Mel was born and raised in Fresno, California and recently joined Dowling Aaron’s Trust and Estate Litigation Group with 39 years of litigation experience in several areas of the law. Mel’s trust and estate litigation practice involves representing fiduciaries and beneficiaries in all types of trust and estate litigation matters such as will and trust contests, breach of trust and breach of fiduciary duty actions, actions to compel accountings, actions to remove a trustee or fiduciary, actions to interpret a trust, will, codicil or trust amendment, determination of heirship proceedings, financial or physical elder abuse and actions brought to recover assets claimed to belong to a trust or estate.
Mel’s estate planning, trust administration and probate practice includes drafting of simple and complex wills, revocable and irrevocable trusts, first party and third party special needs trusts, inherited IRA trusts, durable powers of attorney for financial management and personal care decisions and health care directives; representing and counseling fiduciaries and beneficiaries regarding the administration of a trust or estate; counseling fiduciaries regarding the preparation of trust and estate accountings and representing fiduciaries and beneficiaries in uncontested testate and intestate probate matters.
Prior to joining Dowling Aaron, Mel was a Senior Defense Attorney with the Fresno County Public Defenders Office where he tried over 50 jury trials and appeared in hundreds of evidentiary hearings. After leaving the Fresno County Public Defenders Office, Mel joined the state wide insurance defense firm of Ericksen Arbuthnot, first as a partner and then as the managing partner of the firm’s Fresno office where tried several jury and bench trials defending civil litigants in catastrophic personal injury cases involving medical malpractice, product liability and motor vehicle negligence. After leaving Ericksen Arbuthnot, Mel practiced as a solo practitioner for 20 years, primarily in the areas of estate planning, trust and estate administration and trust and estate litigation.