Shawn S. Kerendian

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Estate & Trust Litigation Attorney in Los Angeles, CA

Keystone Law Group, P.C.
 | 11300 W. Olympic Blvd, Suite 910
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Phone: 310-444-9060
Fax: 310-444-9092
Selected to Rising Stars: 2016 - 2019
Licensed Since: 2007
Practice Areas:
  • Estate & Trust Litigation (80%),
  • Estate Planning & Probate (20%)
Attorney Profile

Shawn S. Kerendian focuses his practice exclusively in probate, trust and estate litigation and administration matters in the Southern California area. Shawn is the founder and principal of Keystone Law Group, P.C., a 10-attorney team of probate litigators that represent clients in estate, trust, conservatorship and guardianship matters valued from a few hundred thousand dollars to tens of millions of dollars. Shawn has litigated hundreds of probate/estate disputes, including heirship claims, community/separate property issues, 850 petitions, financial elder abuse claims, will contests, trust contests, Marvin actions, creditor’s claims, equitable adoption claims, etc. Whether he is litigating on behalf of beneficiaries, trustees, creditors, heirs, or other interested persons, Shawn provides one-on-one attention and comprehensive representation to every client. Shawn oversees cases all across California with offices in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.

For his accomplishments, Shawn has earned the highest rating possible of AV Preeminent* from Martindale-Hubbell, he holds an Avvo "Superb" 10.0 rating, was selected Super Lawyer Rising Star for 2016-2018, and was recognized as one of the top 40 Lawyers in California under 40 by the Daily Journal. He was only 1 of 2 attorneys selected in the field of probate, trusts and estates. Shawn has also been certified as a Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate law by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization.

Shawn has currently been selected by the Los Angeles Super Court as a Probate Volunteer Panel (PVP) attorney and a Volunteer Proate Mediator attorney.

Shawn enjoys sharing his legal knowledge with other lawyers and other professionals by teaching trust and probate related classes for the National Business Institute. He is also a member of The State Bar of California's Trust & Estates Section, the Los Angeles County Bar Association's Trusts and Estates Section, the Santa Monica Bar Association and the Beverly Hills Bar Association. Shawn has also been selected as a member of the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Probate Volunteer Panel where experienced probate attorneys are appointed to represent the interests of minors, conservatees, and others who are unable to obtain representation for themselves.  

Shawn graduated cum laude with an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He received his law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, in 2007.

*AV®, BV®, AV Preeminent® and BV Distinguished® are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer-review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings fall into two categories – legal ability and general practice standards.

 
Practice Areas
Lawyer Practice Area Pie Chart

Estate & Trust Litigation (80%): Will Contests

Estate Planning & Probate (20%): Guardianships & Conservatorships, Probate & Estate Administration, Trusts, Wills

Focus Areas

Will Contests, Guardianships & Conservatorships, Probate & Estate Administration, Trusts, Wills

Selections

top-imageSelected to Rising Stars for 4 years

Rising Stars: 2016 - 2019

Certificates and Credentials

California Board of Legal Specialization

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To: Shawn S. Kerendian
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White Papers

  • When Executors and Trustees Go Wrong (2018) - Beneficiaries who are harmed by the wrongdoing of executors or trustees must decide how to respond. The fact that these fiduciaries are frequently family members can make this very difficult. To shed light on these often-murky situations, we published a white paper called “When Executors and Trustees Go Wrong.” In the paper, we discuss important questions that include: What types of conduct constitute a breach of fiduciary duty? What legal remedies are available to hold trustees and executors accountable for wrongdoing? Why do dysfunctional family dynamics so often contribute to causing these situations? Our paper is a resource intended to help you understand the legal framework in which trustees and executors operate. Reviewing it should be useful in identifying your next steps in responding to wrongful conduct by these fiduciaries. To find out more, give our law firm a call to discuss your specific situation.

  • About Shawn Kerendian

    Admitted: 2007, California

    Professional Webpage: http://www.keystone-law.com/our-team/shawn-s-kerendian/

    Honors/Awards:

