Matthew R. Owens


Matt is a partner in the trust and estate litigation team.

Matt focuses his practice on trust, estate, and inheritance disputes. He has prosecuted and defended a wide range of matters in probate court, including trust contests, elder abuse actions, accountings, contested conservatorships and claims involving breach of fiduciary duty. His clients include high net worth individuals and families, corporate trustees, and private professional fiduciaries.

Matt has successfully handled numerous trials and arbitrations of trust and estate disputes. He has also handled many appeals, including the following cases that resulted in published opinions:

  • Funsten v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (2016) 2 Cal.App.5th 959
  • Dunlap v. Mayer (2021) 63 Cal.App.5th 419

Matt is a certified specialist in estate planning, trust, and probate law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. He frequently speaks and writes on trust and estate litigation topics, is a member of the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the California Lawyers Association (TEXCOM), and serves as Chair of the Executive Committee of the San Diego County Bar Association’s Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law Section. He was recognized as a Best Lawyers "Ones to Watch" for 2022 and 2021, has been a Super Lawyers Rising Star each year since 2013, and has been on Legal Week’s Private Client "Ones to Watch" list each year since 2017. Matt is also a registered foreign lawyer in the UK.






Obtained US $2 million judgment against trustee in San Francisco County Probate Court for trust beneficiary following a multi-week bench trial. Trustee was surcharged for breaches of fiduciary duty in connection with sub-trust funding and trust administration.

Obtained summary judgment in favor of the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, defeating claims of other family members who had petitioned the San Mateo County Probate Court to treat the policy as a trust asset.

Complete defense and award of attorney’s fees on behalf of an estate’s executor following a three-day bench trial in Los Angeles County Probate Court. Defeated allegations the personal representative had stolen US $2 million of assets from the estate.

State of California, 2011

Let’s Get Digital! ESI in Trust and Estate Litigation, Part 1,’ California Lawyer’s Association’s California Trusts and Estates Quarterly, Volume 27, Issue 2, co-author

‘Contested Nonprobate Transfers: When the Estate Plan Trumps,’ California Trusts & Estates Quarterly 2020, Vol. 26, Issue 3, October 2020, author

‘Litigation Alert,’ California Trusts & Estates Quarterly, co-author

La Jolla Bar Association

San Diego Probate Bench-Bar Committee, 2021 Named Chair

California Lawyers Association, Trusts and Estates Section, Member of Executive Committee (TEXCOM)

‘The Britney Effect: AB 1194 and Conservatorships in 2022,’ Orange County Bar Association - April 22, 2022, co-presenter alongside Judge Hubbard, Commissioner Heisler, and Marilyn Kriebel LPF

‘Let’s Get Digital! E-Discovery in Trust and Estate Litigation,’ California Lawyers Association (CLA) - April 14, 2022, co-presenter

‘What’s Sacramento Up To? 2021 Legislation and its Impact on Fiduciaries,’ PFAC - San Diego Region - March 23, 2022, co-presenter



  • English




Regularly works with...