James E. Berge

Attorney, Managing Partner


James E. Berge is the founding attorney and managing partner of the Law Offices of Berge & Berge LLP, Trust and Estate Planning Specialists, in San Jose. Mr. Berge is a California State Bar certified specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law. In private practice since 1992 and primarily serving the San Francisco South Bay Area community, he has represented well over 5,000 individual clients in the following matters: simple and advanced tax and estate planning; trust and estate administration, including probate and conservatorship; disability and special needs planning, asset protection planning; property, income, gift and estate taxation; and charitable gift planning. 

Mr. Berge received his B.S.C. (Accounting) magna cum laude in 1981 from Santa Clara University School of Business, his J.D. cum laude in 1986 from Santa Clara University School of Law, and his LL.M. (Taxation) magna cum laude in 1991 from Golden Gate University School of Law.  He is an (inactive) California certified public accountant, and a member of various professional organizations, including the Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Sections of the State Bar of California, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Silicon Valley Bar Association, and WealthCounsel, a national association of over 3500 estate planning attorneys who have come together to provide members with education, and technical and legal support, in an effort to provide their clients with state of the art estate planning documents for a wide range of estate planning strategies. 

He is a proud recipient of the ValueStar Certified Award for very high customer satisfaction and the winner of the 1981 AICPA Elijah Watt Sells Award for Outstanding CPA Exam Performance, and his firm is the proud winner of an award by Expertise.com for Best Probate Lawyers in San Jose for 2021-22.

He lectures frequently on a variety of estate planning topics, has appeared frequently on local radio, and is a contributing author and editor to “Representing the Disabled Person,” and “Special Needs Trusts: Planning, Drafting and Administration,” award-winning publications of California Continuing Education of the Bar. 

A San Jose resident since 1963, he is married and has 2 children (both college graduates).  He enjoys language learning; Wordle, Waffle, and crossword puzzles; his daily walks and exercise; golf, basketball, baseball, football and other spectator sports; travel; and personal finance.

Areas Of Practice

  • Estate Planning 30%
  • Trusts 30%
  • Probate & Estate Administration 20%
  • Elder Law 10%

Certified Legal Specialties

     Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, CA State Bar Board of Legal Specialization, 1996

     Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1986


  • Golden Gate University School of Law, San Francisco, California
    • LL.M. – 1991
    • Major: Taxation
  • Santa Clara University School of Law, Santa Clara, California
    • J.D. – 1986
    • Honors: cum laude
  • Santa Clara University School of Business, Santa Clara, California
    • B.S. – 1982
    • Honors: magna cum laude
    • Major: Accounting

Published Works

  • Special Needs Trusts: Planning, Drafting, and Administration, CEB, June, 2008

Honors and Awards

  • Top Lawyers in California, The Legal Network

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • WealthCounsel, Member, Present


  • English