Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law
Apply to Become a Certified Specialist
Certification is a two-part process, and the parts can be completed in any order:
1. Register for the legal specialist examination on October 22, 2013 in Pasadena or South San Francisco. The application deadline is October 15, 2013 or until a particular test center's spaces are full.
Fees increase as of October 2, 2013.
NO REGISTRATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER OCTOBER 15, 2013.
2. Access a free Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Examination Preparation Packet including key facts about examination logistics, the topics that can be tested on the examination, and all released essay questions. No multiple-choice questions are released. If you wish to take a preparation course, scroll below to see if the Department of Legal Specialization is aware of a course being offered in this area of law.
3. Code Book Information: Examinees have the option to bring and use one unannotated copy of the California Probate Code to be used during the examination. It does not matter which edition you choose, and the choice to bring a copy of the California Probate Code is optional. However, the publication must be unannotated and completely free of any marks. NO handwritten notations, underlining, highlighting, post-its or tabs allowed. Must be a standard bound volume not an electronic or printed copy of an electronic volume.
- California Probate Code, 2013 ed
ISBN: 9780314949035 (Westlaw offers a 50% discount. Call 651-244-6547. The promotion code is: 0683239Z84746. Can only be used with this ISBN number). As of the date of this posting, the 2014 edition is listed on the website, but is only availble for preorder, however, it will not be shipped until after the exam.
- California Probate Code – Deerings 2013
ISBN: 9780769853512 [Recommended]
ISBN: 9781422495070 [Allowed]
(LexisNexis offers a 40% discount on either volume. Call 1-800-223-1940, use discount word Veleria. Can be used for either of these ISBN numbers only)
1. Started practicing after January 2012? You'll be eligible to register for the examination in 2015, but you can still work on the other requirements now. Use a Sample Post-Examination Application or the program rules listed below to track your experience, education and references. You can fulfill these requirements before and/or after you take the examination.
The following preparation courses are available:
The Trust & Estate Section fo the State Bar has just released a taped version of their "Exam and You" Examination Prep class at a special 10% discount when all session are purchased together.
CEB (Continuing Education of the Bar) will also offer a multi-session/multi-media course that can be started as early as June 1, 2013.
September 26, 2013: PIncus Professional Education will offer an examination prep course and also offers a home study course option
Estate and Trust Education Resources also offers an ongoing review course.
Note: The Department of Legal Specialization is not affiliated with this preparation class or any commercial preparation class and derives no financial benefit from any educational provider. The Department provides this information solely for your convenience.
Rules and Standards
The Standards for Certification in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law (revised effective 5/16/08)
The standards must be read in conjunction with the Rules Governing the State Bar of California Program for Certifying Legal Specialists, which govern the program requirements.
Click here to access the application for testing accommodations for qualified individuals during the examination. Note that you must also still register for the examination using the form above and in accordance with the standard deadlines for registration.
Current Certified Specialists
Recertification: Applications are due every year after your initial certification date. Please click here to download a Recertification Application.
Special Instructions for Those Who Passed the 2011 Legal Specialists Examination
Passing the examination is the first step in the certification process. Post Examination Applications were due on April 25, 2013. If you need an extension for good cause shown, such as completing five years' experience in your area of legal specialty, please draft a letter to the California Board of Legal Specialization at 180 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105 or e-mail the letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions? Contact the Department of Legal Specialization at email@example.com or at 415-538-2120. If speech- or hearing-impaired, call 711 for telecommunications relay services.