Karen A. Meckstroth

Our People

Karen A. Meckstroth

Shareholder, Firmwide Chair - Estates and Trusts

55 South Market St., Suite 900
San Jose, CA 95113

408-947-2409 | 408-287-2583

Karen A. Meckstroth

Main Bio

Practice Overview

Karen Meckstroth is an estate planning attorney who works with clients to create estate plans that address each client’s unique needs. She believes that an effective plan addresses both the tax planning aspects of estate planning and the nontax aspects, taking into account the client’s personal values and family dynamics.

Karen is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law as certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

Her practice focuses on estate planning, charitable planning, trust administration, and fixing out-of-date plans, including irrevocable trusts.

Karen works with clients on both fundamental planning and advanced planning (wealth preservation through gifts of partial interests, grantor retained annuity trusts, intentionally defective grantor trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, and charitable split interest trusts).  Karen assists private foundations with formation, tax exempt status, corporate governance, termination, and compliance.

Many of Karen’s clients incorporate philanthropy in their planning.  Estate planning is an opportunity to give the next generation a “charitable inheritance.”  For some, estate planning is an opportunity to define their legacy – answering the question, “How is the world different because I passed through it?”

Karen is a frequent speaker on topics such as incorporating philanthropy in the family wealth plan, selecting and preparing successor trustees, and reforming irrevocable trusts. Karen presented Post-Mortem Alteration of Irrevocable Trusts and Retroactive Effect to the Silicon Valley Bar Association

Practice Areas


  • J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law
  • M.A. and B.A., University of California at Berkeley
  • Language Certificate, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland


  • All California state courts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Tax Court

Affiliation & Awards

Professional Associations

  • Silicon Valley Bar Association
  • California Lawyers Association, Trusts and Estates Section
  • California Lawyers Association, Taxation Section
  • California Lawyers Association, Trust Administration
  • Subcommittee of the Trust and Estates Executive Committee

Non-Profit Boards

  • Former Board Member, Former Chair, Notre Dame High School San Jose
  • Former Board Member, Employment & Community Options


Representative Experience

Reported Cases

Chen v. Franchise Tax Bd., 75 Cal. App. 4th 1110 (1998) (holding that a taxpayer need only pay the amount of tax assessed, and not interest, to maintain a suit for refund of corporate franchise taxes)

Mackrell International California Minority Counsel Program Best Places to Work 2019 Bay Area Green Business