Estate Planning & Administration

View alphabetical listings of Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek attorneys practicing in Estate Planning & Administration below:

Lawrence S. Branton Of Counsel

Mr. Branton is Of Counsel with the law firm of Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek. He is certified by the State Bar of California as a Specialist in Taxation Law. Mr. Branton’s practice emphasizes tax law, estate planning, and employee benefits.

Education

Mr. Branton received his Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University in 1967 and his Juris Doctor from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in 1970.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Mr. Branton was a shareholder in the law firm of Branton & Wilson, APC in San Diego.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • Certified Specialist-Taxation Law, State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization
  • Taxation Law Advisory Commission (Chairman, 1986-1987; Member, 1983-1986)
  • Member, California Board of Legal Specialization (1986-1987)
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law (1979-1984)

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Author, “A Re-examination of Internal Revenue Code Section 2042 as Applied to California Community Property Laws” (20 Hastings Law Journal, pp. 1330-1354
  • Author, “Using Private Reverse Split-Dollar to Avoid Gift Tax Liability-IRS Shows the way,” (88 Journal of Taxation, pp. 216-220, April 1998)
  • Author, Attorney’s Guide to California Professional Corporations, 4th Edition, California Continuing Education of the Bar (1992-1999 updates)
  • Moderator, Lorman Business Services “Advanced Course of Study:  Pass Through Entities,” 1999, San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties
  • Co-Author, Chapter 16 (Tax compliance) to “Financing and Protecting California Businesses,” California Continuing Education of the Bar (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 updates)
  • Co-Author, “Use of Voluntary Contributions Increased Qualified Plan Benefits,” 50 Journal of Taxation (April 1979, pp. 230-235)
  • Co-Author, “Should Employers Permit Voluntary IRA-type Contributions to Qualified Retirement Plans?”  57 Journal of Taxation (December 1982, pp. 378-384)
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law; Tax Policy (1979-1984)
  • Associate Research Editor, Hastings Law Journal (1969-1970)

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Named by Best Lawyers in America as the Lawyer of the Year in San Diego in Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (2013)
  • Listed in all editions of Best Lawyers in America
  • Listed in 2010 edition of Top Attorneys in San Diego, San Diego Magazine

Rhonda Crandall Shareholder

Ms. Crandall is a shareholder of the firm. Her practice emphasizes tax law, estate planning, trust and probate administration, tax-exempt organizations and business transactions.

Education

Ms. Crandall received her B.A., with honors, from Washington University in St. Louis in 1995. She earned her law degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1999, where she served as an Executive Editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy. She received her LL.M. in Taxation, cum laude, from the University of San Diego in 2001, where she was a Graduate Law Merit Scholar and recipient of the Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Award.

Representative Matters

  • Advises clients regarding the local, state, federal and international tax consequences of a wide range of estate planning and business transactions
  • Assists individuals and families in designing and implementing appropriate estate plans, utilizing living trusts, wills, advanced health care directives, financial powers of attorney, irrevocable gift and life insurance trusts, charitable trusts, special needs trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, family limited partnerships and limited liability companies
  • Represents trustees and executors during the administration of trusts and probate estates
  • Advises beneficiaries of trusts and estates with respect to their rights
  • Represents entities and individuals in a wide variety of tax matters, including appealing income, gift and estate, and sales tax assessments and obtaining private letter rulings, before governmental entities such as the Internal Revenue Service, California State Board of Equalization, and California Franchise Tax Board
  • Forms nonprofit organizations, including public charities and private foundations; obtains Federal and California tax-exempt status rulings for such organizations; and provides guidance on the operation of such organizations
  • Represents clients in structuring and implementing tax-deferred Section 1031 exchanges of real property and personal property, including airplanes and works of art; past exchanges have included reverse and build-to-suit exchanges and multi-asset exchanges involving properties valued in excess of $100 million
  • Counsels established and emerging companies regarding entity formation and governance, contracts, mergers and acquisitions, and tax issues
  • Represents companies in structuring tax-free reorganizations

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California (Taxation and Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Sections)
  • San Diego County Bar Association (Taxation Law and Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Sections)
  • United States Tax Court