    • Shawn is AV Rated by his peers on Martindale-Hubbell for exhibiting the highest level of professional excellence., AV Rated, Martindale Hubbell, 2018
    • Shawn is AV Rated by his peers on Martindale-Hubbell for exhibiting the highest level of professional excellence., AV Rated, Martindale Hubbell, 2019
    • Shawn is AV Rated by his peers on Martindale-Hubbell for exhibiting the highest level of professional excellence., AV Rated, Martindale Hubbell, 2015
    • Shawn is AV Rated by his peers on Martindale-Hubbell for exhibiting the highest level of professional excellence., AV Rated, Martindale Hubbell, 2017
    • Shawn is AV Rated by his peers on Martindale-Hubbell for exhibiting the highest level of professional excellence., AV Rated, Martindale Hubbell, 2016
    • Shawn has been Lead Counsel Rated every year since 2015. https://www.leadcounsel.org/attorney/keystonelawgroup, Lead Counsel Rated, Lead Counsel, 2019
    • Shawn has been rated as a 10 out of 10 based on his accomplishments, and both client and peer reviews since 2015., AVVO Rating, AVVO, 2019
    • Shawn was selected by The Daily Journal (California's largest legal newspaper) as a Top 40 Lawyer Under 40 in California for 2017. This is a great honor as only 20 attorneys are selected from Southern California and 20 from Northern California. He will be published in a special edition in April 2017. https://www.keystone-law.com/articles/Daily-Journal-40-under-40-Shawn-Final-(ID-400092).pdf, Daily Journal, Top 40 Under 40, 2017

    Special Licenses/Certifications:

    • Shawn is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law certified by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization since September 2014. He is one of the youngest attorneys who is a Certified Specialist in this field., 2019

    Bar/Professional Activity:

    • Beverly Hills Bar Association, Member, 2019
    • Trusts & Estates and Litigation sections of the State Bar of California, Member, 2019
    • Trusts & Estates and Litigation sections of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Member, 2019
    • Member of the Los Angeles Superior Court's Probate Mediator Panel, 2018
    • Member of the Los Angeles Superior Court's Probate Volunteer Panel where experienced probate attorneys are appointed to represent the interests of minors, conservatees, and others who are unable to obtain representation for themselves, 2017

    Pro bono/Community Service:

    • Shawn has also been selected to act as a settlement officer in the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Pro Bono Probate Settlement Program. This Program is intended to provide parties with probate, trust, estate, guardianship, and conservatorship litigation matters which are pending before the Central District of the Los Angeles Superior Court an opportunity to resolve their cases by an experienced attorney in the field. Shawn has been successful settling probate litigation cases as a settlement officer., 2019
    • Shawn has been appointed by the Probate Department of the Los Angeles Superior Court as a member of its Probate Appointed Counsel Panel. This designation will allow Shawn to be appointed by the court as counsel to represent persons in special proceedings, such as a proposed conservatee – i.e., a person who is currently the subject of a judicial proceeding to determine whether a conservatorship is appropriate (typically an older adult with symptoms of dementia). These attorneys may also be appointed as guardian ad litem, referees, special masters, court experts or fiduciaries., 2019
    • Shawn has also been selected to act as a settlement officer in the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Pro Bono Probate Settlement Program. This Program is intended to provide parties with probate, trust, estate, guardianship, and conservatorship litigation matters which are pending before the Central District of the Los Angeles Superior Court an opportunity to resolve their cases by an experienced attorney in the field. Shawn has been successful settling probate litigation cases as a settlement officer., 2018
    • Shawn has been appointed by the Probate Department of the Los Angeles Superior Court as a member of its Probate Appointed Counsel Panel. This designation will allow Shawn to be appointed by the court as counsel to represent persons in special proceedings, such as a proposed conservatee – i.e., a person who is currently the subject of a judicial proceeding to determine whether a conservatorship is appropriate (typically an older adult with symptoms of dementia). These attorneys may also be appointed as guardian ad litem, referees, special masters, court experts or fiduciaries., 2018

    Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

    • Shawn was a guest speaker in Professor Barcal's class and discussed wealth preservation, Guest Speaker, Guest Speaker to Professor Jack Barcal's course on "Family Wealth Preservation", USC Leventhal School of Accounting, 2019
    • Shawn presented to CNB's Wealth Advisers, Client Managers, Private Bankers and Wealth Analysts, Topics: “Trust Litigation” and “Limitations of the Trustee’s Attorney-Client Privilege,” , Presenter, Presentation on "Trust Litigation" and "Limitations of the Trustee's Attorney Client Privilege", City National Bank, 2018
    • Shawn presented on the topics of “Probate Litigation” and “Closing the Estate", Presenter, Probate Bootcamp, National Business Institute, 2017
    • Shawn presented on the topics of “Tax Reporting and Post-Mortem Tax Problems” and “Probate Disputes and Litigation”, Presenter, The Probate Process from Start to Finish, National Business Institute, 2017

    Verdicts/Settlements:

