Practice Areas

Elder Abuse and Probate Law and Litigation

The State of California has enacted special laws to protect elderly and dependent adults from physical abuse, financial abuse, neglect and unfair business practices, These laws protect elderly and dependent adults from unscrupulous or neglectful caregivers, financial advisors and institutions, vendors, acquaintances and relatives. Hicks, Mims, Kaplan & Burns has had extensive experience and success both defending and prosecuting elder abuse claims. If you have questions concerning the possible physical or financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult, you should immediately contact us.

Probate is the Court supervised process for passing assets to heirs. Because of the value of California real estate, it is increasingly common for California residents of even modest means to have estates of substantial value. Unfortunately, the combination of poor estate planning, death, money, extended families and friendships often leads to inheritance disputes and probate proceedings contesting the validity or the interpretation of the Wills and trusts of the decedent.

Hicks, Mims, Kaplan & Burns represents beneficiaries, heirs and fiduciaries in probate administration matters, Will and trust contests and related proceedings. If you are faced with probating a decedent’s estate or are involved in an inheritance dispute, you should not rely on other heirs to protect your interests because these disputes are frequently resolved by the contestants divvying up the estate to the exclusion of heirs that have not legally joined the contest. Moreover, your inheritance may be forfeited unless you timely assert your claim. 

Hicks, Mims, Kaplan & Burns can often expeditiously resolve Wills and trust contests through innovative, tax-efficient settlements that maximize the inheritance of all of the heirs. If you have any questions concerning your interest in an estate or inheritance, please contact us.

Tax Controversies and Planning 

A significant portion of our tax practice involves the representation of clients before state and federal tax agencies. These proceedings may be administrative or judicial and include audits, appeals, collection matters and proceedings before the United States Tax Court and the Federal District Courts. 

In addition, we design tax efficient strategies tailored to the specific needs of our clients. For our corporate and business clients, we can sometimes avoid significant income taxes, franchise taxes, employment taxes, sales and use taxes, excise taxes and local business taxes and fees by creating tax-advantaged pension and benefit plans, or by restructuring transactions and business entities. Other strategies are sometimes available to shelter assets from creditors.

Intellectual Property 

Many of our business and entertainment clients derive a substantial portion of their income and net worth from their copyrights, trademarks, licenses and other intellectual properties. Unfortunately, intellectual properties are often misappropriated by improper accountings, infringement, counterfeiting, grey marketing and other kinds of unlawful and unfair competition. 

The lawyers at Hicks, Mims & Kaplan have negotiated, drafted or advised their clients of their rights and obligations regarding some of the most valuable intellectual properties of the entertainment industry, including licensing agreements.

For our clients that are artists, inventors and entrepreneurs, Hicks, Mims, Kaplan & Burns can also structure estate plans that preserve your legacy by providing for you and your loved ones while you are alive, and then pass your intellectual properties and other assets to your heirs in accordance with your wishes and their needs in a tax-efficient manner.

Estate Planning

Because of extended families and the value of California real estate, stock options and intellectual properties, California residents often have estates of substantial complexity and net worth. A typical Hicks, Mims, Kaplan & Burns estate plan provides for you and your loved ones (often including your pets) while you are alive, and then passes your assets to your heirs in accordance with your wishes and their needs in a manner that minimizes taxes. Depending on your personal and financial situation, an estate plan may consist of Wills for you and your spouse, one or more trusts, life insurance, a family limited partnership or limited liability company, property agreement, and powers of attorney for health care and financial purposes.

Our estate plans are designed to avoid probate, which is the Court supervised process for passing assets to heirs. Many of our clients want to avoid the delays and expense of probate, and exposing their assets, finances and heirs to public scrutiny. On the other hand, there are many situations where probate is unavoidable or is the best method for settling debts, avoiding liability or obtaining a final adjudication concerning the ownership of the estate’s property; and Hicks, Mims, Kaplan & Burns can assist you with those difficult and often complex situations.


Hicks, Mims, Kaplan & Burns represents individuals and businesses in investment, business, insurance, real estate and intellectual property disputes. We also represent individuals that have suffered serious bodily injuries; elders that have been physically or financially abused; and individuals, fiduciaries and charitable organizations that are involved in Will and trust contests.

Our analysis of your dispute begins with an examination of the most cost effective method to achieve your objectives, including whether insurance coverage is available to pay your litigation expenses and fund settlements.

To create reasons for denying claims and coverage, insurance companies often attempt to solicit recorded statements from their insureds before their insureds retain counsel. Likewise, insurance companies will ignore information that supports coverage. Before you discuss your claim with your insurance company, you should discuss your claim with us.

Sometimes aggressive litigation is the most cost effective method to resolve disputes. Other times mediation or arbitration are the more cost effective alternatives. Whether you litigate, mediate or arbitrate, we use technology to efficiently and cost-effectively represent you. Your correspondence, pleadings and other documents are optically scanned and organized so that they can be instantaneously accessed on our computers, and immediately delivered to anywhere in the world by e-mail or the Cloud without incurring costly photocopying and delivery charges. We also maintain an extensive library of computerized forms, pleadings and legal research to quickly respond to your inquiries and legal emergencies.

Commercial Transactions 

Each of the principals of Hicks, Mims, Kaplan & Burns has years of experience representing large and small business enterprises. Our business clients include entertainers, inventors, entrepreneurs, professionals, executives and commercial enterprises ranging from closely held family businesses to multi-national corporations listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Our transactional and business practice includes the following:

  1. The structuring and formation of domestic business entities, including professional corporations and limited liability companies;
  2. The negotiation and documentation of all types of business, investment, licensing, employment and real estate agreements.

Pro Hac Vice 

Hicks, Mims, Kaplan & Burns is proud to act as local counsel for our colleagues throughout North and South America, Our office is conveniently located near the State and Federal courts, many business class and better hotels and restaurants. Our conference room is available for meetings and depositions. We optically scan all correspondence, pleadings and other documents so that they can be instantaneously accessed, and immediately delivered to you by e-mail or in the Cloud without incurring costly photocopying and delivery charges.