trust who resigns because of ill health. In the typical estate plan, the successor trustee also has a durable power of attorney. Can you now represent the successor trustee/attorney in fact as well as the trustor? 3. Or suppose you represent husband in preparation of estate plan. Husband becomes mentally incompetent and second wife induces him to change his trust in her favor. Can you represent the son in litigation to enforce the terms of the trust you prepared. Commissioner Hickman disqualified counsel for the son in just such a case. I was on the receiving end. 4. Or suppose the executor of the estate and certain beneficiaries of the estate want you to represent them in litigation with other beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries. Probably not. (Estate of Huber (1973) 31 Cal.App.3d 126, 134-135; Estate of Effron (1981) 117 Cal.App.3d. 915, 929.) 5. Representation of a family corporation. Suppose you set up or give advice concerning a family corporation which is in whole or in part community property. You will have a conflict if you later attempt to represent husband or wife in a dispute between them involving their community property. (Wood v. Superior Court (1983) 149 Cal.App.3d 931, 936. F. “Saving Money” pitfall. How often have you heard the clients say, “We want you to represent both of us to save money.” 1. Typical case might be where couple planning marriage asks you to prepare a fair pre-marital agreement for both of them. 2. Don’t represent both sides in a transaction where there is an actual — as opposed to only a potential — conflict. A recent case suggests that a deftly drawn waiver of conflict might keep the attorney out of trouble. Don’t count on it — clients expect the attorney to be loyal. 3. If the conflict is only a potential – not actual conflict, get a written waiver from the clients in which you explain fully how the dual representation could affect their interests. II. Escaping Conflicts A. Informed Written Consent. When you have a potential conflict or a present or past relationship with someone who now might be adverse to your client, get informed written waiver. Disclose all the material facts and ask the client to waive in writing the potential conflict. B. Written Disclosure of Relationships. Rule 3-310 requires disclosure of certain relationships, but not necessarily consent of the client. You must disclose in writing any legal, business, financial, professional, or personal relationship with a party or witness in the same matter. Example: Suppose you have used an attorney as an expert witness in one case and now the same attorney is your opposing counsel in a completely unrelated case. Be sure to inform your client in writing of the former relationship. C. Multiple clients. 1. Typical case: You represent several beneficiaries objecting to some conduct of the trustee. 2. In this and in other cases where you have multiple clients in a case, be sure to consider all the possible areas where their interests may diverge in the future. For example, they may have different ideas of what is an acceptable settlement. Get a written conflict waiver up front spelling out the potential conflicts. Include in the agreement a provision which states who will be the spokesman and on whose directions you can rely. (See ABA Journal Article attached.) DISPUTE AVOIDANCE AND DISPUTE ANALYSIS I. Dispute Avoidance A. Times we are living in. 1. What I have in mind: Trends which tend to foster litigation: a. Trend towards the use of revocable living trusts which are not under court supervision. Keeping trusts out of mandatory court supervision has many advantages particularly in cost saving. But without supervision, trusts can go bad quickly, often leaving litigation as the only fix. b. Trend away from the use of professional trustees. Increasing use of family members as trustees. Some of these trustees are violating the trusts out of ignorance and others out of greed and selfinterest. As a result we see parents suing children, children suing parents, nephews and nieces suing uncles and aunts, and so on for breach of trust. c. Trend toward multiple marriages. Multiple marriages often create groups of beneficiaries who are not close to one another. Children of different marriages are more likely to sue each other than are children of the same marriage. d. Trend towards increasing wealth held in trusts. With the boom in housing prices, even families with modest incomes often end up with estates of several hundred thousand dollars or more. Large trusts and estates are worth fighting over. e. Trend of people are living longer. Older people because of their failing powers and isolation are more vulnerable to the designs of unscrupulous family members or caregivers. Even the best estate plan carefully constructed over many years can be sabotaged by that holographic will or trust amendment that mysteriously materializes after death. f. People are just more litigation conscious. It’s no wonder that the penchant for litigation spills over into the trust and estate area where emotions can run hot. B. Pre-Death Strategies where unnatural disposition. 