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Lecturer on Estate and Gift Taxation for University of San Diego School of Law Summer Tax Institute
  • Speaker on 1031 Exchanges for La Jolla Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Section

Hillary M. Dorne Associate

Ms. Dorne’s practice emphasizes advising private client transactions, including business planning and corporate compliance, corporate governance, real estate, and health care law.  She has additional experience in the formation and operation of businesses, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, stock options, finance, and Securities and Exchange Commission reporting, and general representation of entrepreneurs in widely diverse industries. Ms. Dorne is knowledgeable in personal estate planning and the formation and operation of tax‑exempt organizations.

Education

Ms. Dorne received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Davis.  She earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego School of Law.  While in law school, Ms. Dorne was a Senior Associate of the Journal of Climate and Energy Law.  She was also a participant of the University of Barcelona School of International Law Program in Barcelona, Spain.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Ms. Dorne served as Judicial Extern for the Honorable Thomas J. Whelan in the Southern District of California and as a law clerk with the United States Federal Defenders, Criminal Division in San Diego.

Representative Matters

  • Advises clients regarding formations and operations of charitable trusts and nonprofit organizations
  • Assists clients with succession planning for closely-held businesses and other personal and/or family assets
  • Designs and structures estate planning documents for clients (including wills, trusts, advance health care directives, asset management powers of attorney, etc.)
  • Forms business organizations, including limited liability companies, partnerships, and corporations
  • Prepares various business contracts and advises clients regarding short and long-term business planning and strategies
  • Provides a wide-range of federal, state and local business advice to individuals, partnerships, corporations, and other business entities on corporate compliance
  • Represents health care companies in mergers and acquisitions, formation of multi-specialty groups, independent practice associations, and management service organizations. Negotiate management service contracts, physician service agreements, purchase and sale of professional practices and related agreements
  • Represents clients in real estate transactions, including sales, leasing, purchases, 1031 exchanges, financing, debt workouts and construction of major office, hotel, industrial buildings and retail shopping centers
  • Represents clients in various business matters and transactions, including business governance, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations and spin-offs, and liquidations
  • Represents lenders and borrowers in documentation, negotiation and closing of commercial real estate‑secured loan transactions (involving acquisition and development, construction, ground lease and(or) permanent financing for office, hotel, retail, commercial and industrial properties)

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • District of Columbia Bar
  • American Bar Association

Personal

  • Ms. Dorne is fluent in Spanish.

Jason R. Faas Associate

Mr. Faas is an associate whose practice emphasizes taxation, business law, estate planning and trust administration.

Education

Mr. Faas attended Brigham Young University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. He received his Juris Doctor at Chapman University and his LL.M. in Taxation at New York University.

Representative Matters

  • Represents clients in various business matters and transactions, including business formations, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations and spin-offs, and liquidations.
  • Provides a wide-range of federal, state and local tax advice to individuals, partnerships, corporations, and other business entities.
  • Represents clients in real estate transactions, including sales, purchases, 1031 exchanges, financing, and debt workouts.
  • Prepares various business contracts and advises clients regarding short and long-term business planning and strategies.
  • Represents clients before federal, state and local tax authorities in audits, appeals and tax litigation.
  • Advises clients regarding worker classification including federal and state tax aspects of independent contractor and employment relationships.
  • Assists clients with property tax planning and controversies, including transfers to or from business entities, parent-child exclusion transfers, and transfers between spouses.
  • Designs and structures simple and complex estate planning documents for clients (including wills, trusts, advance health care directives, asset management powers of attorney, etc.).
  • Assists clients with succession planning for closely-held businesses and other personal and/or family assets, and provides estate, gift, and income tax advice regarding these types of assets.
  • Advises clients regarding charitable giving and formations and operations of charitable trusts and nonprofit organizations.
  • Represents individual, professional private fiduciary, and corporate trustees in trust administrations.
  • Represents beneficiaries of estates and trusts.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California (Taxation and Business Sections)
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • United States Tax Court
  • BYU Management Society, San Diego Chapter

Community Affiliations

  • Boy Scouts of America, Unit Committee Chair

Personal

Mr. Faas lived in St. Petersburg, Russia for two years. He is proficient in Russian and enjoys golf and baseball.

