Attorney Profile

Born: Whittier, California, August 7, 1957
Admitted:
1983, California Bar

Law School:

Loyola University of Los Angeles, J.D., 1982;
New York University School of Law, LL.M. in Taxation, 1984

College:
University of Southern California, B.S., 1979 (Business - Finance)

Member:

Los Angeles County and California Bar Associations:
Estate Planning / Trust-Estates Sections
California Bar - 12/14/1983

Other:

Panel Member - LA County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service (LRIS)
Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce
Handel on the Law Attorney Listing - 7+ years
(Bill Handel's attorney listing)
Tennis - Singles & Doubles

I started my practice in the estate planning/tax department of a very large national firm that had a very strong estate planning/estate-trust practice, Finley Kumble. Et al., not knowing the specific area that I would like to specialize in.

I quickly developed a preference for estate planning, and probate/trust work.   

My first case was handling the “probate” and “guardianship” - arising from the death of an associate Firm attorney who had 2 young children.  The attorney, who did not practice estate planning, had a holographic Will (handwritten), which named her close and reliable friend as the Trustee of Testamentary Trusts established in her Will for the young children.  So far, so good (although a revocable living trust would have been preferable to save the children the legal cost of the lengthy probate that was required).  The very unfortunate part was that the associate did not name the reliable friend as the Trustee of the substantial life insurance policies that she had taken out for the children to address their higher education.  Therefore, all life insurance was paid to her sister, who “wasted” the children’s™ monies pursuing unpaid child support (through another law firm!) against the associate’s prominent ex (there was no recovery), which was not what the associate wanted. With this initial case I realized how important estate planning and the estate planning law profession is for protecting clients funds, assuring that their objectives (in this case, children’s’™ education) are preserved, and minimizing costs (in this case, not achieved without a Trust).  The passion of my practice has been educating clients on the importance of estate planning and the differences in different plans (Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorneys, Joint Tenancy et al.).

Over my years of practice at Finley Kumble, I was fortunate to have assisted hundreds of individuals with their estate planning needs, including a popular President, entertainment executives/celebrities, and business people, and was assigned to many of the probate/trust matters.

Subsequently I worked for a number of years at a prominent entertainment law firm, and assisted its clients with their estate planning needs - rock stars, celebrities, and business executives.

I started my private practice 20 years ago with the objective of educating clients on the importance of the estate planning options*, and making the process “seamless” and easy to address so that the matter is not “deferred” for 10-20 years!  I am thrilled to hear clients describe how pleased that they are, and how easy it was for them, after “giving up” following dealing with another office that they had difficulty with/getting a return call from.  All of us/my clients are very busy with their jobs - and I strive to make the estate planning process that much easier by personally working directly with clients (not a secretary), and speaking with clients by phone/email during evenings/weekends when more convenient with their lives and work schedules, and similarly meeting at convenient times/locations. The highest compliment to an attorney of his work is being referred a client’s friends and work associates, and I am very appreciative that referred clients are a substantial percentage of my practice.

I am looking forward to assisting you with your estate planning and trust/estate needs.

*Cost savings, avoiding the need of court proceedings in the event of illness or death, providing assurances that client’s properties will actually be given to their desired beneficiaries as they want, and at the time they want - not a very young age. The absolute worst-case scenario generally happens when clients don’t do anything, typically saying that “they will get to it in the next year or so”.  Estate planning is very similar to the need to acquire term life insurance if you have young children/spouse with mortgage - hopefully you do not need it (a loss of your premiums is the best result!), however, you could get sick and people do die - and you want it in place for that event (yes - many individuals call me after a parent/relative has an accident - even in a coma - and does not have “capacity” to sign anything - and ask me if I can prepare a Trust or Power of Attorney - unfortunately that is generally too late - answer is no!, sorry, please have them call me when they hopefully recover!).
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