1. Where you have an unnatural disposition in an estate plan, you should be alert that this has the potential of triggering litigation after death. To the extent possible you want to Put a protective coating on the plan. C. What are some of the pre-death Defensive moves that you can take? 1. Disclosure to avoid surprise. Try to defuse discontent early on. a. Convene Family Meetings. (Should you be there?) b. Videotape, letters, other. 2. No contest clauses and other deterrent provisions. a. Tailor the no contest clause to the case. Don’t be content with some boilerplate no contest clause. Think of the particular direction from which a challenge may come, and use language which will deter that challenge. (i) The Probate Code defines a contest as “an attack in a proceeding on an instrument or on a provision in an instrument.” This is pretty vague and you may want to be more specific. I know John Duncan will be discussing drafting no contest clauses so you will be hearing more about this today. b. Consider default trust provision in the will which leaves estate on same terms as the living trust if the living trust is invalidated. c. Provision for defense of trust and will at expense of estate, and charging share of unsuccessful claimant with defense costs. 3. Consider a joint tenancy transfer of accounts. a. Clear and convincing evidence needed to overturn. (Probate Code § 5302.) b. Before the other side can act, the recipient already has the funds. 4. Competency evaluation by a forensic psychiatrist or psychologist. Get a written report. 5. Signing ceremony. a. Importance of good witnesses. b. Attorney the best witness. c. Pros and cons of videotaping the execution. (i) Scene from Revenge of the Mummies. (ii) Professional videographer? (iii) Importance of a script. This is a performance. (iv) When in doubt, leave it out — you’re already ahead because of presumption of competency and low threshold of competency. 6. Consider review by independent attorney where client brought to you by someone who will benefit under the will not related by blood or marriage. 7. Have client execute a durable power of attorney. If client starts to deteriorate, the attorney in fact can launch a pre-emptive strike. D. 1. Post Death Strategies. 2. Open a probate — smoke out contests early and start time periods running. a. There is a 120 day contest period after probate and a four month creditor claim period. (Probate Code § 8270, 9100.) This puts pressure on a contestant or claimant, particularly if they want to obtain safe harbor protection. b. Failure to contest will may preclude contest of the trust, particularly if will contains trust mirror provision. c. Starts 1 year overall creditors claim limitation. (Probate Code §§ 9100, 9104; CCP § 366.2) 3. Give notice of right to contest trust under Probate Code §16061.7. Contestant must bring contest within 120 days. (Probate Code § 16061.8) II. Comment on Hypothetical Case. III. Dispute analysis. A. Suppose a potential contestant or claimant comes to you. Do you take the case? B. First question. What is at stake? C. Has time run on filing a contest or a claim? 1. If you decide not to take a case follow up with a letter to the potential client re: time deadlines. 2. Otherwise, client may come back at you if he blows the deadline. D. Evaluate any no contest clause and any other provisions intended to deter litigation. E. If there is a no contest clause, consider filing a safe harbor petition under Probate Code 21300. 