David B. Shea


With more than 30 years of experience, David is well known for his expertise in complex trust and estate matters.  As a certified specialist in the field and a senior partner at Ferguson Case Orr Paterson LLP, he has handled trials, mediations and appeals involving probate, trust, estate, financial elder abuse and receivership matters.

David represents nationally recognized corporate trustees, private professional trustees, family trustees and charities with respect to compliance and complex litigation. Trust and estate litigation involves, among other things, challenges to the validity of estate planning documents, capacity, undue influence and breach of fiduciary duties of a trustee or executor.

With his strong accounting and management background, David is regularly appointed by the court to serve as a trustee, receiver and special administrator. These appointments include complex audits, reports and recommendations. Audits generally surround financial transactions which occurred before and after death. Although tasked by the court to provide recommendations relating to surcharges, distributions and management of trusts and estates, David prides himself on remaining neutral, transparent, strictly following the terms of the trust and preserving assets.

In his role as a court-appointed receiver, David has sold and managed residential, commercial, and agricultural properties and has overseen the day-to-day operations of construction companies, medical offices, restaurants, gas stations and mobile home parks.

Before joining the firm, David worked for the California State Lottery, served as a specially assigned prosecutor for the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office and as Assistant City Attorney for the Cities of Ojai and Fillmore. He has also presided over more than 1,000 cases involving probate, trusts, guardianships, conservatorships, civil elder abuse and domestic violence as a Judge Pro Tem of the Ventura County Superior Court.

Outside the practice of law, David enjoys the beach, water sports, hiking, road bikes and racing outrigger canoes with Santa Barbara Outrigger Canoe Club.

Published Opinions

  • Breslin v. Breslin (2021) 62 Cal.App.5th 801
  • Kucker v. Kucker (2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 90
  • Araiza v. Younkin (2010) 188 Cal.App.4th 1120
  • Patton v. Sherwood (2007) 152 Cal.App.4th 339
  • Estate of Amelia Daily Huston (1997) 51 Cal.App.4th 1721
  • United States v. Jose Lopez-Flores (9th Cir. 1995) 63 F.3d 1468
  • In re Dirk S. (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 1037

Practice Groups

Bar and Professional

  • Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, California Board of Legal Specialization
  • AV Preeminent, Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating
  • Southern California Super Lawyers, 2021-2023
  • Ventura County Bar Association, Estate Planning Probate Section, (Past Chair)
  •  Santa Barbara County Bar Association- Estate Planning & Probate Section
  • California Receivers Forum- LA/OC Chapter


  • Ventura College of Law, J.D.


  • Rotary Club of Santa Barbara
  • Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Foundation (Board Member)
  • United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County (Board Member)
  • California State University, Channel Islands Planned Giving Advisory Council (Past Board Member)


  • At the Receiving End – Receiverships – Santa Barbara Lawyer
  • Gifts Can Cause Unexpected Tax Problems – Ventura County Star
  • Estate Administration and the “Mailbox Rule” – An Evidentiary Presumption – Ventura County Bar Association – Citations

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