Michael E. Freedman

Michael E. Freedman

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Estate & Trust Litigation Attorney in San Francisco, CA

Freedman Law Firm
 | 580 California Street, Suite 1200
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: 415-777-1666
Fax: 415-777-1699
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2012 - 2019
Licensed Since: 1986
Practice Areas:
  • Estate & Trust Litigation (60%),
  • Estate Planning & Probate (20%),
  • Elder Law (20%)
Attorney Profile

For more than thirty-four years, Michael Freedman has provided effective, knowledgeable, and skilled litigation services to clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and California. Michael Freedman has been lead trial attorney in numerous jury and bench trials, served as general counsel for a major closely held corporation, and has been admitted pro hac vice in New York State and Colorado to represent his corporate client in major business litigation. Michael has focused his practice on trusts and estate litigation and has handled numerous complex and contested trust and estate matters throughout California.

Certificates and Credentials

California Board of Legal Specialization

About Michael Freedman

Admitted: 1986, California

Professional Webpage: http://www.freedmanlawfirm.com/Attorney-Profile/Michael-E-Fr...


  • Phi Betta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, 1979

Special Licenses/Certifications:

  • Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization, 2011

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • State Bar Trusts and Estates Section, Bar Association of San Francisco, BASF Probate Experience Panel, BASF Estate Planning Trust and Probate Section, 2005

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • State Bar of California, Educating Seniors Program, Michael Freedman has appeared on KALW 91.7 FM "Call a Lawyer Night" hosted by Chuck Finney. Michael Freedman is participant in the Law Academy Mentoring Program sponsored by the BASF. Michael has presented an innovative, one-hour course on U. S. Courts, the law, and reading a Supreme Court Case to students at San Francisco Public High Schools, Middle Schools, and Elementary Schools. Freedman Law firm offers pro bono and low fee estate planning and trusts and estates legal advice to qualifying employees of San Francisco businesses. Michael Freedman is a donor to the California AIDS ride, Environment California, The San Francisco Symphony., 2011

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

  • State Bar of California, Educating Seniors Program.  Presentation on Estate Planning, Financial Elder Abuse at the Bernal Heights Senior Center, May 2009, Speaker, Attorney, State Bar of California, Attorneys, Seniors And Consumers, 2009
  • Panel lecturer for 2-day probate seminar presented by the National Business Institute.  Presentation on probate litigation including ability of the estate to sue or be sued, lost and contested wills, fiduciary misconduct, liability, surcharge and removal., Attorney, Lecturer, NBI, Attorneys, CPAs, 2018
  • Panel lecturer for 2-day probate seminar presented by the National Business Institute.  Presentation on probate litigation including ability of the estate to sue or be sued, lost and contested wills, fiduciary misconduct, liability, surcharge and removal., Faculty, Attorney, NBI, Attorneys, CPAs, 2017


  • Sometime in the fall of 2002, our client's brother John C made an appointment to visit an estate planning attorney. Prior to the appointment , John C had handwritten certain amendments he wanted to make to his prior Trust and also drafted a handwritten holographic codicil to his will. In accordance with J C’s wishes, the attorney prepared the trust instruments, and forwarded these documents to John C by mail. John C received the letter and enclosed documents. However, John C did not sign the documents. Prior to his death, however, John C expressed his belief to his friend and physician and to relatives that he had made a change to his will and trust in which he named his brother, our client, Thomas C sole beneficiary and Trustee. We argued that the handwritten changes were a valid amendment to the prior trust.  Prior to trial, the case settled in our favor for a seven figure amount., 2007
  • Trial verdict, Sonoma County Superior Court, Dept. 18, Probate:  Sucessfully defended our client, trustee and surviving spouse in a petition brought by the children of the deceased spouse to interpret the trust and for reformation of the trust terms to create an irrevocable bypass trust.  Bench trial from 2/19/2016 to 2/26/2016., 2016
  • $280,000 verdict against professional trustee who mishandled family trust fund. Tehama County.Professional trustee used funds of clients for his own investment company., 2012

Representative Clients:

  • Freedman Law Firm wins appeal for his client in the California Court of Appeals 3rd Appellate District In an unpublished decision, the Freedman Law Firm won an appeal for his client the trustee in the matter Bergland v. Isch, C077965. In this trust matter, Freedman Law Firm represents the successor trustee, Harry Bergland, of a trust which distributed the trust assets in equal shares to three children of the settlors. One of the children, Rudolf V. Isch, was named the trustee but was removed due to self-dealing and failing to account. Rudolf V. Isch, the removed trustee ultimately settled the claims against him but failed to pay the full amount of the settlement. The settlement called for a stipulated judgment which was entered by the court, and our client Harry Bergland, the successor trustee commenced enforcement proceedings to collect the judgment. Isch brought a motion to set aside the judgment and to otherwise seek claims such as set-off against the judgment. Our client prevailed against Isch in the Sacramento Superior Court, but Isch filed an appeal. The 3rd District Court of Appeals affirmed the Sacramento County Superior Court decision., 2017

Other Outstanding Achievements:

  • AV by Martindale Hubble Peer Review Rating

Educational Background:

  • SUNY at Buffalo, B.A. and New York State Teacher Certification, 1979
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Office Location for Michael E. Freedman

580 California Street
Suite 1200
San Francisco, CA 94104

Michael E. Freedman:

Last Updated: 10/11/2019

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