Meet the Team
Kirsten Howe, Esq.
Founder and Managing Partner
For more than 20 years, individuals and families in Walnut Creek, California and the surrounding areas have trusted Absolute Trust Counsel Managing Partner 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 California State Bar, and the Estate Planning and Probate, Elder Law, and the Women’s Sections of the Contra Costa County Bar. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Estate Planning Council Diablo Valley and is a member of the Robert G. McGrath Chapter of American Inns of Court.
In late 2019 we welcomed Madison to the team as our associate attorney. 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. 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 brings an extensive background of legal experience working her way up from intern, legal assistant, calendar clerk, accounts receivable, law clerk, and attorney at law. While Madison worked with firms in different areas of the law, it was her passion for helping seniors, individuals, and their families protect and prepare for their futures that ultimately became her focus for practice as an attorney.
“I love working with clients and finding customized solutions to fit their unique estate planning needs. I enjoy teaching clients about the options they have, helping them navigate the legal system demystifying their journey, so they have a full understanding of the need to have a plan in place.
I’m so thankful for the team at Absolute Trust Counsel, they have welcomed me aboard with open arms. I appreciate the mentorship and guidance that Kirsten, Ivy, and the team have provided me to help me grow while encouraging me to excel and go outside of my comfort zone.”
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.
Absolute Trust Counsel is committed to providing the community of Walnut Creek with tools that make it easy to understand estate planning and make the process pleasant, convenient and efficient. As part of that effort, Ivy takes the lead in coordinating our community seminars and other education programs.
“Working at ATC is not only professionally satisfying but also personally satisfying. By providing a service to our clients in a warm, comfortable environment, and being able to help them work through some difficult decisions is very rewarding for me. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel inspired by what I do.”
Ivy earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado.
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.”
Jessica joined us in December 2015 as our administrative assistant. She was a recent graduate (summa cum laude) from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a B.A. in History and a minor in Political Science. While attending classes during her senior year there, she worked at a local law firm and realized that she wanted to pursue a career as a paralegal.
While working for us as our admin, she attended classes at night to earn her paralegal certificate. In June 2016, with certificate in hand, we were pleased to offer her the opportunity for which she had been working so hard.
“I feel very lucky to work with a team where everyone’s ideas are heard and valued. We are constantly collaborating to improve our processes to create a better experience for our clients.”
We have a new team member we’d like you to meet, Emily Gisler. Emily recently graduated Cum Laude from St. Mary’s College in Moraga with a BS in Psychology and a second major in Women and Gender Studies. When she wasn’t studying, she volunteered at the Women’s Resource Center and still managed to graduate in 3.5 years! That’s quite an accomplishment.
Her role as Administrative Assistant at Absolute Trust Counsel allows her to wear many hats, from handling the busy phones, managing our calendar, acting as a point of contact for our clients, providing clerical support to the entire office, and more! She does a great job of keeping us all organized and efficient.
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