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What is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law?

California has extremely strict rules about when an attorney may call himself a “specialist” in a particular area of law. Keep on reading to find out more about becoming a certified specialist in estate planning.

In order to become a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, an attorney must pass a state-administered exam.  The pass rate for the exam is generally around 60-70%.  (These are lawyers who have been working for years and who have studied for this tests a long time).

Furthermore, keep in mind that Passing the exam is only the beginning.  (This is all on top of graduating from three years of law school and passing the California Bar Exam.)

Certified Specialists in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law must complete 60 hours of classes and further education specific to the specialty.  They also have to demonstrate that they have completed a minimum of 120 cases for different clients demonstrating a high level of skill and knowledge in specific areas such as tax matters, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, conservatorships, and advance health care directives.

All of this practical case experience and educational training must be recent and current.

If this seems like a very high bar for lawyers to be able to call themselves “Certified Specialists,” it is.

Want proof?  California Bar stats show that in 2010 there were 153,000 attorneys actively practicing law in the state of California.  Of those, fewer than 1,000 total were certified.

Scott Grossman of The Grossman Law Firm is proud to call himself a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law.

Key Terms: 

Trust (noun):

An organization (ie:bank) or someone else can manage the money or property in a trust usually at a set period of time. They are managed by Trustees and are set up to help better serve the beneficiary’s interests. It is a legal document that tells the Trustee how to specifically handle the money and assets on behalf of the beneficiary according to the Trusts wishes.

Estate (noun):

An estate includes the things that a person owns. The things left by someone who has died can be distributed based on a Will, Trust, or Intestate laws. Estates have to be administered in the Probate Court if the estate meets certain criteria. See our Infographic on The Probate Process.

Scott Grossman

Scott Grossman


The Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307

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