Laura L. Nichols Of Counsel

SCMV Laura Lamb headshot cropped 240x240 8-14
Phone:
619.685.3115
Fax:
619.702.6824

Mrs. Nichols is Of Counsel with Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek. She is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Mrs. Nichols has assisted multiple generations in their family estate planning matters and provides guidance and counsel to clients in this specialized area of law. She finds her work personally satisfying as she helps clients work through and solve difficult problems connected with the administration of the estate or trust after one’s passing.

Education

Mrs. Nichols received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern California in 2002. She attended California Western School of Law and earned her Juris Doctor in 2004.

Employment Background

Prior to joining the firm, Mrs. Nichols was an attorney with the San Diego firm of Showley & Thompson, LLP. In addition to practicing law, Mrs. Nichols is an Adjunct Professor at California Western School of Law where she teaches “The California Pre-Bar Program” and “Advanced Legal Analysis.”

Representative Matters

  • Assists clients in estate planning including wills, revocable living trusts, advanced health care directives, financial powers of attorney, irrevocable gift and insurance trusts, charitable trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, family limited partnerships and limited liability companies
  • Represents trustees, executors and administrators during the administration of a decedent’s estate

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • United States District Court for the Southern District of California
  • Certified Specialist-Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization (2013)
  • State Bar of California (Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Section)
  • San Diego County Bar Association (Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Section, Former Chair of the New Lawyer Division)
  • Estate Planning Council of San Diego and North County (Member)
  • Provisors (Member)

Community Affiliations

  • KPBS Planned Giving Advisory Committee
  • Rotary Club 33 (Member)
  • Scripps Health Gift Planning Advisory Board (Member)

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker for professional groups on topics of Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Administration

David P. Ruth Of Counsel

Mr. Ruth is Of Counsel with Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek.  His practice emphasizes taxation and business law.

Education

Mr. Ruth received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from University of Delaware, cum laude, in 1982 and his Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law, magna cum laude, in 1991. He received his LL.M., in Taxation, summa cum laude, from the University of San Diego in 1997.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Mr. Ruth was a shareholder in the law firm of Branton & Wilson in San Diego.

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Editor-in-Chief San Diego Law Review
  • Contributor The California Regulatory Law Reporter

James H. Siegel Shareholder

Mr. Siegel is a shareholder of the firm.  He is certified by the State Bar of California as a Specialist in Probate Law. Mr. Siegel’s practice emphasizes estate planning, trust administration, probate administration, guardianship and conservatorship administration.

Education

Mr. Siegel received his Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University at Northridge, magna cum laude, in 1976 and his Masters from the California State University at Los Angeles in 1977. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of California School of Law in 1986.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Mr. Siegel was a partner in the law firm of Branton & Wilson in San Diego.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • Certified Specialist-Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization

Rebecca L. Van Loon Associate

Ms. Van Loon is an associate with Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek.  She is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.  Her practice emphasizes estate planning, trust and probate administration, and taxation.

Education

Ms. Van Loon received her Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude from Gonzaga University in 2007. She earned her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Willamette University College of Law in 2010 and her LL.M in Taxation, magna cum laude, from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2011. While in law school, Ms. Van Loon participated in the Trusts and Estates Legal Clinic and competed in the Jessup International moot court competition. While in college and law school, Ms. Van Loon also studied abroad in Spain, Italy, and Germany.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Ms. Van Loon was an associate at an estate and tax planning law firm in Carlsbad, California.