1. Caveat: creditor claims period and period to file a contest may be running. May need an order shortening time. 2. File safe harbor petition even if no contest clause does not specifically prohibit what you want to do. Law is still developing on what is a contest. a. What is an indirect contest? F. Find allies. Others may have similar interests. Get declarations or statements from potential witnesses early on. G. No shot gun claims: potential for malicious prosecution (Crowley v. Katleman (1994) 8 Cal.4th 666, 695.) H. Worst nightmare. Inclusion of unsubstantiated claims, no safe harbor petition, you lose case, client’s interest forfeited, client sues for malpractice, opposing side sues for malicious prosecution. ATTORNEY FEES IN TRUSTS AND ESTATES I. Attorney Fees. A. How will you get paid if you take on the case? B. Defense of a Trustee. If you defend the trustee in litigation against the trustee, generally the trustee can pay you out of the trust. Typically the trust instrument provides for such compensation. Also general authority under Probate Code §§ 15684, 16243, and 16249. See also Hollaway v. Edwards (1998) 80 Cal.Rptr. 166. (Opinion by Justice Crosby.) 1. But see Moeller v. Superior Court (1997) 16 Cal.4th 1124, 1135 where the California Supreme Court said, “A trustee cannot compel the trust to pay his attorney’s fees unless the services so employed were incurred in the management and preservation of the trust estate.” 2. Consider obtaining a guarantee from the trustee individually. a. Court may ultimately find that the trustee’s defense was in bad faith or did not benefit the trust. The court may disallow fees out of the trust. Then you want trustee individually on hook for fees. b. If the trustee pays you from the trust and the court ultimately disallows the fees, can you be required to disgorge the fees? C. Representation of Beneficiary Against Trustee. If you represent a beneficiary challenging the trustee’s conduct, generally the beneficiary must bear his own attorney fees. American rule usually applies.(See Estate of Bonaccorsi (Jan. 1999) 1999 Daily Journal D.A.R. 723. (where the court, Justice Crosby, reversed Judge Frazee’s award of attorney fees to a beneficiary of an estate who contended that the executor’s defense of his actions was in bad faith.) PRACTICAL TIP: If you have a strong case against the fiduciary, consider an application to the court to suspend powers and appointment of a temporary trustee. Takes away the trustee’s war chest and levels the playing field. 1. Common Fund Rule exception to American Rule. If attorney’s efforts preserve or increase a fund, court may allow payment out of the fund. (Estate of Stauffer (1959) 53 Cal.2d 124, 132; Estate of Gump (1982) 128 Cal.App.3d 111, 118; Copley v. Copley (1981) 126 Cal.App.3d 248, 293.) Does not work if all or substantially all beneficiaries of the fund have counsel. (Estate of Korthe (1970) 9 Cal.App.3d 572, 575-576.) 2. Estate of Ivy (1994) 22 Cal.App.4th 873 provides an interesting twist. There Beneficiary One had brought an action challenging trustee’ accounting and lost. Then Beneficiary Two requested that Beneficiary One’s share of the trust be charged with Beneficiary Two’s attorneys fees in responding to the challenge and also the trustee’s attorney fees in defending the account. The trial court granted the request of Beneficiary 2 and the Court of Appeal affirmed. So in that case the beneficiary who challenged the accounting ended up paying his own fees, the other beneficiary’s attorney fees and the trustee’s attorney fees. D. Representation of Executor or Administrator. 1. No attorney fees without prior court approval. (Orange County Local Rule 608.03 (Statutory Compensation); Probate Code §§ 10801 and 10811 (Extraordinary Compensation.) 2. The personal representative is not personally liable for the attorneys fees incurred in connection with the estate. (Estate of Trynin (1989) 49 Cal.3d 868, 873; Prob. Code §10803.) If executor’s acts are challenged by a beneficiary, can you have a fee agreement which creates personal liability for the executor if the court does not allow the fees paid out of the estate? 3. Court cannot reduce statutory fee because attorney did not have to spend much time earning it. (Estate of Getty (1983) 143 Cal.App.3d 455, 465-466.) But in allowing fees for extraordinary services the court can consider the amount received for statutory services in setting an overall reasonable fee. The court can even deny all fees for extraordinary services if the attorney is adequately compensated for all work by the statutory fee. (Estate of Walker (1963) 221 Cal.App.2d 792, 795.) 4. Even though compensation is controlled by the court, it still is advisable to spell out terms of engagement in a written agreement. The court may consider the agreement in fixing compensation. But in any event the agreement will be a disclosure to the client, so the client might not later object to your fees when you apply to the court. Also the agreement will spell out scope of engagement. 5. Where litigation has commenced, consider obtaining advance court authorization for payment of your fees. (Probate Code § 10832.) Then you may not have to wait until the litigation is all over to get at least some of your fees paid on account. 