Meet the Staff

Kristina R. Hess, J.D., M.A.

Estate Planning Attorney, Mediator, and Legacy Building Coach

Kristina’s passion is to embody an everlasting trust with each of  her valuable clients. Her mission is to change the course of history in your family by guiding you to establish legal and inspirational legacies in order to pass them on to your future generations.  Her objective, as your family attorney is to listen, to understand, and to protect you regarding legal, financial, plus business decisions throughout your life with her most compelling goal – to empower your loved ones when you cannot. Her vision is to be your guiding angel and is the bedrock foundation for KR Hess Law.

At her core, she is a strategic, yet creative thinker that comprehends the legal issues facing you as they relate to your individual life situation. Combine that with her analytical skills, and Kristina will efficiently equip you with the legal instruments to protect your hard earned wealth and, were something ever to happen, ensure that all you have earned throughout your life, stays within your family structure.

Prior to establishing her own firm in 2009, Kristina has a proven track record with over 16 years of legal experience, highlighted with San Francisco’s prestigious law firms, Shearman & Sterling and Pillsbury Winthrop. Her extensive “best practice” experience has been focused in a wide variety of complementary practice areas to include Estate Planning, Living Trusts, Family Owned Business, Litigation, Mediation and Conflict Resolution. Added to this, she is a co-author of Amazon’s best seller book, More Than Money – How to Leave a Lasting Legacy to Your Family. Kristina is also the Co-founder with Erik Frederickson, of the Legacy Building Success System™ – a comprehensive coaching program to empower families to build powerful, enduring legacies.

She is a graduate from Berkeley Law School. Following that, Kristina was trained at Pepperdine’s Straus Institute and at Harvard University in conflict resolution and has worked as a court appointed mediator to resolve litigation, family business, real estate, and trust/estate disputes.

Growing up in San Diego County, she has a full life with her three boys where they enjoy playing soccer, running, skiing, practicing yoga and, of course, going to the beautiful beach. She has served as an Advisory Board member for the Boys & Girls Club Montessori School, coached youth soccer as well as raised funds for her local church.


UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law (Berkeley Law), JD 1999

University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, M.A. 1996,with distinction

University of California Santa Barbara, B.A. 1993

Call us today at (858) 461-6844 or email us to schedule a consultation.

Elizabeth Herring

Client Services Director

As the Client Services Director, Elizabeth connects with clients from the first phone call to the delivery of their important Estate Planning Portfolios. Elizabeth has 15 years of administration experience working in three different countries. Her knack for organization and attention to detail assists Kristina in assuring every client that their estate is being handled with care. Originally from Vancouver Island, Canada, Elizabeth enjoys living in sunny San Diego with her husband and baby boy.

Bari Vallas

Funding Coordinator

As a former practicing litigation attorney, with over 20 years of experience, Bari Vallas, now focuses exclusively on being the “go to” Funding Coordinator for a handful of Estate Planning Attorneys. Bari has over a decade of experience in Trust Funding, making sure that the critical step of Trust Funding is accomplished with detail and accuracy. Trust Funding is the critical step of changing ownership of assets that can be owned by your Trust (such as real estate, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and business interests) and updating your beneficiary designations for life insurance and retirement, so your plan will work exactly how you intend it to when the time comes. Whether KR Hess Law, PC clients choose to fund their Trusts and Estate Plan themselves, or invest in a Premium Funded Plan, where we handle the trust funding for you, our clients can rest assured that with Bari’s help they have all the expert guidance and instruction they need to make sure this critical step is accomplished with detailed accuracy.

Lori Mercer

Probate Paralegal

Since 1988, Lori has been serving diligently as a California Probate Paralegal. Lori has handled hundreds of probate cases in California Probate Courts throughout all of Southern California. In 2013, Lori registered with Riverside County as a Legal Document Preparer. Lori assists KR Hess Law, PC with all of its probate cases, utilizing her years of experience to efficiently managing probate cases with excellence and ease. We are very fortunate to have her on team in the California Probate Courts!

Lee Trahan,

Document Production

Lee Buthod Trahan, originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, studied Criminal Justice at the University of Tulsa and Law at the University of Virginia.  She retired from practicing real estate and business litigation law to raise her three boys.  She has been working with us as a Notary since 2011, and helps with drafting estate planning documents.


Elizabeth Herring
California Notary Public

Lee Buthod Trahan
California Notary Public

Halecia Wasserman
California Notary Public
Halecia also assists Kristina with document production.

Lee Polzin

Web Development and Graphic Design

Lee Polzin, like Bari Vallas, has been with KR Hess Law, PC since the very beginning. Lee is a web designer, graphic designer and the owner of Luminary Graphics. Lee designed and maintains our website, customizes all of KR Hess Law’s marketing materials and email newsletters, edits the educational You Tube Videos, and creates client Trust Charts.