Representative Matters

  • Estate planning, including drafting wills, revocable trusts, advance health care directives, and financial powers of attorney
  • Gift and estate tax planning, including drafting irrevocable trusts, life insurance trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, qualified subchapter S trusts, and electing small business trusts
  • Charitable gift planning, including outright gifts, drafting charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, and testamentary private foundations
  • Property tax planning, including parent-child exclusion transfers, spousal transfers, and transfers of real property to or from an entity
  • Trust administration, including representing trustees during inter vivos trust administration and administration of a decedent’s revocable trust
  • Estate administration and probate proceedings, including representing executors and administrators during administration
  • Estate, gift, and generation skipping tax, including portability elections and estate and gift tax return preparation
  • Representation of trustees, executors, administrators, fiduciaries, and beneficiaries, including preparation of settlement agreements and modifications or terminations of irrevocable trusts

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • Certified Specialist-Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization (2017)
  • State Bar of California (Trusts & Estates Taxation Section)
  • San Diego County Bar Association (Trusts & Estates Taxation Section)
  • North County Bar Association
  • Lawyers Club of San Diego

Community Affiliations

  • Member, San Diego Blood Bank Financial Resource Development Committee (2012 – present)
  • University of San Diego Alumni Association (2011 – present)

Personal

Ms. Van Loon is an avid fan of the San Diego Symphony and enjoys running, golfing, traveling, and college basketball.

Parisa F. Weiss Associate

Ms. Weiss is an associate at Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek. Her practice focuses in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate, Trust Administration and Conservatorship Administration.

Education

Ms. Weiss received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas in 2001. She attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law and earned her Juris Doctor in 2004.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Ms. Weiss was a principal in the law firm of Farokhi Law Firm, APC in San Diego.

Representative Matters

  • Advises individuals with diverse financial, tax, asset protection and benefit retention requirements and prepares related documents including revocable trusts, special needs trusts, irrevocable trusts, wills, powers of attorney and advance healthcare directives
  • Advises fiduciaries and individual trustees regarding the proper administration of trusts and probates
  • Advises beneficiaries of trusts and estates with respect to their rights
  • Represents clients in estate, trust and conservatorship litigation

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • Iranian American Bar Association, San Diego Chapter, Board Member (2014-2015)
  • State Bar of California – Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Section
  • North County Bar Association – Co-Chair of the Trust & Estate Section (2011 and 2012)
  • San Diego County Bar Association – Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Section
  • San Diego County Bar Association, New Lawyer Division – Section Chair of the Estate Planning, Trust and Probate
  • Rancho Santa Fe Business & Professional Women – Greeter (2012)
  • Lawyers Club of San Diego, North County Chapter – Vice President (2008-2009)

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Moderator and Presenter, The Basics Seminar: Estate Planning, for Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), September 2014
  • Moderator and Presenter for Conservatorships:  The Basics, for Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), UCLA Extension, April 11, 2014
  • The Salk Institute, La Jolla, California, “Special Needs Trusts,” 2012
  • Speaker and panelist for University of San Diego Law School for law student groups

Professional Awards & Honors

Best of the Bar (San Diego Business Journal, 2015-2016)

Top Attorney (San Diego Daily Transcript, 2014)

Katrina W. Wu Associate

Ms. Wu is an associate in the firm’s business department.  She represents clients primarily in the areas of business; intellectual property; estate planning and administration; international finance, investment and tax; administrative land use and environmental; and transactional tax planning and tax controversy.  Ms. Wu’s primary focus is developing creative, strategic solutions tailored to accomplish her clients’ specific goals.

She is bilingual in English and Chinese.

Education

Ms. Wu received her B.S. in Business Administration at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles in 2010, and her J.D., M.B.A, and LLM in Taxation at the University of San Diego School of Law in 2015. While in law school, Ms. Wu received multiple honors, including three CALI Awards (Energy Law, European Union Law and Art Law) and a High Pass in Energy Policy and Initiatives Center Internship. She was also a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society.

Employment Background

While in law school, Ms. Wu worked as a legal intern for Global Energy Network Institute (GENI) and the University of San Diego. She also worked as research assistant at the University of San Diego’s Energy Policy and Incentives Center and State Income Tax Clinic.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California (Taxation Section)
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County (APABA)
  • Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society
  • California Department of Real Estate, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

Publications & Speaking Engagements

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Best Paper Award (YouTube Marketing: Legality of Sponsorship and Endorsement in Advertising), Pacific Southwest Academy of Legal Studies in Business (PSWALSB) 2016 Annual Conference.