    • Keystone substituted into a protracted, ongoing action on behalf of the sole trust beneficiary involving a hostile trustee, the beneficiary’s mother, who not only refused to distribute any of the beneficiary’s share (despite unambiguous trust language requiring this distribution to be made immediately and free of trust), but who also claimed that the beneficiary should be entitled to nothing due to distributions the trustee allegedly made during the beneficiary’s childhood. Shortly thereafter, by demonstrating that the trustee was no longer acting neutrally or in the best interests of the beneficiary, Keystone was able to get this trustee suspended, which created considerable leverage and ultimately allowed this case to settle for a greater settlement sum to this beneficiary than had ever previously been offered., 2018
    • For a period of two years after the decedent’s death, the trustee-beneficiary failed to notify the other beneficiaries of their interest in the Trust and proceeded to transfer trust assets to herself. Upon learning of these breaches, Keystone represented two beneficiaries and brought an action against the trustee to recover the properties and to surcharge the trustee for substantial losses (e.g., the trustee residing in trust property rent-free and expending liquid trust assets for her own personal benefit). Keystone negotiated a settlement bringing these converted assets back into the trust and distributing a majority of them to the beneficiaries other than the trustee. Keystone was also able to negotiate payment of its attorneys’ fees and costs from the trust on the basis that its services benefited all beneficiaries., 2017
    • Decedents, husband and wife, executed a trust naming various individuals as beneficiaries. During their joint lives, one spouse attempted to amend their joint trust by crossing out the names of some individuals directly on the trust instrument and adding the names of others. Following the death of both spouses, the trustees, who stood to benefit from the attempted amendment, took the position that these interlineations were valid. Keystone represented two beneficiaries who had been named in the trust, however, one client’s name had been stricken by the interlineations. Keystone argued that the interlineations were an invalid attempt to amend the trust and also brought claims against the trustees for breach. Ultimately, Keystone negotiated a favorable settlement under which both clients received an inheritance and the trustee was surcharged. Keystone also successfully overcame one trustee’s later attempt to set aside the settlement., 2017
    • Keystone represented decedent’s son who was involved in a dispute with the decedent’s spouse over whether the decedent had created a valid trust leaving multiple parcels of real property to his son. Keystone represented the son and argued that a trust existed notwithstanding the fact that no one (including the son) had a copy of it, and the spouse expressly denied that such a trust ever existed. Keystone put forth evidence that the decedent and spouse had executed Quitclaim Deeds transferring real property into the trust, and testimony from decedent’s CPA regarding the terms of the trust, and maintained that evidence was sufficient to show that the decedent had in fact intended to create a trust. Subsequent to the CPA’s deposition, the spouse produced unsigned copies of the trust. As a result, Keystone negotiated a settlement on terms similar to what the son would have obtained if he had successfully litigated this case through to judgment., 2017
    • Keystone successfully settled a case on behalf of the brother beneficiary, who along with his sister were the two trust beneficiaries, against an action brought by his sister contesting the decedent’s will, reforming a trust provision, and holding her brother liable for financial elder abuse, all of which, the sister argued, should have the effect of entirely disinheriting her brother. But through Keystone’s representation, and even though the contested trust instrument was drafted by a paralegal and not a licensed attorney, Keystone was able to obtain a favorable resolution at mediation, which resulted in the brother beneficiary receiving most of what he would have received under the terms of contested instruments., 2018
    • Keystone represented beneficiaries of decedent’s prior estate plan in an action to invalidate decedent’s new trust, which disinherited Keystone’s clients on the primary basis that Keystone’s clients, who lived with the decedent, were allegedly responsible for her deteriorating physical condition. However, by procuring evidence demonstrating that the new trust was executed by the decedent during a time that the decedent was under a temporary conservatorship and hospitalized, was signed only three days before decedent’s death and was prepared by the attorney who represented the new trust’s beneficiary rather than the decedent, Keystone obtained a settlement for clients which represented the majority of the decedent’s multi-million-dollar estate., 2018
    • In a combined conservatorship and trust action involving the Petitioner’s request to remove Keystone’s client as successor trustee of his mother’s trust, which the mother endorsed, Keystone achieved settlement with the Petitioner after just one day of trial, which fully vindicated client’s position and allowed him to remain acting as trustee. The testimony of Petitioner’s own expert raised doubt about the mother’s ability to grasp the financial ramifications of removing her son, who was working as trustee without compensation, and replacing him with a paid private professional fiduciary., 2018
    • Through creative arguments and vigorous litigation, Keystone obtained a settlement on behalf of non-relative, contingent trust beneficiaries of the vast majority of decedent’s multi-million-dollar trust estate, despite the fact that decedent’s new trust was prepared by a premier estate planning firm, it named a third-party as sole beneficiary and Keystone’s clients’ connection to the decedent were as relatives of decedent’s divorced spouse., 2018

    Educational Background:

    • Loyola Law School (JD), 2007
    • University of California, Los Angeles (Bachelor of Arts), 2004
    Office Location for Shawn S. Kerendian

    11300 W. Olympic Blvd
    Suite 910
    Los Angeles, CA 90064

    Phone: 310-444-9060

    Fax: 310-444-9092

    Shawn S. Kerendian:

    Last Updated: 3/1/2019

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