Skip to main content

Elizabeth A. Bawden

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Estate Planning & Probate Attorney in Los Angeles, CA

Withers Bergman LLP
10250 Constellation Blvd, Suite 1400
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Phone: 310-277-9901
Fax: 310-277-9935
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2022
Selected to Rising Stars: 2009 - 2013
Licensed in California Since: 2000
Practice Areas: Estate Planning & Probate, Nonprofit Organizations
Attorney Profile

I focus my practice on estate planning, planned giving and tax-exempt organizations. As part of the US Trust, Estate and Charitable Planning Group at Withers Bergman LLP, I represent clients in matters related to family wealth transfers, sophisticated estate and gift tax saving techniques, charitable planned giving, and complex probate and trust administrations. I also regularly represent tax-exempt organizations in formation, organizational and operational issues. I am certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization as a legal specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law and am a fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC). 

White Papers

  • Navigating the twists and turns of testamentary gift annuities (2019) - Most charitable gift annuities (CGAs) are funded with lifetime gifts made by loyal donors. The processes and procedures associated with these lifetime CGAs are fairly straightforward and familiar to many gift officers. However, there are many opportunities for CGAs to be created upon the passing of a donor. Known as testamentary CGAs, these gifts are made through wills, trusts or IRA beneficiary designations. Using case studies, this session will explore common reasons testamentary CGAs are created and the practical and procedural challenges that accompany them. Among them: what is the date of the CGA, when do payments begin and who signs the CGA agreement? Finally, this session will explore advance planning opportunities with donors to ensure that testamentary CGAs work well for donors, charities and annuitants alike.
  • Preparing for sunset: What lawyers need to know about the gift and estate tax (2019) - This article offers an easy to digest summary and thoughtful planning tips related to the temporary 40% gift tax exemption under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed at the end of 2017.

About Elizabeth A. Bawden

First Admitted: 2000, California

Professional Webpage: http://www.withersworldwide.com/people/elizabeth-a-bawden

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Adjunct Professor at the UCLA School of Law teaching estate and gift tax (including generation skipping transfer tax) and estate planning.
  • American Institute for Philanthropic Studies Certified Specialist in Planned Giving (CSPG) program faculty, teaching charitable gifting.
  • Planning Committee of the USC Trust and Estate Conference
  • Served as both consulting and testifying expert witness in matters of estate planning, trust andprobate law.
  • Chair of Los Angeles County Bar Association Exempt Organization Section, 2015
  • Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Professional Advisory Council, 2010
  • Co-Chair of Executive Committee of Trusts and Estates Section of Beverly Hills Bar Association., 2009
  • President of the Planned Giving Roundtable of Southern California, 2007
  • Chair of the Western Regional Planned Giving Conference, 2005
  • Beverly Hills Bar Association, Member of the Executive Committee of Trusts and Estates Section., 2005

Pro bono/Community Service

  • Board Member, Heifer International Foundation (http://www.heiferfoundation.org/), to support Heifer International's work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.
  • Advisor to UCLA School of Law Christian Law Students Association
  • Board Member, Give Her Life (http://www.giveherlife.org/), an organization seeking life and dignity for girls everywhere., 2018
  • Board Member, Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles (http://www.cla-la.org/), an organization pursuing justice for all in Los Angeles County., 2017

Special Licenses/Certifications

  • Admitted to practice law in the State of California., 2000
  • Admitted to practice law in the State of Arkansas., 2017
  • Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC)
  • Certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization as a legal specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law.
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating for high ethical standing and highest level of professional excellence

Representative Clients

  • Representation of The Henry E. Huntinton Library in connection with a gift of a 320-Year old Magistrate House to be moved from Japan. https://www.huntington.org/news/yokoi-house-marugame-japanese-garden, 2018

Honors/Awards

  • Elizabeth Bawden was honored with the 2019 Distinguished Service Award at the Western Regional Planned Giving Conference (WRPGC). Elizabeth is part of the private client and tax team at Withers and focuses her practice on estate planning, planned giving and tax exempt organizations. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Council of Charitable Gift Planners (LACGP) for 15 years and has served in a number of roles at the organization over those years, most notably as president, conference chair and frequent speaker. The award was presented at lunch during the conference by LACGP president, Allyson Simpson. “In every way, Elizabeth Bawden is a leader and an exemplary representative of the gift planning community,” Allyson said in her remarks. Allyson also shared comments from clients about Elizabeth’s work. “She is fiercely intelligent, thoughtful, principled, and has a remarkable ability to solve problems and offer effective and elegant solutions,” one client said about Elizabeth according to Allyson, who emphasized the word elegant and how that stood out to her. Other comments by Elizabeth’s clients that the conference president shared in her presentation of the award highlighted Elizabeth’s “tenacious and skillful” problem solving, her “strong personal and professional integrity,” her ability to “anticipate and mitigate issues before they arise,” and her excellent communication skills, in that “she explains complex legal, tax and charitable giving situations in a way that even non-lawyers can comprehend.” Elizabeth attended the Western Regional Planned Giving Conference with partner Steven Chidester from Wither’s Rancho Santa Fe office. At the conference, she presented at two sessions on the final day, including, “Navigating the Twists and Turns of Testamentary Gift Annuities” and the closing keynote titled, “Lessons Learned from a Collective Century of Planned Giving Experience.” A premier planned giving conference in the US, the WRPGC is attended by financial planners, accountants, gift planning and major gift officers, and vice presidents and directors of development. Elizabeth comments: “Giving back is an important personal value for me. I am greatly appreciative of this honor.”, Distinguished Service Award, Los Angeles Council of Charitable Gift Planners // Western Regional Planned Giving Conference, 2019
  • Elizabeth Bawden received the 2011 CARROT Award from the Climate Action Reserve for for extraordinary work in climate action through pro bono legal services to the Climate Action Reserve, a non-profit organization., CARROT Award , Climate Action Reserve, 2011

