Melissa Raneri Karlsten

Melissa Raneri Karlsten

Adjunct Professor

Part-Time Faculty


Melissa R. Karlsten is a shareholder of Aaron, Riechert, Carpol & Riffle, and has been practicing in the area of Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law since 2002. The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization has certified Ms. Karlsten as a specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law. She has also trained as a mediator.

Ms. Karlsten is a native of the Bay Area. She attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco. After high school, she earned a B.A. in English Literature from Santa Clara University where she graduated Cum Laude in 1997. After teaching second grade at a San Jose grammar school, she went on to earn her J.D. at the University of San Francisco School of Law in 2002, where she also graduated Cum Laude. At U.S.F., Ms. Karlsten was a member of the McAuliffe Honor Society and served as the technical editor for the USF Law Review. In 1999, she received the CALI award for Legal Research and Writing.

Ms. Karlsten is admitted to practice in the State of California. She is a member of the San Mateo County Bar Association, is currently on the Board of Directors, and served as President of the San Mateo County Barristers Association in 2007. Ms. Karlsten is the former Chair of the San Mateo County Women Lawyers Section. Ms. Karlsten serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the California Lawyers Association (formerly of the State Bar of California).


  • University of San Francisco School of Law, JD, 2002
  • Santa Clara University, BA in English, 1997

Selected Publications

  • "Advanced Planning - A Decade in Review: What Have We Learned Over the Last Decade and Where Are We Headed?,” CA Trust and Estates Quarterly (2021).
  • “Incapacity Issues in Family Law and Probate Proceedings,” Crossover Issues in Estate Planning and Family Law, CEB (2011).
  • “When Death and Divorce Collide,” CA Trusts and Estates Quarterly (2005).