2890 N. Main Street, Suite 206 • Walnut Creek, CA 94597

Meet the Team

Kirsten Howe, Esq.

Founder and Managing Attorney

For more than 26 years, individuals and families in Walnut Creek, California, and the surrounding areas have trusted Absolute Trust Counsel Managing Attorney Kirsten Howe and her team to help them secure their legacy.

Uniquely qualified to create individualized estate plans, Kirsten and her team provide focused counsel on estate planning, trust administration, probate, Medi-Cal planning, special needs planning, and other estate-related issues.

“I began my law career as a business planning attorney, but soon realized that I was most passionate about estate planning and elder law. I founded Absolute Trust Counsel as a firm dedicated exclusively to providing full-scope, client-centered estate planning services, and I’m very proud of the specialized counsel we’re able to provide to families as they plan for their futures.”

She earned her law degree cum laude from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and a B. S. in Biology from the University of Michigan. While in law school, she was a member of the Thurston Society and managing editor of The Hastings Law Journal.

A noted speaker on estate planning issues, Kirsten is a member of the Trust and Estates Section of The State Bar of California, the Estate Planning and Probate Section, the Elder Law Section, and the Women’s Section of the Contra Costa County Bar Association.

Madison Gunn
Associate Attorney 

Madison has been an esteemed member of the Absolute Trust Counsel team and our associate attorney since 2019. Her extensive and diverse background of legal experience was built off years of working her way up from intern to attorney at law. While Madison worked with various firms in different areas of the law, it was her passion for helping seniors, individuals, and families protect their legacies and prepare for the future that ultimately became her focus for practice as an attorney. Absolute Trust Counsel clients love working with Madison for her commitment to maintaining high levels of communication. She takes great pride in getting to know every person who walks through the door incorporating their goals, concerns, values, and feedback into every service provided.

Madison earned her Juris Doctor degree in 2017 from John F. Kennedy University School of Law. While at John F. Kennedy, she served as a member of the Elder Law Clinic, working to interview clients and help draft related estate planning documents. Before earning her J.D., Madison graduated from California State University, East Bay, in March of 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and a Minor in Criminal Justice Administration.

Madison is currently a member of East Bay Trusts and Estates Lawyers, the East County Senior Coalition, the membership chair for the Tri-Valley Estate Planning Council, and the chair of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Aging in Place Council.

“I love working with clients and finding customized solutions to fit their unique trust and estate needs. We all know it can be a struggle to keep up with the ever-changing estate laws, and there is just so much that people don’t know, so I truly enjoy teaching clients about their options. It’s a thrill helping them navigate the legal system, demystifying their journey, so they fully understand why it’s so important to have a comprehensive plan in place. I’m so thankful for the team at Absolute Trust Counsel. We truly are a family and see our clients that way too. I appreciate the mentorship and guidance that Kirsten and the team provide daily to help me grow, excel, and go outside of my comfort zone.”

Jessica Colbert
Associate Attorney

Jessica has been a member of the Absolute Trust Counsel team since 2015, when she joined as an Administrative Assistant. By day, Jessica was the firm’s responsive and customer-oriented member at the front desk, offering swift solutions for our clients, and by night, she was hustling to obtain her paralegal certificate, and in 2017, she was appointed to Absolute Trust Counsel’s paralegal after earning her certification. While it was a thrill to help clients protect their future in a more official capacity, she knew she wanted to expand her legal education and decided to attend law school, with a focus on trusts and estates.

During her time in law school, Jessica was also a member of the Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors, a collaboration with UCSF that provides legal services to elderly patients who have legal challenges ranging from estate planning and public benefits to housing issues. There, she was able to personally assist older adults with estate planning documents, applications for public benefits and Veterans Affairs benefits, and securing a highly sought-after position in new low-income housing.

Jessica earned her Juris Doctor degree in 2023 from UC Law San Francisco (formerly UC Hastings), graduating magna cum laude. Before earning her J.D., Jessica graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in philosophy.

“I always knew I would return to Absolute Trust Counsel after law school. I greatly admire the team’s dedication to clients and deeply appreciate the collaborative and supportive environment Kirsten and the other team members have cultivated. I am so fortunate to have been a member of the employee family through many phases of my career and education, and I’m so excited for the opportunity to continue serving the firm’s clients in a new capacity as an attorney.”

Sandra Tanhuanpaa

Sandy has more than 14 years of experience working as a paralegal with estate planning law firms.

“I enjoy working at Absolute Trust Counsel because it is a firm with heart and compassion, which is very important for the type of law that we practice.”

She attended UC Santa Barbara and earned her bachelor’s degree from Cal State Hayward.


Denette Grebe
Resource Manager

Every member of the Absolute Trust Counsel team plays a role in making our client’s experience a positive one. As our Resource Manager, Denette makes sure all firm projects and processes run efficiently so that we’re able to deliver the highest levels of service.

Denette also assists our clients as they finalize their estate planning documents, ensuring that all paperwork is completed and filed properly.

“I enjoy working for someone I admire and respect and at a company where we truly work as a team and care about our clients.”

Suzette Ahmed
Administrative Assistant

Suzette joined our team as an Administrative Assistant in late 2021. She has earned her bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Marketing from San Jose State University.  She has worked for several large bay area technology companies and more recently owned her own business. She enjoys assisting clients and giving them a positive experience with the firm.

“I am happy to work for a firm where all employees feel that they’re valued members of the team and have a passion to help clients protect their families.”


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