Heather Matsumoto Hoekstra

Counsel

Heather Matsumoto Hoekstra litigates trust and estate disputes focusing on financial elder abuse, interpreting the intent of estate instruments, and the protection of vulnerable adults.

She guides clients and families through what is often the most challenging time in their lives. Whether elder clients need an advocate dedicated to preserving their dignity and autonomy outside of California’s conservatorships, families require counsel to protect loved ones from financial abuse, or beneficiaries and heirs want to resolve their inheritance disputes practically, she approaches each client and case with respect, compassion, and creativity. Prior to joining Downey Brand LLP, she was the founder and sole-shareholder of Hoekstra Law, P.C. in Berkeley.


Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement

  • East Bay Trust and Estates Lawyers, Board of Directors, Treasurer, 2022-present; Chair, Litigation and Mediation Subcommittee, 2021; Co-Chair, Litigation and Mediation Subcommittee, 2018-2020
  • California Lawyers Association, Trust & Estate Section 2014-2022
  • American Bar Association, 2020-2021
  • Contra Costa County Bar Association, 2014-2020

Honors & Rankings

  • Super Lawyers, Estate & Trust Litigation, 2022
  • Super Lawyers, Northern California Rising Star, Estate & Trust Litigation, 2020-2021
  • Successfully represented co-settlors in a litigated revocation of a uniquely conflicted and poorly constructed trust instrument, which they executed for their and their three other siblings’ benefit after their father’s death. The three siblings abused this generosity by removing the clients as trustees, thus requiring the clients to revoke. The merits of the case hinged on the difference between the legal definitions of “termination” and “revocation.” After an evidentiary hearing, the superior court found in clients’ favor, thus confirming the revocation.
  • Resolved dispute involving a 19-year-old client’s petition for the conservatorship of her incapacitated father in a deeply contentious proceeding during which he was removed from the state in an attempt to avoid state jurisdiction.
  • Protected $200,000 of a client’s distribution from her parent’s bypass trust estate as well as the entirety of the survivor’s trust inheritance from being included as part of her Chapter 7 bankruptcy estate by settling an adversarial proceeding brought by the bankruptcy trustee.
  • Represented the son of an incapacitated parent upon his discovery of her caregiver’s financial abuse, isolation, and undue influence of his surviving parent, whose estate exceeded $8,000,000. Successfully obtained a temporary and permanent elder abuse restraining order against the caregiver and anyone acting on her behalf after his appointment as temporary and then general conservator of the person.
  • Successfully represented the petitioning 18-year-old granddaughter of decedent to fill a vacancy in the office of trustee of decedent’s trust where her interest in the trust was not protected by the persons with access to her trust accounts.
  • Represented trustee of her late father’s estate to protect the dispositive terms of his trust instrument in a dispute with her estranged step-mother.
  • Successfully obtained dismissal of client’s brothers’ petition for elder abuse, rescission of deeds, and other causes of action on the basis of lack of standing and being barred by a long past statute of limitation.
  • Successfully obtained dismissal of opposing party’s petition under Probate Code section 850 on the basis that she did not have standing as an interested person as defined by Probate Code.
  • Represented client trustee and administrator against the opposing party’s complaint based on a Marvin claim against client as trustee of his late father’s estate in a 10-day trial.
  • Represented responding co-trustees in a contested trust interpretation and modification matter involving a 1922 deed of trust which endowed a small college in Eastern California with its real property. Obtained orders preliminarily enjoining the majority trustees and compulsorily joining the college’s managing corporation by piercing its corporate veil. Served as third chair at a full 10-day trial and represented clients in appellate proceedings.
  • Represented foreign client in proceedings contending that her brother-in-law forged her sister’s will after her sister died. The matter resulted in a criminal conviction of her brother-in-law, and a $200,000 restitution paid to client.

Heather’s passion for gardening began when she lived in the UK from 2003-2007. As a Nisei (second generation Japanese-American), she engages with her heritage through its fabric arts called Shibori and regular trips to Japan. She is an avid traveler having visited 11 European countries, Turkey, India, Russia, and Bahrain. She also loves laughing, especially with her sister.


Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement

  • East Bay Trust and Estates Lawyers, Board of Directors, Treasurer, 2022-present; Chair, Litigation and Mediation Subcommittee, 2021; Co-Chair, Litigation and Mediation Subcommittee, 2018-2020
  • California Lawyers Association, Trust & Estate Section 2014-2022
  • American Bar Association, 2020-2021
  • Contra Costa County Bar Association, 2014-2020

Honors & Rankings

  • Super Lawyers, Estate & Trust Litigation, 2022
  • Super Lawyers, Northern California Rising Star, Estate & Trust Litigation, 2020-2021