Hess-Verdon & Associates

Orange County Trust Litigation & Probate Attorney

and throughout the State of California.

Hess-Verdon Probate Overview

Probate and Trust Litigation Attorney Orange County – Hess-Verdon

When you are looking for an Orange County Probate Attorney and/or Trust Litigator, Hess-Verdon & Associates is one of the strongest and most sophisticated trust and estate law firm in the state of California at both the trial and appellate levels. Our probate litigation team has spent years acquiring extensive experience in trial preparation, strategy and trial presentation to help you on your specific case. 

We welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs, our qualifications, staffing approaches and rate structures with a view toward the successful resolution of Estate, Trust and Probate-related problems.

Probate Overview FY 2019


We understand the probate legal and administrative headaches you might face during such a difficult time.  We also know it’s often difficult to find attorneys experienced in trust and estates with proven litigation skills. So let’s go over a few very important facts and best practices to ensure you get experienced legal counsel and avoid legal complications.

First of all, Probate is a court supervised procedure that can take several months to several years depending on multiple complex factors. For an uncontested probate proceeding, it can be between 10 months to 18 months. For contested, it can take years.

Now, a Probate attorney can guide you through the judicial process by which the decedent’s estate is valued, beneficiaries are determined, and executor in charge of the estate is declared.

See our new article on: How to Avoid Trust Disputes.

Our probate litigation attorneys are well versed to help mitigate loss, ensuring a cost effective and smooth process. Need immediate assistance, feel free to call us now at 949-706-7300.

In California, below are the top 4 reasons the court will oversee estate cases:

  1. A Valid Will: The decedent’s Will that is valid must be overseen by the probate judge and the court of decedent’s jurisdiction.
  2. The dependent passed intestate (without a Will)
  3. Trust is being challenged: The trust is being challenged as to validity, capacity, fraud, or undue influence.
  4. A Trust is unfunded and property remains outside of the Trust’s intended protection from the probate process.

Moreover, the probate court will look to certify the executor designated in the decedent’s estate plan, or may appoint another 3rd party administrator under certain circumstances.

Need a Second Opinion?

There are times when you really need a second opinion from another attorney. We can confidentially evaluate what the problems and solutions are for your case and tell you the truth about what the source is of your delays, problems or increased expense if you are currently in litigation.

  • Why is this taking so long?
  • Is it your lawyer?
  • Do you wish your attorney was more like your opposing counsel?
  • Why is this costing so much?
  • When will this be over?
  • When should you settle and for how much?

If you have questions that your attorney is not answering, or the litigation has taken unexpected twists and turns, you should seek a second opinion. Please fill any form on the site.  We will receive it the same day or after 5:00pm the following morning. Call: 949-706-7300.

What is the cost of a second opinion?

Second opinions on how your case is being handled can be rendered on favorable terms, in some cases at no charge.

To discuss your situation, to meet with us or to get your questions answered, please call our office to schedule an appointment: 949-706-7300.

A California Trust Litigation Attorney firm

Want to know more about Hess-Verdon? Below are just some examples we are well versed in.



Will Contest

Is a formal objection raised against the validity of a will.  Reasons for contesting a will could be the following:

  • Was a fraudulent will and / or forged.
  • Rectification and construction claims
  • Undue Influence
  • Lack of Knowledge and approval
  • Lack of Valid Execution
  • Testamentary capacity

Feel free to call us today at 949-706-7300 for a free consultation.

Defending Trustees

If you are a Trustee, learn more about your fiduciary duty, lawsuits, liablity, legal responsiblities and more. 