6. Reduction of statutory fees. Old rule used to be that the attorney had an absolute right to the statutory commission. Not any more. Excessive delay in closing an estate can result in reduction of statutory attorney fees. (Probate Code § 12205.) E. Whatever fee arrangement you have, put it in writing. Business & Professions Code sections 6147 and 6148 tells you what should go into an agreement. 1. Written agreement can avoid controversy over scope and terms of representation. a. Work out any payment issues up front. b. Puts you in the driver’s seat if client refuses to pay. c. Put an attorney fee clause in the agreement to help deter litigation over your fee. 2. Without written agreement, you are at the mercy of the client in getting paid. 3. Much easier to get a fee agreement worked out before you render services. That is when client most anxious to get started. a. Before you take on the representation, you have no fiduciary duty to the prospective client. Once you are the attorney you are a fiduciary. Undue influence presumptions may apply to any agreement you work out. F. Special statutory provisions re fees. 1. Where the prosecution or defense of an accounting is in bad faith, the prevailing party may be entitled to attorney fees. (Probate Code § 17211.) This may be one way for a complaining beneficiary to recover his attorney fees. a. See Estate of Bonaccorsi (Jan. 1999) 1999 Daily Journal D.A.R. 723. (where the court, Justice Crosby, reversed an award of attorney fees to a beneficiary of an estate who claimed that the executor’s defense of his actions was in bad faith.) 2. Where the prosecution or defense of a creditor’s claim is in bad faith, the prevailing party may be entitled to reasonable attorney fees. (Probate Code § 9354(c).) 3. Where trustee of irrevocable trust refuses to transfer administration to a trust company on request of all adult beneficiaries, attorneys fees may be awarded if trustee removed in the litigation. (Probate Code § 15645.) 4. Where there is fiduciary abuse of a dependent or elder, court may award attorney fees. (Welfare and Institutions Code § 15657.) UNDUE INFLUENCE AND OTHER GROUNDS OF CONTEST I. Undue Influence A. Diminished mental capacity and susceptibility to undue influence go together. 1. Without diminished mental or physical capacity, not likely to prove an undue influence case. In Estate of Ventura (1963) 217 Cal.App.2d 50, the court said “Without a showing of a weakened physical or mental state, it is difficult to draw the inference that there was activity and pressure which actually succeeded in overpowering the will of the testator.” (p. 61.) B. Effect of undue influence. 1. Will procured by undue influence will not be admitted to probate, or if admitted, probate should be revoked 2. Similarly the execution of a trust under undue influence is a ground for setting trust aside. C. Definition: undue influence is conduct that subjugates the testator’s or trustor’s will to that of another causing a disposition of property different from that which the testator or trustor would otherwise have made. (Estate of Baker (1982) 131 Cal.App.3d 471, 480.) Same standard applies to trust as to a will. D. Proof issues: 1. Proof of general influence is not sufficient – must show undue influence used directly to procure the instrument. (Estate of Kreher (1951) 107 Cal.App.2d 831, 839.) 2. Level of Proof of undue influence: preponderance of the evidence or by clear and convincing evidence? (See, Estate of Ventura (1963) 217 Cal.App.2d 50, 58.) (Suggests that clear and convincing evidence is the standard.) 3. Proof by circumstantial evidence. a. Usually the document signed behind closed doors and those present will testify there was no undue influence. But undue influence can be proved by circumstantial evidence. (Estate of Garibaldi 1961) 57 Cal. 2d. 108, 113) b. Look for facts which suggest undue influence occurred. E. Facts suggesting undue influence: 1. Unnatural disposition. Example: leaving property to strangers rather than to kin. 2. Dispositions different from decedent’s intentions expressed before and after the document’s execution. Example: series of wills favoring nieces and nephews equally, and then suddenly a will preferring a particular niece or nephew. 3. Opportunity for the beneficiary of the contested document to control the testamentary act. Example: the decedent lived with the person who now receives the bulk of the estate. 4. Weakened mental or physical state. Example: the decedent had failing eyesight or was bedridden. 