Judge Smith retired from the Orange County Superior Court to become a full-time arbitrator, discovery referee, and mediator in 1997 after 26 years as a trial court judge. To this day, he is the only Orange County judge, active or retired, to have been assigned to all of the Court's calendars, including two years as Presiding Judge of the Probate Department. Since joining JAMS, Judge Smith has participated in the resolution of a variety of disputes involving estate, probate, and trust issues.
- Discovery referee in litigation involving trust with high eight-figure assets
- Mediated case involving dispute over community property rights and assets owned by trust
- Mediated dispute involving properties outside of trust, entitlement of what is considered community property, domestic relations and related insurance policies
- Mediated hundreds of disputes between surviving heirs over trust distributions
- Mediator in federal case involving distribution of nine-figure estate assets
- Mediator on probate matter involving dispute between decedent’s three children from previous marriage and decedent’s wife. Dispute involved 850 and 11700 petitions to determine which property belongs in estate and how property should be divided.
- Panelist in binding arbitration involving distribution of high seven-figure trust assets
- Probate and trust mediation involving assertion that client acquired substantial community property during 30-year marriage and that half of that property belonged to estate
- Probate mediation involving parties seeking determination regarding claims to certain real and personal property, as well as validity of certain estate planning documents
- Resolved as mediator case involving property valuations, distribution of remaining properties and trustee removal issues
- Resolved in mediation determination of trust property ownership
- Resolved in mediation disagreement over which beneficiary designation controlled disposition of IRA account
- Resolved two related matters involving determination of operative trust instruments, possible trust reformation and claims of malpractice
- Settled at mediation dispute between three co-trustees over sale of real property
- Settled dispute between former primary beneficiary son and neighbor who was newly appointed as trustee. Matter also involved governing board of directors, who were estate’s recent beneficiaries, for large public university system.
- Settled matter involving three probate petitions and one civil action, all related to estate planning documents of deceased husband and surviving spouse