Photo of James P. Cilley

James P. Cilley is certified as a Specialist in trust and estate litigation, fiduciary disputes, and elder abuse actions by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. He is also AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® for his legal ability and high ethical standards in the areas of trusts and estates, wills and probate, and law related to the aged and aging.

As the senior litigation partner at Temmerman, Cilley & Kohlmann, LLP, Mr. Cilley’s practice involves will and trust contests, elder abuse, fiduciary accounting, fiduciary removal and surcharge, breach of fiduciary duty, constructive and resulting trusts, interpretation of testamentary instruments, creditor’s claims, conservatorships, and related appeals. Mr. Cilley handles every stage of litigation, including pre-lawsuit negotiation, discovery, law and motion, settlement negotiations, mediation, trial, and appeals. He has more than 22 years of experience serving as lead attorney in many of Northern California’s largest probate and trust cases. Mr. Cilley has substantial trial experience in contested probate cases before a wide variety of California trial and appellate courts. He has participated in all forms of alternative dispute resolution.

In addition to his exceptional legal services, Mr. Cilley serves as an expert witness on a wide range of legal issues supported by current and relevant case law, statutes, and secondary resources.

Mr. Cilley is admitted to practice law in all superior courts of California, all appellate courts of California, the Supreme Court of California, all federal district courts in California, and the Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. To learn more about Mr. Cilley’s experience, please see his complete CV.

Contact a San Jose certified estate planning and litigation specialist

Certified specialist James P. Cilley offers preeminent services in all areas of estate planning and administration, elder law, fiduciary law, incapacity planning and related litigation, mediation, and appeals. To learn more about Mr. Cilley’s legal expertise and services, contact our San Jose office by calling 408-998-9500, our Danville office by calling 408-998-9500 or contact us online.



  • United States Federal Court, Northern District of California, 1993


  • 1998-Present: Associated with Mr. Temmerman and Mr. Kohlmann. Mr. Cilley is certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in the field of Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law. Mr. Cilley has been Peer Review rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale Hubbell
  • 1996-1998: Associate with the law firm of Temmerman & Desmarais, LLP, San Jose, practicing in the area of trust and estate litigation
  • 1994-1996: Associate with the law firm of Lakin Spears, LLP, Palo Alto in the areas of trust and estate litigation

Professional Organizations and Memberships

  • Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization
  • Member, Santa Clara County Estate Planning Council
  • Member, California Lawyers Association, Trusts and Estates Section
  • Member, Santa Clara County Bar Association, Estate Planning, Probate and Trusts
  • Member, Silicon Valley Bar Association
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Santa Clara County Bar Association, 1997

Recent Publications and Presentations

  • Speaker, “He’s in Love With Her! A Mock Trial,” Silicon Valley Bar Association (2012)
  • Author, Chapter 7: “Asserting or Defending Claim Regarding Ownership of Trust Property,” Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Trust Litigation (2011)
  • Speaker, “Practical Asset Management in Today’s Economy” (CEB) (2010)
  • Speaker, “Practical Problems in Probate” (CEB) (2009)
  • Speaker, “Recent Developments,” Fremont Estate Planning Council (2007)
  • Speaker, “Estate Planning and Administration: 22nd Annual Recent Developments” (CEB) (2007)
  • Speaker, “Changing Our Plans in 2007,” Silicon Valley Bar Association (2006)
  • Speaker, “Recent Developments,” Professional Fiduciary Association of California (PFAC) 11th Annual Educational Conference (2006)
  • Author, “When is a Lis Pendens a Viable Provisional Remedy in Probate Cases,” The Scrivener, Silicon Valley Bar Association, 4th Quarter 2005
  • Speaker, “Trustee and Fiduciary Standards of Care and Liability Issues,” Professional Fiduciary Association of California (PFAC) Annual Conference (2005)
  • Speaker, “Elder Abuse: The Domestic Violence and Financial Embezzlement Problem of the 21st Century,” State Bar of California, San Francisco and Santa Clara County Estate Planning Council (2003)
  • Speaker, “Trustee Standard of Care” & “Trustee Reporting Duties,” Professional Fiduciary Association of California (PFAC) Annual Conference (2002)
  • Speaker, co-presented “Probate Code § 21320 – Care Custodian Beneficiaries,” Santa Clara County Bar Association, Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Section (2000)
  • Speaker, co-presented “The Finality of Judgments, Are They Really Final?” & “Statute of Limitations on Claims Based upon the Liability of Deceased Settlors,” Northern Trust Companies Association Seventh Annual Education Program (1998)
  • Speaker, “Anatomy of a Trial,” Santa Clara County Bar Association & Contra Costa County Bar Association Estate Planning and Trust Sections, Northern Trust Bank Trust Forum (1997)