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PRIMARY PRACTICE AREAS


Estate
Planning

Developing an Estate Plan customized to your needs and family dynamics is important. Our Living Trust attorneys’ personalized approach to estate planning protects your assets for generations to come.

CALIFORNIA ESTATE PLANNING

Trust
Administration

Carrying out the wishes and asset allocation within a Living Trust upon death is complex and emotional. Our knowledgeable and caring Living Trust attorneys will navigate this process with you. We also handle full probate representation, if needed.

TRUST ADMINISTRATION

Advanced
Tax Planning

We offer a savvy tax planning service for high net-worth families, designed to preserve wealth now and for generations to come. Our legal experts build tax protection structures using specialty Trusts, LLCs, PRPs, FLPs, and other sophisticated tools.

ADVANCED TAX PLANNING

CALIFORNIA LIVING TRUST ATTORNEYS

At CunninghamLegal, we guide savvy, caring families in the protection and transfer of multi-generational wealth.

Our team of California Living Trust attorneys takes a highly personal approach to Estate Planning. We devote time and effort to fully understanding your assets, your personal goals, and the concerns you have for passing assets on to your loved ones; then we design a customized plan just for you. In our extensive practice we also provide trust administration, probate representation, tax planning, asset protection strategies, and much more.

CunninghamLegal maintains 12 offices throughout Northern and Southern California, with superb estate planning attorneys located in Auburn, Folsom, Napa, Oakland, Roseville, Sacramento, San Ramon, Santa Rosa, Huntington Beach, Pasadena, Westlake Village, and Woodland Hills. Our legal services are also available over phone and videoconference.

Please contact us to learn more about how we can protect you and your loved ones.

James L. Cunningham, Jr
Founding Partner, CEO, Lead Attorney

Rachelle Lee-Warner
Partner & Managing Attorney, Trust Administration

Conner Clemons
Managing Attorney, Estate Planning, Southern California

Janice Lee Shen
Attorney at Law

Lisa Celler

Lisa Celler Mann
Attorney at Law

Cathyana Jean-Baptiste
Attorney at Law

Daniel G. Van Slyke
Attorney at Law

Winston Duggan
Attorney at Law

Julie Westerling
Attorney at Law

Howard Neal
Attorney, of Counsel

Bruce Ketron
Attorney, of Counsel

Reed K. Scott
Attorney, of Counsel

GET SAVVY! FREE LEGAL WEBINARS & VIDEOS

CunninghamLegal invites you to attend our free, live legal webinars, where we present vital topics in Estate Planning, Finance, Tax Planning, Long-Term Care, Trust Administration, and more. Always, you can ask your own questions and get quick answers from our attorneys and prestigious guest speakers. We also create a wide variety of short informational videos. Please consider subscribing for updates.

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READ OUR BESTSELLING BOOK


What you need to know before you talk to the right lawyer

In this no-nonsense guide, Living Trust attorney James L. Cunningham, Jr. shows how to avoid the top ten mistakes that could damage your financial succession, family, heirs, and legacy.

Savvy Estate Planning provides the essentials you need to know about estate planning. The only mistake you could make now would be to ignore it.

Read more

How to Choose the Best California Living Trust Attorney


You Need a California Estate Planning Specialist Firm with Longevity to Protect Your Legacy for Your Loved Ones  

How should you go about choosing the best estate lawyer to craft your Living Trust?

For starters, you need an attorney with specific expertise in California estate planning law. Lots of lawyers do estate plans on the side, and any lawyer can list themselves as “Estate Attorney, California.” But in this rapidly-changing field, part-time just doesn’t work. The laws and tax strategies evolve too quickly, and mistakes can be catastrophic, decades down the line.

For example, the stunning changes brought by California Prop 19 made it far too easy to lose your family home tax caps under Prop 13. In your estate plans, you can accidentally  undercut the SSI benefits of a loved one, or fail to properly leverage retirement accounts in your Estate Plan.

Click here to continue reading

Here at CunninghamLegal, the Living Trust Lawyers, we do nothing but living trust and estate work. We don’t just craft plans for our clients; we keep our knowledge and their documents relentlessly up-to-date.

You Need an Estate Law Firm with Longevity and Backup

Estate Planning is not a one-off event. It’s a long-term proposition and a long-term relationship. You need your trust reviewed on a regular basis as your family, your assets, and your needs change. When an archival copy of your Living Trust-centered Estate Plan must be found years from now, your family needs a firm that still exists and continues that responsibility.