5. Beneficiary’s active participation in procuring the execution of the instrument. Example: use of beneficiary’s attorney to prepare the estate planning documents. 6. Cases illustrating above points: (Estate of Yale (1931) 214 Cal. 115, 122; Estate of Lingenfelter (1952) 38 Cal.2d. 571, 585. Estate of Baker (1982) 131 Cal.App.3d 471, 481; Estate of Larendon (1963) 216 Cal.App.2d 14, 19-20; Estate of Gruener (1939) 31 Cal.App.2d 161, 163.) 7. Is it necessary to prove that the alleged undue influencer received a benefit? No. (Estate of Ventura (1963) 217 Cal.App.2d 50, 59; Estate of Trefren (1948) 86 Cal.App.2d 139, 148 and Estate of Bixler (1924) 194 Cal. 585, 595.) F. Shifting the burden of proof is a key to the contestant prevailing. What shifts the burden? Estate of Graves (1927) 202 Cal. 258; Estate of Sarabia (1990) 221 Cal.App.3d 599, 605; Estate of Baker (1982) 131 Cal.App.3d 471, 480; Estate of Bliss (1962) 199 Cal.App.2d 630, 640.) 1. Proof of confidential relationship between alleged influencer and the testator or trustor. For example, if the alleged influencer had a power of attorney from the testator or trustor, he had a fiduciary relationship. Confidential relationship can be inferred from fact that testator or trustor permitted the alleged influencer to do banking or financial transactions. 2. Active participation by the alleged influencer in preparation or execution of the document. (Estate of Garibaldi (1961) 57 Cal.2d 108, 113.) Examples: Taking the testator or trustor to the attorneys office, paying the attorney for preparation of the document, being present when the document signed, providing pen and paper for a holographic will. Not unusual to have a case where someone guides the testator’s hand in signing a document. 3. Alleged influencer unduly profited by the document. This is a qualitative test. Did the quality of the relationship between the decedent and the beneficiary warrant special treatment for the beneficiary. Often an unrelated person by providing extraordinary care, companionship or comfort becomes an object of bounty and rightly so. The law will not prefer a cold hearted relative over a self-less caregiver against the wishes of the decedent. (Compare Estate of Graves (1927) 202 Cal. 258 with Estate of Sarabia (1990) 221 Cal.App.3d 599, 607.) G. Partial invalidity. If only part of document procured by undue influence, court can void that part and leave remainder operative. (Estate of Molera (1972) 23 Cal.App.3d 993, 1001.) II. Fraud A. Fraud is another possible ground for setting aside a will or trust. (Probate Code § 6104) 1. Often alleged, seldom proved. 2. The defrauded person not around to testify to the fraud. 3. Fraud must be pleaded with specificity. 4. Elements of civil fraud apply. B. Unless you have solid facts, stay away from fraud as a ground. (When in doubt, leave it out.) 1. Discovery will smoke out early if there is no basis for the claim. 2. Then you’ll get letter stating that after the lawsuit is over, you are going to be sued for malicious prosecution under Crowley v. Katleman (1994) 8 Cal.4th 666. That case held that even if a contestant and the contestant’s attorney had probable cause to assert some of the grounds of contest, they could be held liable for malicious prosecution if other grounds lacked probable cause. C. As in the case of undue influence, if only part of the document tainted by fraud, the balance can be enforced. (Estate of Carson (1920) 184 Cal. 437, 441.) III. Duress and Menace is another ground of a contest. A. Probate Code § 6104. B. Rare case where this can be shown. Threats against the testator or other acts of duress or menace usually done behind closed doors. Testator no longer around to tell the tale. C. Duress or menace must be alleged with specificity. (Estate of Streeton (1920) 183 Cal. 284, 289.) IV. Mistake A. Mistake of fact or law may be grounds for setting aside or reforming a trust. B. Law is unsettled as to whether a mistake of fact or law can be the basis for setting aside a will. (Compare Estate of Strong (1966) 244 Cal.App.2d 250, 255-256 with Estate of Carson (1920) 184 Cal. 437, 447.) V. Lack of Due Execution A. Failure to comply with legal requirements for execution can be ground of contest. B. For example subscribing witness did not see the testator sign will or acknowledge that will was his or her will. Not likely if attorney a witness, but possibility if no attorney present to oversee execution. E.g., Testator signs will in presence of one witness. Then that witness takes the will next door where it is signed by another person as a witness. Does not comply with Prob. Code Section 6110. VI. Limitations on Transfers to Drafters. A. Certain transfers in wills and trusts invalid. (Probate Code § 21350) Primarily a weapon to prevent lawyers from naming themselves beneficiaries in wills and trusts. But also applies to: 1. Transfer to person who drafted the will or trust. 