Gifts to Caregivers: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished v. The Fox in the Hen House

Mark Lester speaks at Fiduciary Round TableSpeaker: Mark Lester, Attorney, Jones, Lester, Schuck, Becker & Dehesa, LLP

Attorney Mark A. Lester is an estate planning attorney with extensive experience in a succession planning, probate, trust administration, and trust and estate litigation. He also has substantial experience with business transactions, business litigation, taxation, and real property law. Mr. Lester has received an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell for maintaining the highest standards of professional and ethical excellence in the legal community.

In a career spanning over 40 years, Mr. Lester is widely recognized for his legal achievements. He has been certified as an estate planning, trust, and probate law specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. He is currently serving as one of 7 members of the Board of Trustees of the California Board of Legal Specialization after 5 years of service as one of the nine (9) appointed commissioners on the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization, Estate Planning Law Advisory Commission, which is responsible for writing, administering and grading the certification examination and approving the application for California attorneys seeking to become California Certified Specialists in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law. In 2015 through 2021, Mr. Lester has been recognized as a Southern California Super Lawyer™ in Estate & Trust Litigation, in 2015 and 2018 in Estate Planning & Probate, and in 2018 in Corporate and Business areas of the law.

Mr. Lester earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University in 1977. In 1980, he earned his Juris Doctor degree from Seattle University School of Law. While attending law school, he was Chairman of the Membership Committee of Phi Delta Phi and an Associate Editor for the Puget Sound Law Review, now known as the Seattle University Law Review. He also received the American Jurisprudence Award in Trusts and Estates. After graduating from law school, Mr. Lester went on to earn his Master of Laws, or LL.M., Taxation degree from Boston University School of Law in 1981.

Since completing his distinguished legal education, Mr. Lester has been admitted to practice by the State Bar of California, the U.S. District Courts for the Central, Northern, Southern, and Eastern Districts of California, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the U.S. Tax Court. Mr. Lester is an active member of the Ventura County Bar Association serving on the Executive Committee of the Estate Planning and Probate Section. Mr. Lester is also a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association volunteering for the Attorney-Client Dispute Resolution Services Panel and was a member of the California Young Lawyers Association, where he previously served as Director and Vice President 1984 to 1986.

On thirteen (13) separate occasions during the period 2003 to 2020, Mr. Lester has taught continuing legal educations courses for National Business Institute (“NBI”) and Pincus Professional Education in the areas of estate planning, will drafting, trusts and estates administration, and estate planning and recovery for elderly clients. From 2012 through January 2021, Mr. Lester has presented or co-presented programs entitled “No Certificate of Independent Review – Can the Gift to a Prohibited Transferee Otherwise be Salvaged”, “Trust Attorneys Fees and the Non-Participating Litigation Beneficiary,” “Do You Know Who Your Children Are? Determining Parentage in Probate and Trust Administration Cases,” “To Have and to Hold Out or Is DNA Enough to Claim Your Inheritance,” “Certificates of Independent Review & Gifts to Care Custodians,” “Effectively Using Petitions to Compel Accountings and to Appoint Neutral Trustees to Resolve Trust Disputes,” “Surcharges and Sanctions: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” and “Ethically Managing an Estate Planning Practice” to the Los Angeles County Bar Association, San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Ventura County Bar Association, North San Diego County Bar Association, Woodland Hills Tax & Estate Planning Council, and San Fernando Valley Estate Planning Council.

Mr. Lester has an established reputation in the legal community as a respected trial and appellate attorney. His reported cases include Breslin v. Breslin (2021) 62 Cal.App.5th 801; Barefoot v. Jennings (2020) 8 Cal.5th 822; Leiper v. Gallegos (2019) 42 Cal.App.5th 394; Christie v. Kimball (2012) 202 Cal.App.4th 1407, 136 Cal.Rptr.3d 516; Estate of Odian (2006) 145 Cal.App.4th 152, 51 Cal.Rptr. 3d 390; and Askari v. R&R Land Company (1986) 179 Cal.App.3d 1101, 225 Cal.Rptr. 285. Mr. Lester serves from time to time as Judge Pro Tem for the Probate Department of the Ventura County Superior Court and as a Voluntary Settlement Officer through the San Fernando Valley Bar Association for the Probate Department of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. He also previously served as a Judge Pro Tem for the Small Claims Department of the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Mr. Lester is a local community leader as well, volunteering for the Ventura County Wellness & Caregiver Resource Center and the golf committee for the Ventura County Council Boy Scouts of America, serving currently on the Board of Directors for Family Health Care Centers of Greater Los Angeles, Inc. and formerly on the Oxnard Police Foundation, and continuing as an Assistant Scoutmaster for Western Los Angeles County Council Boy Scout Troop 485, where three of his sons attained the rank of Eagle Scout. He is also an avid outdoorsman with a fondness for golfing, camping, hiking and RV-ing.

Click here for a copy of Mark Lester’s hand-out of this presentation.