We are:

Strong advocates in protecting the rights of our clients;

Attorneys with diverse expertise who work collaboratively to serve the complex needs of our clients;

Experienced serving a wide range of clients’ needs from public benefits planning to estate planning for all income levels;

Ready to take action to protect against physical and financial elder abuse and neglect including exploring alternatives to conservatorship and litigation;

An understanding staff that endeavors to minimize the pressures that accompany seeking legal counsel;

Committed to making client communication a priority and providing a comfortable environment conducive to an open, relaxed relationship with our clients.

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Our Attorneys

BRENT R. KATO
bkato@kfslaw.net

Partner Brent R. Kato has over 30 years experience in estate planning, conservatorships, long-term care planning and elder law. He is a founding member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, is a member of the San Francisco Superior Court panel of attorneys who are appointed to represent proposed conservatees and a panel attorney and trainer for California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform and the Family Caregiver Alliance, a support organization for families of disabled individuals. Mr. Kato has represented clients before administrative agencies, California trial courts, the California Court of Appeals, Federal District Court and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition, Mr. Kato is a speaker and trainer for the Alzheimer’s Association, American Society on Aging, Institute on Aging, Kimochi, and other long term care organizations. He was also a longtime member of the board of directors for Asian Pacific Islanders Legal Outreach and is a member of the Trusts and Estates section of the State Bar of California. Before co-founding the firm, Mr. Kato worked at Legal Assistance to the Elderly and the San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation. Mr. Kato received his bachelor’s degree from Sacramento State University and his law degree from the University of California at Davis, Martin Luther King School of Law.

 

BRUCE A. FEDER
bfeder@kfslaw.net

Partner Bruce A. Feder’s practice focuses on conservatorship matters, special needs trusts, probate and trust administration, and estate planning. He is a founding member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and a fellow of the Academy of Special Needs Planners. Mr. Feder is also a member of the San Francisco Superior Court panel of attorneys who are appointed to represent proposed conservatees, a panel attorney for the Family Caregiver Alliance, which supports families of disabled individuals, and a panel attorney for California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. Mr. Feder litigated the appellate cases Conservatorship of Kane (2006) 137 Cal App 4th 400, 40 CR3d 378 which provides authority for the court in a conservatorship matter to establish a special needs trust for the proceeds of an inheritance on a petition for substituted judgment and The San Francisco Opera Association v. Chandler Flickinger, (2011) 201 Cal App 4th 971, which clarifies the scope of damages awarded under Probate Codes §9601-9603, confirms that an order for distribution is not a money judgment, and provides instruction as to the application of laches in a probate proceeding. He has conducted numerous presentations and courses on long-term care and benefits planning. Prior to co-founding the firm, Mr. Feder developed his expertise in elder law through his work as managing attorney at Legal Assistance to the Elderly in San Francisco. Mr. Feder received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and law degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. 

 

LORI T. SUZUKI
lsuzuki@kfslaw.net

In addition to probate, trust and conservatorship matters, partner Lori T. Suzuki handles sophisticated estate tax planning cases, advises business and non-profits, prepares estate and fiduciary income tax returns, represents clients in tax audits and offers in compromise cases, advises regarding property tax planning, and handles county property tax reassessment appeals. She has served on the board of directors of various Bay Area community service organizations. She was a co-founder and first executive director of Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach (APILO), and has served for over thirty years as a member of its board of directors.  Ms. Suzuki continues to provide pro bono services to APILO’s low-income clients for which she received the California State Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award. Ms. Suzuki received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Davis, her law degree from University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a Master of Laws in Taxation from Golden Gate University. 