2. Transfer to relative, spouse, cohabitant or employee of drafter. 3. Transfer to someone involved in law practice with the attorney drafter, partner, employee etc. 4. A person who has a fiduciary relationship with transferor who transcribes the instrument or a blood relative, spouse, cohabitant or employee of the fiduciary. B. Primary exceptions: 1. Person related by blood or marriage. 2. Where independent attorney counsels the transferor and signs a Certificate of Independent Review. No appellate cases on Independent Review. What attorney is going to be interested in giving such a Review? You already know there is a big problem, if you are asked to do so. BREACH OF TRUST I. Definition A. A breach of trust is a violation by the trustee of any duty that the trustee owes a beneficiary. (Prob. Code Section 16400.) II. Probate Code Spells Out Trustee Duties. (Sections 16000 to 16101) A. Duties most often breached: 1. Duty to administer trust according to its terms. 2. Duty of loyalty (administer trust solely in the interest of the beneficiary). 3. Duty of impartiality (multiple beneficiaries). 4. Duty to avoid conflict of interest and self-dealing (trustee cannot profit from his position, have any interest adverse to beneficiary or obtain any advantage from beneficiary). 5. Duty to account and report information to beneficiaries. III. Rare to have a breach of just one duty. Faithless Trustee typically violates more than one duty. IV. Breach of Trust Gives Rise to a Claim for a Remedy (Probate Code § 16420) (Claim for remedy not dependent on trustee’s state of mind in breaching trust.) V. Remedies for breach of Trust (Court has large arsenal.) (Probate Code § 16420) A. Court compels trustee to perform duties. B. Court enjoins breach of trust. C. Court compels trustee to pay money. D. Court appoints receiver. E. Court removes trustee. F. Court sets aside act of trustee. G. Court reduces or denies compensation of trustee. H. Court imposes lien or constructive trust on property. I. Court orders tracing and recovery of property wrongfully disposed of. J. Court may impose any other remedy provided by statute or common law. VI. Money Damages A. Two-fold purpose: compensate for losses sustained as a result of breach and induce trustee to comply with obligations by making them disgorge profit or imposing penalty. (Restatement of Trusts (Second) §205 (1959).) B. Court has flexibility to fix different measure of liability depending upon whether breach was in bad faith, excess of authority or merely negligent. (Probate Code § 16440; Estate of Talbot (1956) 141 Cal.App.2d 309, 322.) C. Proximate causation is an element of a claim for damages. (Vale v. Union Bank (1979) 88 Cal.App.3d 330, 338.) D. Breaching trustee is chargeable with loss or depreciation in value of trust estate as a result of breach plus interest. (Probate Code § 16440(a)(1).) Trustee chargeable with legal rate of interest or rate actually received, whichever is greater from the date of breach. (Probate Code § 16441.) E. Where trustee breaches duty of loyalty, beneficiary may recover loss of appreciation of trust property. Estate of Anderson (1983) 149 Cal.App. 3d 336, 354-355.) VII. Punitive Damages Are Also Recoverable for Breach of Trust. (Vale v. Union Bank ((1979) 88 Cal.App.3d 330, 339) A. Consider invoking Probate Code § 16249(b) against a trustee who has wrongfully taken trust property. Provides for double damages. VIII. Procedural Considerations A. File a verified petition for relief against the trustee under Probate Code § 17200. B. Rules of civil procedure including discovery rules apply to the proceeding. (Probate Code §1000) All the discovery weapons such as depositions, interrogatories, requests for admissions and requests for documents are available. No special discovery forms are necessary. C. No right to a jury in case involving breach of trustee duty. (Getty v. Getty (1986) 187 Cal.App.3d 1159, 1175-1177.) Theodore I. Wallace Jr. May, 1999 Mr. Wallace is a partner in the Trial Department, practicing business litigation with a special emphasis in probate and trust litigation, wills and trusts contests and fiduciary liability. Mr. Wallace may be contacted by telephone at (714) 641-3409 or by e-mail at email@example.com.