Free Consultation: (877) 777-1666Tap to Call This Lawyer
Michael Ellis Freedman

Michael Ellis Freedman

Your trust and probate advocates
  • Estate Planning, Probate, Elder Law
  • California
Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&ASocial Media

Accomplished Trusts and Estates Attorney. Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization. Selected to Northern California SuperLawyers. For more than thirty-two years, Michael Freedman has been lead trial lawyer in more than thirty state and federal jury and bench trials involving trusts and estates law, business law, tort law, labor and employment law, professional malpractice, insurance bad faith, and environmental law. Michael Freedman has built a solid reputation as an experienced, skilled and dedicated practitioner. He has consistently upheld this high standard of service. Michael Freedman has also achieved an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell's Peer Review rating system, its highest rating.

Practice Areas
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate
  • Elder Law
  • Free Consultation
    One hour free consultation.
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Contingent Fees
    Contingency fees are available in some trust and probate litigated matters.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Placeholder image for jurisdictions.
  • English
  • Mandarin
Professional Experience
Senior Counsel
Freedman Law Firm
- Current
Freedman Law Firm specializes in trusts and probate litigation, administration, financial elder abuse law, and estate planning
General Counsel
U.S. Nursing Corporation
General counsel for national leading hospital and medical facility nurse placement corporation
Solo Attorney
Law Offices of Michael E. Freedman
The law offices of Michael E. Freedman practiced in the areas of consumer civil litigation with a focus on product liability, premises liability, employment law, and probate law.
Temple University Beasley School of Law
J.D. (1984) | Law
Honors: Articles Editor Environmental Law Journal
Activities: Trial advocacy and competition
Temple University Beasley School of Law Logo
State University of New York - Buffalo
B.A. (1979) | English and Education
Honors: Phi Beta Kappa Magna Cum Laude
Activities: New York Teacher's Certificate Program
State University of New York - Buffalo Logo
Super Lawyer
Super Lawyers
Professional Associations
California State Bar # 122446
- Current
Placeholder image for professional associations.
Bar Association of San Francisco # 117729
- Current
Activities: Member
Placeholder image for professional associations.
Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law
State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization
Websites & Blogs
Legal Answers
12 Questions Answered

Q. Im tired of trying to do this probate! I give up Can somebody help please Its out of LA Cali dept 11
A: Sorry about your frustration with the Probate process. Although it is somewhat easy to commence a probate by using the judicial counsel forms, the final steps to obtaining the court order for distribution is not done by form. You must file a petition and in many cases an account, provide a full report pursuant to the probate code and draft a final order with a proposed distribution. You should retain counsel. The attorney for the personal representative and the personal representative are entitled to the same statutory compensation. Feel free to contact me. michael@freedmanlawfirm.
Q. I can't get bonded to come Executor what are options?
A: I recommend that you retain a licensed professional fiduciary.
Q. Sell a deceased person's condo, with no will in California ($300,000). Brother and sister are only kin.
A: Before you can sell the real property, you must probate the estate. The deceased person died intestate, I assume, and so the court must appoint an administrator of the estate, and Letters of Administration will issue. The Letters will give the administrator the authority to list and sell the real property. The sale may be by notice of proposed action, or by court confirmation of sale. The probate administration must conclude before the distribution of the assets of the estate to the heirs at law.
Q. If I have a POA over all of my passing fathers assets including his house do I still need to petition for probate?
A: Yes. A POA is no longer valid on the death of the principal. If the estate is less than $150,000, however, you may use a summary probate procedure under Probate Code Section 13100. Essentially, this is a declaration. If the estate is larger, and the decedent died with probate assets greater than $150,000, you must petition for letters.
Q. If a house is in a trust, does it have to go thru probate?
A: Generally, no. If the property is properly funded to the trust, the trustee would eventually make the distribution of the property to the named beneficiaries. In some cases, there may be issues with the title to the property. The grant deed from the settlor must name the trustee of the trust. If the property is in the name of the decedent, you may either require a probate or you can file a Petition under Probate Code Section 850, (Heggstad) to obtain a court order funding the property to the trust.
Q. my mother died oct 30 ,2016, I do not speak to my brother who also was her conservator, I have no knowlege if there is
A: If your mother was not married, then your mother's children are her intestate heirs and you are entitled to proper notice, whether your mother had a will, a trust or died intestate. You are also entitled to the conservatorship pleadings filed. Although the conservatorship is now at an end, the conservator will be required to file a final accounting and you should file a request for special notice in the conservatorship and remind the attorney that you are entitled to receive a copy of the final accounting. You have a right to file objections in the conservatorship. If your mother had a trust, you are entitled to notice by the trustee of the trust. However, usually, if one had a conservatorship, it is unlikely they had a trust, or even a will. I would assume, because she had no estate plans, she died intestate. If that is case, any of her children have the same priority to petition for letters of administration. You could commence the petition for letters. Try a written letter to the attorney requesting a copy of the conservatorship pleadings, any will or trust, or court order for a substituted judgment, which would be a will or trust permitted by court order.
Q. Are there any specific types of property that automatically don't have to go through probate?
A: Yes, there are many non-probate assets. Multiparty accounts, in which either a joint account holder or named beneficiary will receive the account upon proof of death; Joint bank accounts, and joint real property will be transferred to the survivor; Retirement and IRAs in which a beneficiary is named; and, of course, assets that have been properly funded to a trust. Also, if an asset is a probate asset, a formal probate will not be required for an aggregate value of such assets below $150,000. Instead, the successor in interest may use a summary procedure under Probate Code Section 13100.
Q. My sister filed a probate case for our father wiout serving me. Can I file a request for dismissal?
A: Yes, you could have any order granting her petition to be appointed the administrator, if you were not served. The manner of doing so would require a petition to invalidate the court order based upon failure of notice. The entire process of petitioning for probate would probably need to commence a second time, requiring a hearing date, notice. Publication may be required if you or someone else is petitioning for appointment. But, there are some facts about this probate that you have not explained. Was there a will? When you state you have "bills," do you mean that your father had debts? Or, do you mean that you have a creditor's claim against the estate? Also, if the estate is really worth less than $100,000, you do not need a probate. Heirs or beneficiaries can use Probate Code Section 13100 for estates less than $150,000. Michael
Q. The personal representative who took over my father's estate is now refusing to distribute it.
A: Yes, as long as a family member has standing. The family member must be either a beneficiary of the will, or an intestate heir if your father died without a will. You can file a petition for instructions to compel the personal representative to act by filing the requisite inventory and appraisal, accounting and report, and petition for distribution. Or, if you suspect a breach of fiduciary duty, you can petition for suspension of powers and appointment of a successor personal representative. If you are unable to have the personal representative removed, in a petition for instructions, you may want to request that the court order a bond if it had been waived.
Click here to see all answers
Contact & Map
580 California Street
Suite 1200
San Francisco, CA 94104
Toll-Free: (877) 777-1666
Telephone: (415) 777-1666
Fax: (415) 777-1699