Lifetime Estate Planning

The firm provides a full range of lifetime estate planning services based on the goals and objectives of each client. The client’s goals and specific questions are the subject of one or more careful conferences between the client and our firm’s San Francisco attorneys. A client’s goals are revisited, as necessary, when changes occur in a client’s circumstances or when there are changes in the applicable estate tax laws.

Depending upon the particular circumstances of each client and based on the client’s goals, we develop an appropriate checklist of items to evaluate and upon which to base interim and final recommendations. In addition to specific items that the client has identified for inquiry, items on such a checklist might include such issues as:

Tax & Tax Basis Strategies. The availability of the income tax cost basis step-up at death is considered, including advice regarding transmutation of community property (to or from separate property).

Real Estate Ownership Structures. There are a variety of tax advantaged real estate ownership structures which fit well with certain estate plans and that will achieve the goals of clients who desire to transfer ownership without giving up control of the present income or management of property.

Estimates of GST Estate Tax. If it appears that the estate may incur estate or generation skipping transfer taxes, an analysis of the financial situation of the client is prepared to provide estimates of potential taxes under different scenarios.

Gifts and Disclaimers. As part of the final estate plan we make recommendations to reduce or limit estate and generation skipping transfer taxes, including advice regarding the use of disclaimers and lifetime gifts where appropriate.

Gift Tax Exclusions & Minority Discounts. The gift tax impact of any proposed lifetime transfers is considered, including the availability of valuation discounts for minority interests and reassessment of real property transfers for property tax purposes.

Business Transition Plans. Business transition issues are included in the analysis and we work closely with clients to develop recommendations for the transition – or not - of control of closely held businesses or family partnerships.

Taxes on Foreign Nationals. Firm attorneys have ongoing experience with the unique tax penalties and corresponding estate planning strategies applicable to citizens of foreign countries who may have assets in the United States. We regularly advise foreign nationals on estate taxation planning, including the effect of estate and gift taxation treaties.