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • This session prepares advisors to know and understand what a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) is and how it works, compare and contrast rules applicable to DAFs and private foundations, and understand various creative ways DAFs are used to accomplish client’s philanthropic goals. , Presenter, Creative Ways to Help Clients with Donor Advised Funds, Inland Empire Community Foundation Professional Advisors Council, 2021
  • As part of a four speaker session on "Achieving Impact in 2021 and Beyond," Elizabeth will identify practical tools for structuring philanthropy to achieve maximum social impact. , Presenter, Structuring Gifts to Achieve and Maximize Social Impact, Western Regional Planned Giving Conference, 2021
  • This year-end wrap up focused on developments in 2020 federal and California law affecting estate planning and a forward looking discussion of planning issues in 2021., Co-Presenter, Year End Wrap: Looking Back and Planning Ahead , Jewish Community Foundation Professional Advisor Speaker Series, 2020
  • Estate planners who focus primarily on domestic planning often eschew international planning strategies and issues, but in a global society, it is of growing importance to be able to issue spot potential cross-border hazards.  Foreign trusts issues, in particular, are complex and require specialized attention, and foreign trust status (and the associated reporting requirements) can easily be triggered inadvertently.  Using examples arising in a domestic estate planner's routine practice, this session will cover the basics of foreign trust classification, taxation and reporting, and offer tips on how to avoid hidden traps for the unwary., Presenter, Foreign Trusts: What You Don’t know Can Hurt You, Montana Tax Institute, 2020
  • As we look beyond the immediate emergency of the Coronavirus pandemic and adapt to new circumstances, we encourage you to “look ahead” and plan for the future with resilience. In the fourth installment in our Looking Ahead webinar series, Elizabeth Bawden and James Brockway present a deeper drive into Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs) and how they can be used immediately and for future planning during these uncertain times. , Co-Presenter, Looking Ahead: Key Benefits of Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts, Withers Bergman LLP, 2020
  • In late 2019, the SECURE Act passed with the aim of improving retirement security for Americans but left many feeling insecure. The Coronavirus then took the world by storm and is changing the way we live, work and interact. The CARES Act was signed in March to provide relief and expand charitable incentives during this time of turmoil, but our clients are struggling to understand where to go from here. This session will briefly review key provisions of the SECURE Act and CARES Act, and then highlight ways that charitable gift annuities – which are often not well known to professional advisors – offer stable solutions in our current times., Presenter, Are you feeling inSECURE? How to show you CARE in the age of COVID-19, San Gabriel Valley Bar Association, 2020
  • Many factors impact the relationship dynamics between a trustee and beneficiary. The uncertainty and volatility we are experiencing this year have heighted a number of those, exposing both challenges and opportunities. The panelists in this session will focus on some of the common points of tension in trustee and beneficiary relationships with a focus on practical tools and opportunities to achieve harmony in the time of COVID-19. , Co-Presenter, Love in the Time of COVID-19: Trustee and Beneficiary Harmony in Years Like 2020, USC Gould School of Law 46th Annual Trust and Estate Conference, 2020
  • This session presented charitable strategies for IRAs post-SECURE Act, focusing on the use of charitable remainder trusts and charitable gift annuities to achieve stretch-out of distributions. , Co-Presenter, Are your donors feeling inSECURE? How the SECURE Act presents charitable strategies for IRAs, Western Regional Planned Giving Conference, 2020
  • Professional advisors can help their clients accomplish philanthropic goals by under-standing the various tools available to accomplish them. Many philanthropic tools, or their uses, are not within the general knowledge of an advisor, particularly if legal, tax or investment advice aren’t required or required to use them. This session introduced advisors to exciting ways that charitable gift annuities and donor advised funds are used in philanthropy, using real client case studies as examples., Co-Presenter, Facilitating Philanthropy Using Charitable Gift Annuities and Donor Advised Funds, Motion Picture Television Fund Professional Advisor Network, 2019
  • This closing keynote session shared valuable insights in the donor, the team and the mission to planned giving professionals looking to develop and enhance their skill., Co-Presenter, Lessons Learned from a Collective Century of Planned Giving Experience, Western Regional Conference on Planned Giving, 2019