 

ROWENA C. NAVIA
rnavia@kfslaw.net

Rowena C. Navia is a partner with Kato, Feder and Suzuki, LLP and has been an attorney with the firm since 1996. Ms. Navia's work focuses on conservatorship, trust administration and litigation, and decedent’s estates administration. In her practice she represents professional and non-professional fiduciaries in their roles as conservators, trustees and personal representatives.  She also represents interested third parties in those matters, including beneficiaries, family members, and proposed conservatees.  Ms. Navia is a member of the San Francisco Superior Court panel of attorneys who are appointed to represent proposed conservatees. Ms. Navia was the associate attorney on a team that successfully represented the Estate of Kampen in the California Court of Appeals case, The San Francisco Opera Association v. Chandler Flickinger, (2011) 201 Cal App 4th 971, that provides clarification on the scope of damages awarded under Probate Codes §9601-9603, confirms that an order for distribution is not a money judgment, and provides instruction as to the application of laches in a probate proceeding. Prior to joining KFS, Ms. Navia worked for the Legal Aid Society of Alameda County and the Juvenile Division of the Office of the Corporation Counsel in Washington, DC. Ms. Navia is a member of the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Irvine and law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

 

TRISHA D. FRIEDEBERG
tfriedeberg@kfslaw.net

Trisha Friedeberg is a partner with Kato, Feder and Suzuki, LLP. Ms. Friedeberg concentrates on conservatorships, trust and probate administration and litigation, special needs trusts, long-term care planning and estate planning. She represents professional and non-professional fiduciaries, as well as interested third parties. Ms. Friedeberg has volunteered with organizations that assist the elderly for many years, most currently with the Seniors at Home Program at Jewish Family and Children’s Services. Ms. Friedeberg is a member of the Bar Association of San Francisco and is on the San Francisco Superior Court panel of attorneys who are appointed to represent proposed conservatees. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Davis and law degree from the University of San Francisco.

 

WILL DOYLE
wdoyle@kfslaw.net

Will Doyle is an associate attorney with Kato, Feder and Suzuki, LLP. Mr. Doyle concentrates on conservatorships, trust and probate administration and litigation, long-term care planning and estate planning, including estate and property tax planning. He represents professional and non-professional fiduciaries, as well as interested third parties. After starting his career at Kato, Feder & Suzuki, LLP in 2002 while a student at City College of San Francisco, Mr. Doyle has worked in multiple facets of the firm in both administrative and legal roles. Mr. Doyle received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at San Diego and his law degree from Golden Gate University, graduating with Honors and multiple class awards, including a CALI award for excellent achievement in the study of Wills & Trusts. While a student at Golden Gate University, Mr. Doyle concurrently received a Masters of Laws in Taxation and the Academic Excellence Award in Tax Law for 2015 as well as a certificate of completion of evaluated instruction in Mediation and Conflict Resolution.

 

MELANIE J. EMMONS
memmons@kfslaw.net

Melanie J. Emmons is an associate attorney with Kato, Feder and Suzuki, LLP. Ms. Emmons concentrates on conservatorships, limited conservatorships, guardianships, trust and probate administration and litigation, long-term care planning and estate planning, including estate and special needs trusts. She represents professional and non-professional fiduciaries, as well as interested third parties. Before starting her career at Kato, Feder & Suzuki, LLP in February 2017, Ms. Emmons received her Doctor of Jurisprudence from Golden Gate University School of Law in 2011 with a concentration in Public Interest law.  Before passing the California State Bar, Ms. Emmons gained legal experience and familiarity with the California Court system while interning at the Office of the Public Defender in Contra Costa Country, the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, and a San Francisco boutique firm focused on Estate Planning and Tax law. Additionally, Ms. Emmons had the honor of externing for the California Superior Court in the Unified Family Division, under then Supervising Judge Patrick J. Mahoney. She also had the honor of externing, and later clerking for Chief Judicial Magistrate Maria-Elena James of the Northern District Court in Federal Court. Following law school, Ms. Emmons gained valuable experience helping people resolve tense legal situations while working for nonprofit organizations such as East Bay Children's Law Offices and Legal Advocates for Children and Youth in Silicon Valley. She provides workshops about limited conservatorship at Support For Families with Disabilities.  Ms. Emmons is a Bay Area native, and graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a concentratation in American Culture.  Ms. Emmons earned two minors, including a minor in Professional Writing with a specialization in professional editing and a minor in Global Peace and Security.