Dr. Kent L. Kristof

Top rated Estate & Trust Litigation attorney in Pasadena, California

Kristof & Kristof, Attorneys at Law
Dr. Kent L. Kristof
Kristof & Kristof, Attorneys at Law

Practice Areas: Estate & Trust Litigation, Elder Law, Estate Planning & Probate; view more

Licensed in California since: 2005

Education: University of San Diego School of Law

Languages Spoken: English, Spanish

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2023 - 2024 Selected to Rising Stars: 2014 - 2020
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Kristof & Kristof, Attorneys at Law

1122 E Green St
Pasadena, CA 91106 Visit website


Kent L. Kristof is a partner at Kristof & Kristof, Attorneys at Law, and an experienced attorney in trust, estate and conservatorship law. He is committed to defending the financial interests of his clients and fighting for the rights of victims of elder abuse in court. Although well-versed in mediation, he will not hesitate to take a case to court to protect his client’s interests. 

Some of Dr. Kristof’s notable successes include multiple high-stakes trust and estate disputes resulting in judgments in the millions of dollars. His achievements have led to Pasadena Weekly naming him a “Top Attorney” and repeatedly naming his law firm as a “Best Law Firm of Pasadena.”

With a major in history and a minor in Spanish, Dr. Kristof graduated with the highest honors from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He earned memberships with the Phi Alpha Theta honor society and the Golden Key International Honor Society. He obtained his master’s degree in history in 2002 and his Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2004. He holds an LLM in elder law and estate planning. He earned his Doctorate of Juridical Science (J.S.D., a research-based doctorate in law) and his dissertation quantified the impact of the Los Angeles Probate Court on the economy of Los Angeles County.

Placing great value on giving back to his community, Dr. Kristof serves as a court-appointed counsel for the Los Angeles Superior Court. He has worked as a settlement officer for the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Pro Bono Probate Settlement Program and volunteered with the Pro Per Guardianship Clinic. He is also an arbitrator for the Attorney-Client Mediation and Arbitration Service, where he hears disputes between attorneys and their clients. 

Dr. Kristof is a member of the American Bar Association, The State Bar of California and the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He represented the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association on the Commission on Law and Aging. He also serves on the board of the Los Angeles Alumni Chapter of the University of San Diego School of Law.

Practice areas

Estate & Trust Litigation, Elder Law, Estate Planning & Probate

Focus areas

Estate Planning, Guardianships & Conservatorships, Living Wills, Power of Attorney, Probate & Estate Administration, Trusts, Will Contests, Wills

  • 60% Estate & Trust Litigation
  • 20% Elder Law
  • 20% Estate Planning & Probate