It’s extremely common for the best-intentioned people to create enormous tax headaches for their heirs.

Importantly, your attorney should not go it alone. They need feedback and review from expert colleagues, and they need efficient staff support. Solo attorneys and many small firms just can’t provide those resources or the long-term stability—and sometimes create chaos when they retire or shut their doors.

You Need Significant California Estate Tax and Financial Planning Expertise

It’s extremely common for the best-intentioned people to create enormous tax headaches for their heirs. This is especially true for wealthy heirs, who have to engage in a careful balancing act with the IRS.

We find it shocking that many estate attorneys cannot explain how to plan things like complex IRA inheritances, or know how to move certain trusts out of high-tax California to places with zero state income taxes.

California’s arcane tax system creates special complexities and challenges, including not just California Proposition 13, but follow-up California Propositions 8, 58, 60, 90, 193, 218, and 19—all of which impacted how you can pass on property tax caps.

We find it shocking that many estate attorneys cannot explain how to plan things like complex IRA inheritances.

You deserve an estate lawyer with a deep understanding of these complex tax strategies, contemporary financial vehicles, and your options around everything from Roth IRAs to life insurance. The difference can double or triple the portion of your legacy your loved ones actually get to keep—and you will not find the right knowledge simply by searching “Estate Attorney near me.”

At CunninghamLegal, we pride ourselves on our tax expertise, and we retain staff attorneys with specialized degrees in tax law to consult on difficult issues. Importantly, we always make a point of working closely with your CPA and Financial Advisor.

Special Estate Circumstances Require Special Approaches

If you have a special needs child or grandchild, a disabled dependent, an angry ex-spouse, a blended family, an estranged family—or any of the countless unique life challenges we are familiar with—you definitely need more than a “regular” attorney.

You need a savvy trust lawyer who can make sure a special needs or disabled dependent gets properly timed disbursements and holds on to their public benefits. You need an estate attorney who can help plan for an irresponsible, even drug-addicted heir. An estate attorney who can create a specialized Asset Protection Trust to guard against bankruptcy, divorce, or frivolous lawsuits.

You Need a Firm that Does Trust Administration and Probate

Chances are, the person you choose as the Trustee of your estate and Executor of your Will won’t know much about their new job. They likely won’t know the laws, the deadlines, the forms, the pitfalls—or the very real personal liabilities that come with a Trusteeship.

To draft a good Living Trust and help you fund it correctly, you need a firm that regularly handles incapacity issues, after-death administration, probate issues, and the emotional roller-coasters that beset siblings, extended families, and spouses.

It’s far too easy to lose your Prop 13 tax cap when you pass on your house (especially with Prop 19), undercut the SSI benefits of a loved one, or fail to properly leverage retirement accounts in your Estate Plan.

Only such a firm can anticipate problems and get the original language right. If you become incapacitated, or when you pass, your loved ones deserve a firm that’s ready to lend proactive legal and administrative support to an overwhelmed family.

Remember that Reasonable Estate Planning Costs Can Save Fortunes

You already know you need a Living Trust to save your loved ones from the enormous hassles, outrageous expenses, endless delays, and strife of probate court.

A Living Trust can return your loved ones at least ten times the later expense of probate. But it has to be done right.

Cut-and-paste Trusts, automated Trusts, and “discount Trusts” can create disasters, and often send loved ones to probate anyway. Why? Because a knowledgeable attorney has not taken the time to discover all the issues which uniquely face their clients and their loved ones, then guided them through the process, resolved the questions, and created the best possible strategy for the future.

Learn More about Estate Planning

We invite you to explore the many educational resources available on our website, and we especially invite you to attend one of our informative online webinars—where you can ask your own questions of expert attorneys.

Our founder, Jim Cunningham, has also written a best-selling book: Savvy Estate Planning: What You Need to Know Before You Talk to the Right Lawyer. In this short but vital volume, Jim lays out the ten most common mistakes that could damage your financial succession, family, heirs and legacy.

Contact Us for an Estate Attorney Near You

Here at CunninghamLegal, we maintain offices throughout California with easily the best California estate attorneys around. It’s our job to know the complexities of the law and provide the depth of experience to make estate planning simple and painless—but effective—for both you and loved ones.

At CunninghamLegal, we care, we listen, and we work with compassion. Our services are provided at a reasonable price, because we believe that great estate planning should be available to everyone.

Click here to request a consultation with a lawyer,  call us today at +1 866.988.3956, or see our list of Estate Planning offices  throughout California.

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