John W. Ambrecht, JD, MBA, LLM. Senior Partner

Senior partner John W. Ambrecht focuses his practice on integrating sophisticated estate and tax planning with family business succession planning, including developing appropriate transitional structures with an emphasis on conflict resolution among generations and constructing a lasting framework for family business management and ownership succession. His practice also includes sophisticated multi-state domestic trusts and estate planning, national and international asset protection, and tax controversies (IRS).

John W. Ambrecht is also one of the principals and founders of Families & Wealth, LLC, formed to help families and their advisors to create succession, estate and family governance plans in the presence of family issues. See the Families & Wealth, LLC, website for more information.


  • U. S. Court of Federal Claims (1986)
  • U. S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (1978)
  • U. S. Tax Court (1976)
  • California Bar (1974)


  • LLM in Taxation, New York University (1974)
  • MBA, University of California Los Angeles (1968)
  • JD, Loyola University (1973)
  • BA, University of California Los Angeles (1966)


  • Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC)
    • Asset Protection Committee (2006-present)
    • Business Planning Committee (2009-present)
  • Principal, California Trust and Estate Counselors, LLP (CALTEC)
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)
  • Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization
  • Member, California State Bar Taxation Section
    • Executive Committee (1993-1996)
    • Chair, Estate and Gift Tax Committee (1990-1993)
  • Member, California State Bar Trusts and Estate Section
  • Member, Family Firm Institute
  • Member, Attorneys for Family Held Enterprises (AFHE)
  • Association for Psychological Types (APT)
  • Former Chair of the Tax Section of the Santa Barbara County Bar Association


  • Westmont College Foundation, Montecito, CA, Board Member (2000-present)
  • Bishop Diego Garcia High School, Santa Barbara, CA, Board of Trustees (2003-2006)
  • Santa Barbara City College Foundation, Santa Barbara, CA, Board Member (1995-2001)
  • Girl Scouts of America, Santa Barbara, CA, Board Member


  • 8th Consecutive "Super Lawyer" Award, 2013
  • Worth Magazine, one of Top 100 Attorneys, as published in its December/January 2009 issue
  • Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, Family Business Advocate, 2008
  • Certificate of Recognition, California Legislature Assembly, Family Business Award, 2008
  • Pacific Coast Business Times Award for Family Business Advocate: A professional who fosters the growth of family business, 2008
  • Southern California Super Lawyers, named one of Top Attorneys in Southern California (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
  • Carpinteria Education Foundation, Inc., Award for Outstanding Legal Partner


  • "Asset Protection Trusts: An Important Ingredient in the Estate Planning Process" Through the Looking Glass XII Symposium, Ventura County Community Foundation, Friday, November 13, 2015. Held at the Museum of Ventura County, Ventura, CA. Register online.
  • Co-teaching intensive two-day State-certified online course aimed at qualifying more California Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law specialists for certification. Broadcasted live from Los Angeles September 27-28, 2013.
  • Co-presenter of, "The Rules of Professional Conduct: How to Work with the Ethical Rules to Enhance the Family Business Succession Process," California Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), recorded July 2012, available online from CEB.
  • "Multi-Generational Conflicts." 2009 Trusts & Estates Symposium sponsored by the Trusts & Estates Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, January 16, 2009, Los Angeles, CA.
  • "Love & Money: Blending Law and Psychology in Family Business Succession Planning," St. John's Healthcare Foundation, November 7, 2008, Oxnard, CA.
  • "Giving the Next Generation the Business(!): An Advisors' Challenge," Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP LA) Practitioners Series, October 1, 2008, Santa Monica, CA.
  • "A Case History: The ‘Typical’ Family 2003," Estate Planning Council of Ventura County's 11th Annual Interdisciplinary Estate Planning Workshop, September 5, 2008, Oxnard, CA.
  • "Giving the Next Generation the Business(!): A Parents' Dilemma and an Advisors' Challenge," First National Bank, Wealth Management, April 28, 2008, Tucson, AZ.

* See Ambrecht & McDermott, LLP presentations page to review more lectures and presentations. Click here to review presentations by John W. Ambrecht.


* See Ambrecht & McDermott, LLP publications page to review more publications and books. Click here for publications authored by John W. Ambrecht.