Ralph E. Hughes is a Shareholder focusing in Probate and Trust Litigation, Will Contests and Estate Planning.

Ralph Hughes specializes in probate litigation which includes disputes concerning wills, trusts, conservatorships for adults, and guardianships for minors. 

Ralph is regarded as a formidable adversary and trusted advisor who tailors his litigation strategy to the specific circumstances of each probate litigation case.

It is not unusual for the stress caused by death, incapacity, and the transfer of wealth to cause disputes among family.  The legislature and the courts have developed specialized rules for dealing with these disputes, which often involve the need for protection of an incapacitated individual or protection of a fund of money or property.  Hence the need for specialization. 

Ralph has been certified by the State Bar of California as a certified specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law for over twenty years, and has served as Chair of the State Bar Committee that certifies specialists in the field.

Ralph assists clients on all sides of disputes in probate litigation, serves as a mediator for parties seeking to resolve their differences, and serves as an expert witness.

“The challenge of working with people through property and emotional issues reaches back to the beginnings of humanity. People have a sense of what is ‘theirs’ and it can last for generations. We help families through litigation when relationships break down. It has everything to do with people and using the law to find resolution and restore families.”


  • Joined firm in 1981
  • California Bar – member since 1976
  • University of Denver
  • University of California at Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law
  • Certified Specialist Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Adjunct Professor of Estate Planning, California Western School of Law (1989 – 2005)
  • San Diego County Bar Association Trust and Estate Section, Chair (2009 – 2010)
  • San Diego Bench Bar Committee (2011)
  • State Bar Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Advisory Commission (1995-1999), Chair (1999)

Honors & Recognition

  • Southern California’s Best Lawyers – Los Angeles Times
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • Super Lawyers – San Diego
  • Top Lawyers in San Diego
  • San Diego’s Best Lawyers
  • Top Rated Lawyer in Trusts and Estates

Representative Cases