First Admitted: 2005, California

Professional Webpage: https://www.kristoflaw.com/attorney/kristof-kent/

Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Los Angeles County Court Appointed Counsel Panel (formerly Probate Volunteer Panel) A select group of counsel appointed by the Court to protect subject individuals, 2010
  • Los Angeles Attorney Client Mediation and Arbitration Service Arbitrator  (resolves disputes between other attorneys and clients), 2012
  • The American Bar Association's Young Lawyer's Division's liaison to the ABA's Commission On Law And Aging., 2014
  • California State Bar Conference of Delegates - Delegate from Los Angeles County Bar Association (2009-2010; 2021-2022), 2021
  • American Association for Justice, 2003
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
  • Member, American Association for Justice
  • California
  • Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Member, State Bar of California, Trusts and Estates, Litigation
  • Member, State Bar of California
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Guardianship Clinic (Los Angeles County Superior Court, East District location), 2010
Verdicts/Settlements (Case Results):
  • Pursued heirs’ claims against law firm who represented the former Administrator after she looted all of the estate’s property.  Litigation spanned several California counties, included cooperation with law enforcement, and spread to include national financial institutions as respondents.  After lengthy litigation and close examination of reams of financial documents, the heirs’ inheritances were satisfied. (Estate of Ballard), 2021
  • Secured client's inheritance against litigation initiated by one of the largest firms in the world.  This litigation included a unique set of pretrial motions and a range of unusual legal questions.  (Oestreich, 2023), 2023
  • Represented children, in several related cases, against predatory interferers who attempted to take all of their father's property.  Recovery over $1,700,000 (Diaz cases), 2022
  • Defended former Court Appointed Counsel in vitriolic litigation. Took through trial and was granted extraordinary sanctions which were published statewide.  On appeal from the sanctions motion, the logic of the sanctions motion was unanimously approved." (Guerra/Alvarado), 2020
  • Protected client’s and estate’s interests during hotly contested litigation involving overlapping assertions of abuse, contractual disputes, and significant tax implications.  Secured inheritance of controlling interest in family business, valued between $2,550,000 and $4,000,000. (Falkenborg 2001 Trust cases), 2019
  • Engaged in multi-faceted litigation to protect widow from aggressive step-sons.  For the widow, recovered valuable real property, and monies for legal fees, from the aggressors. (Barrett matters), 2016
  • Defended Trustee/beneficiary in litigation, spanning multiple cases, with significant international components.  Favorably resolved with client retaining income producing properties and other assets totaling several million dollars. (Zubillaga matters), 2017
  • Intervened, on behalf of clients, in probate that had languished for some 20 years. Engaged in speedy and efficient litigation on multiple fronts. Obtained beneficial recovery to clients while maximizing value of estate. Total recovered for clients approximately $1,040,000.  (Strauss Matters), 2015
  • Pursued heinous elder abuse action on behalf of elder. In addition to other recovery, obtained Elder Abuse Restraining Orders, with "move-out" Orders. Total recovery exceeds $613,500. Collaborated with Los Angeles County District Attorney in obtaining a felony conviction. Conservatorship of Olson and related matters), 2012
  • Prosecuted and defended against multiple legal actions, in three counties within California, between my clients and their opponent. Total recovery of $750,000 to clients. (Estate of Knuth and related matters), 2009
Educational Background:
  • Doctorate of Juridical Science (JSD), Loyola Law School.  (This is the highest degree in law awarded.), 2022
  • Western New England University, School of Law, LL.M. in Estate Planning and Elder Law, 2015
  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, M.A. in History, 2002
  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, B.A. in History, Minor: Spanish, 1999
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • My dissertation presented data showing just how crucial the Los Angeles County Probate Court is to the County’s economy.  It also made a case for reducing the length and, thereby, the attendant costs of probate administration in California.  To quantify the financial impact of probate administration as precisely as possible, my dissertation proposed a novel way to account for the costs of probate administration, called the “Full Cost” of probate.  The Full Cost of probate combines the total transaction costs of probate with the harm to the economy at large caused by keeping the decedent’s assets locked away with limited or no alienability.  The Full Cost of probate is the sum of the Future Value Cost (i.e. the future value of the marshalled estate minus its present value) and the Opportunity Cost of the marshalled estate, minus the assumed Moderating Value of statutorily permissible investments, plus the legal fees and costs paid before distribution, and the balance between the property on hand at the beginning of probate minus the property on hand to distribute.  The goal of my dissertation was to deepen our understanding of the Los Angeles County Probate Court’s operations and functions, to illuminate the impact of the Probate court on the economy of Los Angeles County, and to suggest reforms to reduce the Full Cost of probate., The Economic Impact of Probate Administration (Doctoral Dissertation), 2022
  • Every year millions of dollars of assets are placed in judicial stasis during probate administration, removed from circulating the economy.  The lost economic impact of these assets, during this period of limited alienability, to Los Angeles County has never before been reported.  My presentation to the National Doctor of Juridical Science (JSD) Roundtable describes the “full cost” of this reduced alienability and how that “full cost” is disproportionally felt across the county’s economic strata., Author/ Presenter, Economics of Probate: The Impact of Probate Administration in the World's 16th Largest Economy, Georgetown University Law Center, National Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) Roundtable, Legal, Academia, Empiricists, Economists, 2018
  • Presented to attorneys, this session provided an overview of the post-death tasks required for trust administration.  Topics included tax matters, changes of trustees, determining the validity of liabilities, payment of debts, distribution scenarios, and litigation avoidance and preparation., Presenter, Post-Death Trust Administration, CEB (Continuing Education Of The Bar), Continuing Education For Attorneys, 2018
  • Provided a periodic review and analysis of the activities of the Respiratory Care Board, as well as the laws affecting the Board and its actions., Regulatory Update (2002-2003): Respiratory Care Board, California Regulatory Law Reporter
  • Provided a periodic review and analysis of the activities of the Board of Registered Nursing, as well as the laws affecting the Board and its actions., Regulatory Update (2002-2003): Board of Registered Nursing, California Regulatory Law Reporter
  • , Top Attorneys, Pasadena Magazine, 2022
  • Selected to the elite list of peer-nominated, peer-chosen attorneys in the Los Angeles area., Top Lawyer, Pasadena Magazine, 2020
  • Best Attorney/Law Firm, Pasadena Weekly, 2011
  • Membership, Phi Alpha Theta, Golden Key International Honour Society
  • National Honor Society, Member, Officer Positions, Phi Alpha Theta, 1997
  • National Honor Society, Member, Golden Honor Society, 1998
Industry Groups:
  • American Bar Association (Litigation Section And Young Lawyers Division)
  • California State Bar (Litigation And Trusts And Estate Sections)
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association (Trusts And Estates Section)

Office location for Dr. Kent L. Kristof

1122 E Green St
Pasadena, CA 91106

Phone: 626-535-9445


2 Years Super Lawyers
7 Years Rising Stars
  • Super Lawyers: 2023 - 2024
  • Rising Stars: 2014 - 2020

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