Actions to remove trustees who fail to fulfill their obligations or breach their fiduciary duties to the beneficiaries
Disputes over distribution of Inheritance
Spousal property characterization proceedings
Proceedings to interpret ambiguous provisions
Business Torts
Complex Commercial Litigation
Contract Disputes and Breach of Contract
Directors’ and Officers’ Liability
Shareholder Litigation
Partnership Disputes
Fraud and Misrepresentation
Fiduciary Fraud and others
Unfair Competition and Unfair Business Practices
Elder financial abuse claims
Appeals and Appellate Litigation
Business Litigation

Serving State: California, Southern California

Serving Counties: Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside & San Bernardino County, San Diego County

Serving cities: Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, Newport Coast, Corona Del Mar, Santa Ana, Anaheim, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Buena Park, Fullerton, Orange, Lake Forest, Laguna Hills, Garden Grove, Tustin, Yorba Linda, Fountain Valley, Westminster, Dana Point, Rancho Santa Margarita, North Tustin, Seal Beach, Los Alamitos, Villa Park, Ladera Ranch, Placentia, Laguna Woods, Aliso Viejo, Coto De Caza, State of California

What Assets are Not Part of Probate?

Now the good news is that not all the assets that are left behind need to go through probate and in those cases, the property assets can be transferred to the heirs. 

So what assets are subject to probate?

Assets owned solely in the name of the deceased person are subject to probate.  The courts will review that the Will is valid and will administer the estate in the wishes of the passed loved one. 

Which assets typically don’t have to go through probate?

We created below some examples of items that don’t have to go through probate, however, depending on your situation, and the tax laws that might affect your estate, we would advise you to speak with a local litigation attorney that is an expert in the area of trust & estates.  (Hess-Verdon).  Now, not all Orange County probate attorneys are equal, as you most likely know. So do your due diligence and ask the right questions regarding the probate attorney’s expertise. (Meet the Hess-Verdon team here).

So what assets typically don’t have to go through probate?

Here is a short list:

  • Retirement accounts – IRA’s or 401K’s for example for which a beneficiary is named.
  • Life Insurance proceeds.
  • When property is held in a living trust.
  • POD: in a bank account that fund in Payable-on-death.
  • Property held in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship
  • Household goods, etc..

With that said, there are more, but it’s best to speak to an Orange County probate attorney which can guide you through this complex trust litigation process.  

Probate Lawyer – Orange County – Hess Verdon

As a probate litigation attorney law firm, Hess-Verdon & Associates has helped thousands throughout California through the probate process.

Now, every estate and Will are different. What varies is the instructions left in the Will and the creditors, assets and beneficiaries the estate has.  We recommend setting up a meeting with one of our probate lawyers for a consultation.

What happens if there is no Will? 

Well, you can’t grant a probate if there is no Will, but you can still administer the estate and distribute the inheritance through a slightly different process. The process is called rules of intestacy succession.  Our special probate lawyer litigators are well versed and can sometimes work in contingency depending on the circumstance.

Years Litigating Trust and Estate Cases Statewide

confident and appreciative clients

Years of Advanced Estate Planning Experience

Probate Attorney Near Me

Many people believe to simply select an attorney “near me” but that may be a downfall. You see, there are dozens of estate planning attorneys in Orange County, and they do quite well in their endeavors, but probate litigation is an entirely different situation especially if the estate is challenged.

Orange County Probate Court and Surrounding Counties

We have made is simple for you to maintain some important links and numbers for future reference.  Feel free to bookmark this page as we continually keep it up-to-date on the latest tax laws pertaining to estate plans. Below are some helpful links to the Probate Courts

Best Orange County Probate & Trust Litigation Attorney 1

Our Guarantee

This is our firms guarantee of Client satisfaction with our legal services. We make every effort to take care of our clients concerns better than anyone in our industry. You will always be treated courteously, professionally and promptly. If you’ve hired lawyers in the past, you will see and feel the difference immediately.

We make this promise because of our confidence in our lawyers skills, experience, judgment and their commitment to delivering high quality, client focused service. (our guarantee)

Jillyn Hess-Verdon

Managing Partner

Keith Van Dyke

Partner – Attorney

James Cunningham

Senior Associate – Attorney

R. Kurt Ketchum


See Hess-Verdon in the News!

Brice K. Nakamura


Hess-Verdon is your team for Probate and Trust Litigation needs!

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I have been working with this firm since 1994: you can’t beat a firm like this, that is so ethical and competent.

—Dixie Fisher – Client since 1994