  • Most charitable gift annuities (CGAs) are funded with lifetime gifts made by loyal donors. The processes and procedures associated with these lifetime CGAs are fairly straightforward and familiar to many gift officers. However, there are many opportunities for CGAs to be created upon the passing of a donor. Known as testamentary CGAs, these gifts are made through wills, trusts or IRA beneficiary designations. This article explores common reasons testamentary CGAs are created and the practical and procedural challenges that accompany them. Among them: what is the date of the CGA, when do payments begin and who signs the CGA agreement? Finally, this article explores advance planning opportunities with donors to ensure that testamentary CGAs work well for donors, charities and annuitants alike., Author, Navigating the Twists and Turns of Testamentary Gift Annuities, Planned Giving Today, Planned Giving, Nonprofit, 2019
  • This presentation covered aspects of California Probate practice, including how to inventory, locate, secure, value and manage assets and top problems in probate., Co-Presenter, Probate: Everything You Need to Know, National Business Institute, Probate, 2018
  • Estate planners who focus primarily on domestic planning often eschew international planning strategies and issues, but in a global society, it is of growing importance to be able to issue spot potential cross-border hazards.  Foreign trusts issues, in particular, are complex and require specialized attention, and foreign trust status (and the associated reporting requirements) can easily be triggered inadvertently.  Using case studies from actual practice, this panel (comprised of a domestic estate planner and an international estate planner) covers the basics of foreign trust classification, taxation and reporting, and offer tips on how to avoid hidden traps for the unwary., Co-Presenter, Foreign Trusts: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You, ABA Section of Taxation 2018 Midyear Meeting, Tax Law, 2018
  • This presentation focuses on achieving flexibility through trustee selection, beneficiary definition, distribution provisions and modification, both before trusts are created as well as many years later when a family is administering them., Presenter, Flexible Trust Structuring Across Generations, AICPA Family Office Group, Family Office, Private Wealth, 2018
  • A presentation designed to equip development professionals who don't focus in planned giving to understand and address planned giving opportunities when they arise.  , Co-Presenter, Planned Giving when you’re not a Planned Giving Officer, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Los Angeles Regional Philanthropy Conference, Nonprofit, 2018
  • This client alert covers the impact of tax reform on tax-exempt organizations paying compensation in excess of US $1 million, which may affect more organizations than anticipated., Co-Author, Impact of tax reform on tax-exempt organizations paying compensation in excess of US $1 million, Withers Bergman LLP, Nonprofit, Tax-Exempt, 2017
  • This session provided a technical and practical review of California taxation oftrust income, including the accumulations tax; contingent vs. non-contingentinterests; residency; and identifying fiduciaries. Also covered was the viability of ING trusts to avoid California taxation of trust income., Co-Presenter, California: A Taxing Place for Trusts, USC Tax Institute, 2016
  • Co-Author, How Wealthy Individuals Can Strategically Gift Education, Family Wealth Report, 2015
  • Best Practices for Structuring Trusts and Estates provides an authoritative, insider's perspective on creating estate plans that incorporate recent legislative changes and client needs. Experienced partners from law firms across the nation outline the nature of various trusts used by individuals and families and guide the reader through common considerations in applicable tax matters., Author, legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/c/Best-Practices-for-Structuring-Trusts-and-Estates-2015-ed-Leading-Lawyers-on-Drafting-a-Flexible-Plan-Protecting-the-Clients-Assets-and-Leveraging-Tax-Strategies-Inside-the-Minds/p/100505414, Aspatore Books, part of Thomson Reuters, 2015
  • From GRATs to DGTs, grantor trusts provide a host of gift and estate planning opportunities. Elizabeth Bawden reviews the pros and cons of powers that make a trust a grantor trust and focuses on strategies and contemporary issues in grantor trust planning, including toggling of grantor trust status, identifying the grantor in situations where more than one person fits the bill, transactions between a grantor and grantor trust and the tax consequences of a grantor’s death., Speaker, Strategies and Contemporary Issues in Planning with Grantor Trusts, 2015
  • Bawden, Elizabeth A. (2012). . ., Author, Planning for Non-Traditional Families In Mittra, Sid, Sahu, Anandi,and Starn, Jr., Harry (Eds.), Practicing Financial Planning for Professionals (11th ed.), American Academic Publishing, 2012
  • Part I of this Article examines the first question, what does it mean for evidence to have "apparent exculpatory value?" Part II of this Article answers the second question, when does Youngblood's bad faith requirement apply in failure to preserve evidence cases? Part III then seeks to determine the substance of Youngblood's bad faith requirement and identify the best approach to defining it. Ultimately, this Article argues that there are three common mistakes that courts make when applying Trombetta and Youngblood., Author, Here Today, Gone Tomorrow - Three Common Mistakes Courts Make When Police Lose or Destroy Evidence with Apparent Exculpatory Value, 48 Clev. St. L. Rev. 335, 2000
Show More
Office Location for Elizabeth A. Bawden

10250 Constellation Blvd
Suite 1400
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Last Updated: 5/15/2022

Page Generated: 0.7108519077301 sec