Christopher D. Carico - Carico Johnson Toomey LLP

Christopher D. Carico

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2011

Trust And Estate Lawyers.  Downtown Expertise. South Bay Convenience.

Christopher D. Carico is a founding partner of Carico Johnson Toomey LLP, a boutique law firm in the South Bay with highly specialized attorneys, with a particular emphasis in trust and estate litigation and estate planning.

Carico Johnson Toomey’s Trust & Estate lawyers have been recognized as among the top in their field by U.S. News and Best Lawyers®, Super Lawyers Magazine, Best Lawyers in America, and in the Los Angeles Times.    The firm serves clients throughout Los Angeles and the South Bay area.

Christopher D. Carico leads the firm’s Trust and Estate practice, and is a Certified Specialists in Estate Planning & Probate Law by The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. 


Carico Johnson Toomey LLP is recognized both for the impressive credentials of our attorneys and the results that we create for our clients.

U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”, 2011-2015 
Best Lawyers in America® 2010-2015; Trust & Estates; Litigation – Trusts & Estates,

Southern California Super Lawyers, Trust & Estate Litigation, 2009-2015

State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization, Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law

Best Lawyers®, Copyright 2010-2015 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC.“Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & Best Lawyers®

Christopher D. Carico is a board certified specialist in estate planning, trust, and probate law with over 25 years of legal experience. His practice includes all facets of trusts and estates, and he represents families, individuals, professional trustees, conservators, guardians, and beneficiaries.

 Mr. Carico has frequently served as a court-appointed expert to provide his opinions and recommendations in the following types of actions: trust reformation proceedings, fiduciary accountings, actions for breach of fiduciary duty, actions for fiduciary suspension and removal, fee petitions, and compromise of creditors’ claims.

Mr. Carico’s trust and estate litigation practice includes counseling and representing beneficiaries and fiduciaries in will contests, trusts contests, contested conservatorships, Marvin claims, challenged accountings, fiduciary surcharge and removal actions, property characterization disputes, and 850 petitions.

Mr. Carico develops carefully tailored estate plans for individuals and families, by preparing foundational documents such as revocable trusts, wills, and powers of attorney. Additionally, he counsels clients on more advanced planning techniques, including family limited partnership, family limited liability companies, designated beneficiary trusts, grantor retained annuity and unitrusts, qualified personal residence trusts, intentionally defective grantor trusts, charitable remainder trusts, charitable foundations, self-cancelling installment notes, and life insurance trusts.

In the area of trust, estate and probate administration, Mr. Carico has represented numerous individuals and professional fiduciaries charged with the responsibility of administering a decedent’s estate. This includes overseeing the entire trust or probate administration process through the appointment of the fiduciary; the division, allocation and sale of assets; the filing of federal estate tax returns; the preparation of accountings; audits with the IRS and FTB; and final distribution.

Mr. Carico graduated with a J.D. cum laude, from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif. He obtained his B.A in economics from Occidental College.

His previous affiliations include Carico Toomey & Associates LLP (2007-2008), Davis & Carico LLP (1996 – 2007), Law Offices of Christopher D. Carico (1990 – 1996), and Mullen & Henzell (1989 – 1990).

Occidental CollegeAB 1983Loyola University School of LawJ.D. 1987
Loyola University School of LawLoyola University School of Law

Case History

In re Pacific Trust — Served as Court-appointed Guardian ad litem to represent interests of grandchildren in $130,000,000 breach of fiduciary claim by children against parents/trustees.  After 9 days of trial, the Court granted the Guardian ad Litem's motion for judgment under civil code section 631.8 dismissing claims to $70,000,000.00 in foregin assets, which would have exposed remaining $60,000,000 in domestic assets to liability for income taxes, interest and penalties of $50,000,000 and liability for gift taxes, interest and penalties of an unknown amount. 
In re: Stryker Family Trust — Lead trial attorney in law firm's representation of siblings in action to remove other sibling as trustee based on claims of financial elder abuse and breach of fiduciary duty against 90 year old father.  Law firm ultimately recovered $500,000 in gold buillion from Candian gold dealer, and $250,000 property in Nicaragua pursuant to Probate Code section 850, having traced the assets back to the Trust as its source. After multi-day trial of amount of surcharge, Court imposed multi-million dollar surchage and double damages under Probate Code section 859 against defauding sibling and her spouse. Evidence retrieved by law firm was so compelling that DA obtain conviction for felony elder abuse with both defrading sibling and her spouse serving jail time. 
In re: James Ambrose Johnson (aka Rick James) Trust — Served as Court-appointed Evidence Code section 730 expert opinining on issues relating to breach of fiduciary duty by business manager/trustee for Trust of deceased performing artist and funk legend, Rick James.  Ultimately assisted parties in reaching global settlement including resignation of business manager as trustee.
In re Pasori Trust — Served as Court-appointed Evidence Code section 730 expert to opine, make recommendations and assist in settlement of case involving actions for removal of trustee of trust and estate with millions in assets and over $130,000,000.00 in creditors claims from financial institutions and individuals.
Estate Planning for Ultra High Net Worth Family — Lead attorney designing estate plan to take advantage of $5,120,000 gift tax exclusion before anticipated 2013 reduction to $1,000,000 by implementing two intentionally defective grantor trusts for the children, four qualified personal residence trust and five intentionally defective grantor trusts for the grandchildren.
Settlement High Net Worth Family thru Advanced Estate Planning — Represented sibling/trustee in disputes with other sibling/trustees in connection with administration of parents' Trusts.  Resolved case before litigation commenced by proposing and fashioning taxable gifts in December of 2012 to utilize parents $5,120,000 gift tax exemption before reduction in exemption to $1,000,000 would have made pre-settlement litigation impossible. 
Estate Planning for High Net Worth Family — Designed estate plan for ultra high net worth family that utilized irrevocable inter vivos QTIP Trust to prevent future entanglement of second spouse with children from prior marriage, and allows grantor to receive benefit of trust if spouse predeceased grantor by virtue of inclusion of QTIP Trust in spouse's estate and creation of bypass equivalent trust for grantor spouse.
In re Conservatorship of Chiang — Represented conservator in financial elder abuse recovery of approximately $9,000,000 from abusers.

Office Location

841 Apollo Street, Suite 450
El Segundo, CA 90245
United States

Practice Areas

Litigation - Trusts and Estates
Trusts and Estates

Other Information

Gender: Male