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Home consultations available
General Info

 Since 1980, my practice has focused exclusively on estate planning, trust, probate, and related tax matters.

I help clients plan their estates so that their wishes are carried out for themselves and for their intended beneficiaries. This includes preparation of the necessary estate planning documents, from wills to living trusts to powers of attorney to irrevocable trusts to gifting plans to gift tax returns, etc.

Likewise, I represent fiduciaries responsible for managing the financial or personal affairs of others, such as executors, administrators, trustees, conservators, guardians, agents, and attorneys-in-fact. This includes both matters subject to probate court supervision and matters not subject to court review.

As part of these services, I also provide estate and gift tax advice, including preparation of estate and gift tax returns.

I also represents clients in disputed or contested probate, conservatorship, and trust matters.

I am a certified specialist in estate planning, probate, and trust law and have an LL.M. postgraduate degree in taxation. Highest rating (AV) of professional excellence by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory since 1990. Included annually in Northern California Super Lawyers since its inception.

For more information, please see my web page

BBB Rating
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Regular Hours
Mon - Fri:
Sat - SunClosed
Extra Phones

Phone: (510) 886-2120



Probate Court Matters

I have thirty years experience handling probate and conservatorship estates and court supervised trusts. This is often required where the decedent never had a will or living trust. Occasionally, living trusts require (or benefit from) court supervision. My paralegal, Donna DeMartini, served as an Alameda County Probate Court paralegal for 17 years. She and I work as a team to serve our clients. We strive to guide our clients through the probate court process as quickly and as efficiently as possible. We understand how the system works and know how to help our clients through this often difficult job.

Estate and Tax Planning

I have over thirty years experience planning and implementing estate for a wide variety of situations. Planning your estate involves understanding your wishes, your family dynamics, your assets and liabilities, and your potential tax risks. I listen and ask questions to help you find clarity about your wishes. And then my goal is for your wishes to be accurately reflected in your estate planning documents. In doing so, I work to help you understand your documents and help you edit them, as needed, so that they accurately reflect your wishes.

Non-Probate Administration

I have thirty years of experience representing trustees and those acting under powers of attorney. I advise my clients of their rights, duties, and potential liabilities in serving in these often difficult jobs. My paralegals and I work as a team to help our clients complete their tasks correctly, efficiently, and appropriately under the circumstances of the case. This includes preparation of federal estate tax returns.

Payment method
no credit cards, check

Certified Specialist By The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization


James J. Phillips

Estate Planning Attorneys, Administrative & Governmental Law Attorneys, Attorneys, Estate Planning, Probate, & Living Trusts, Guardianship Services, Probate Law Attorneys, Tax Attorneys, Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning Attorneys
Other Information

Specialties: Estate Planning, Living Trusts, Probate Wills & Estates



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