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Melissa Raneri Karlsten

Shareholder, Attorney


Redwood City Office

333 Twin Dolphin Drive, Suite 350
Redwood City, CA 94065
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Phone: (650) 368-4662, Ext. 106
Fax: (650) 367-8531
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Practice Areas
  • Estate Planning
  • Trust and Probate Law
  • Trust and Estate Litigation
  • Conservatorships
  • Guardianships
  • Family Law
  • Mediation

Melissa Raneri Karlsten is a shareholder of Aaron, Riechert, Carpol & Riffle, and has been practicing in the area of Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law since 2002. The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization has certified Ms. Karlsten as a specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law. She has also trained as a mediator.

Ms. Karlsten is a native of the Bay Area. She attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco. After high school, she earned a B.A. in English Literature from Santa Clara University where she graduated Cum Laude in 1997. After teaching second grade at a San Jose grammar school, she went on to earn her J.D. at the University of San Francisco School of Law in 2002, where she also graduated Cum Laude. At U.S.F., Ms. Karlsten was a member of the McAuliffe Honor Society and served as the technical editor for the Law Review.

Ms. Karlsten is admitted to practice in the State of California. She is a member of the San Mateo County Bar Association and a former member of the Board of Directors. Ms. Karlsten serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section (TEXCOM) of the California Lawyers Association (formerly of the State Bar of California). Ms. Karlsten also serves as Independent Counsel in San Mateo County and Santa Clara County in conservatorship and limited conservatorship matters, and as a Guardian ad Litem in trusts and estates matters.

  • Selected as one of the Top Attorneys Rising Stars in Northern California by San Francisco Magazine, 2012 – 2015.
  • Selected as a Super Lawyer by San Francisco Magazine, 2016-2023.
  • Completed 40-hour training program in mediation
Publications and Presentations
  • Co-Author, When Death and Divorce Collide (Trust and Estate Quarterly, Spring 2005)
  • Co-Presenter, It Wasn’t Me . . . What Is a Fiduciary to Do When Faced with Litigation? (PFAC Conference, Fall 2009)
  • Co-Presenter, Ethical Issues in Elder Law Litigation (San Mateo County Bar Association, January 2010)
  • Co-Author, Incapacity Issues in Family Law and Probate Proceedings(Crossover Issues in Estate Planning and Family Law, CEB, 2011)
  • Co-Presenter, When Incapacity and Divorce Collide (San Mateo County Bar Association, November 2010; East Bay Trusts & Estate Lawyers, November 2011; Silicon Valley Bar Association, February 2012)
  • Co-Presenter, Practical Ethics and the Business of Being a Fiduciary (San Mateo County Chapter PFAC, November 2012)
  • Co-Presenter, The Ethics of Independent Counsel – Whose Side Are You On, Anyway? (San Mateo County Bar Association Funky Credit Day, January 2013)
  • Co-Presenter, Choose Your Own Adventure: “This Isn’t the Trip I Signed Up For!” (PFAC Conference, April 2013)
  • Co-Presenter, Unlawful Detainers (PFAC Conference, April 2013)
  • Co-Presenter, Elder Abuse Restraining Orders: When, How, and Why You Need Them (PFAC Conference, April 2013)
  • Co-Presenter, Litigating in Probate Court Versus Civil Court: Factors to Consider (LAS 11th Annual Conference on Elder Abuse, 2016)
  • Co-Presenter, Key Developments in Estate Planning (CEB, 2019)
  • Co-Presenter, Key Developments in Estate Planning (CEB, 2021)
  • Co-Presenter, Financial Elder Abuse & Ethical Issues for the Estate Planner – A Litigation Prevention Primer (San Mateo County Bar Association Funky Credit Day, January 2021)
  • Co-Author, Advanced Planning – A Decade in Review: What Have We Learned Over the Past Decade and Where Are We Headed? (Trusts & Estate Quarterly, Volume 27, Issue 1, 2021)
  • Co-Presenter, Key Developments in Estate Planning (CEB, 2022)
Podcast Appearances
  • Scamming Is the Name of the Game, A Discussion of Scams and Elder Abuse — Listen now
  • Estate Planning: Where Were We, Where Are We, Where We Might Be Going — Listen now

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