Julie A. Westerling
Estate Attorney at CunninghamLegal
A strong sense of empathy and a deep desire to keep families out of the legal tangle of probate drive civic-minded Estate Planning Attorney Julie Westerling. She knows that a well-written Estate Plan will avoid probate court, and she knows that a good lawyer must have exceptional writing skills to ensure clarity and precision.
“To capture, in writing, a person’s simple intention to provide for their family is a gift that everyone can enjoy for many generations.”
After graduating the University of California at Davis with a degree in English Literature, Julie put her writing skills to work in the legal field at a Bay Area law firm focused on litigation. While working in a variety of law practices for over ten years, Julie found it especially fulfilling to assist families who did not have access to legal services. In the evenings, she attended classes at Golden Gate School of Law in downtown San Francisco, where she dedicated time to providing access to economically-challenged families. While serving this wide range of clients, she found a clear mission: “Communicate difficult legal language in a simplified way.”
The Honorable John H. Sugiyama accepted Julie into his probate court as a probate court clerk, where she wrote legal opinions and presented her writing to the judge on cases argued before the bench. With inside knowledge of how a judge weighs legal writing, she learned how to fine-tune Estate Plans so families can avoid a stressful and expensive probate process altogether. In her last year of law school, Julie drafted many Estate Plans for attorneys who took pride in never having to go into the courtroom over a dispute with their carefully-constructed documents.
Helping Families of All Kinds
In 2019, Julie was sworn in as a licensed attorney by Judge Sugiyama and began practicing in the San Ramon area, where her clients included young families, unmarried couples purchasing real estate, blended families with stepchildren or adopted children, and families establishing charitable trusts to control their taxes while helping make the world a better place. Along the way, she found herself educating her own extended family on the importance of having a vision for their loved ones beyond their own lifetimes.
In addition to Estate Planning, Julie has extensive experience in Trust Administration on behalf of successor Trustees after a loved one passes away. Indeed, in one case, she handled Trust Administration for an Estate Plan she wrote herself. Because the plan was well written, the grieving family was able to receive their inheritance smoothly and stay out of court.
As one family member told her: “I don’t know how a Trustee could handle this emotional turmoil without an attorney. I could not have dealt with both the grief and legal process by myself.”
Julie is currently studying for a Masters of Law in Estate Planning through Golden Gate School of Law, striving to stay on top of the ever-changing probate and tax laws that affect the distribution of wealth after someone passes away.
Born in the Central Valley, Traveled Far And Wide
Born and raised in California’s Central Valley, Julie hails from a family of entrepreneurs who valued the importance of serving their community in the small farming town of Tulare. Hers was a large, multicultural family, and she has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Peru, Cuba, Colombia, Mexico, and Europe—giving her a breadth of experience and understanding greatly appreciated by clients.
When she’s not working you can often find Julie outside—in her backyard gardening, on the golf course, on a river fly-fishing, or at the shooting range with her husband, Mark.
Contact Us Today
Estate Attorney Julie A. Westerling and our full team of experienced lawyers can help you with advanced Estate & Tax Planning from any of our offices throughout Northern and Southern California. We offer in-person, phone, and Zoom appointments. Request an appointment online or call (866) 988-3956.
At CunninghamLegal, we guide savvy, caring families in the protection and transfer of multi-generational wealth.