Trusts & Estates

Berliner Cohen – Estate Planning 101: The Importance of Developing an Estate Plan - click here
"Estate Planning 101" summarizes several estate planning concepts and provides background information to help prepare you in your estate planning discussion with your attorney.

Berliner Cohen – Estate Planning Fact Finder – click here.
Berliner Cohen – Post-Mortem Information Sheet – click here.
The "Estate Planning Fact Finder" and "Post-Mortem Information Sheet" above are made available solely to facilitate the gathering of information. No attorney-client relationship is established by your merely downloading either of the generic blank forms off Berliner Cohen’s website. Berliner Cohen requires a written and signed engagement letter from our clients. Please schedule an appointment if you are interested in asking Berliner Cohen to consider providing you with such an engagement agreement.

Trust and estate planning are sensitive issues, and because of that, the best way to handle trust, estate planning or estate administration is with concerned and competent legal counsel. Berliner Cohen’s trusts and estates practice is an aggregation of professionals with the skills, talents and experience to provide advice and representation to individuals and families in the worlds of trusts, estate planning, tax, business succession, estate administration, probate, conservatorship and guardianship issues, including:

  • Estate planning, with regards to both the tax and non-tax concerns, including all aspects of implementation such as living trusts, life insurance trusts and wills, and the preparation of ancillary documents, such as deeds, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and pre-marital and post-marital agreements
  • Trust administration, including post death tax planning, transfer of assets and advice to trustees, interpretation of wills and trusts, disputes regarding the probate of wills, the review and allowance of estate and trust accountings, and technical matters regarding the assessment and allocation of taxes
  • Charitable gift planning and the organization and administration of charitable foundations, trusts and other vehicles for tax advantaged charitable giving, including the use of charitable remainder and lead trusts
  • Income, gift, estate and generation-skipping tax planning and advice for individuals and families
  • Organization, funding and sale of privately-owned business and real property interests
  • Gifting programs, including formation of educational and irrevocable trusts
  • Planning for non-U.S. citizen clients, including the use of qualified domestic trusts
  • Planning for incapacity, including Durable Powers of Attorney for property and health care, conservatorships and guardianships
  • Probate, court administration of property of a decedent’s estate
  • Will and trust controversy matters
  • Planning and preservation of wealth and retirement assets through the use of state law creditor exemptions and federal and international laws

The Berliner Cohen approach is to combine tax, estate planning and probate or trust administrative experience with the way businesses and families interact during a person’s lifetime, as well as after a person’s death. Berliner Cohen combines expertise in business, trusts, estate planning and tax law and the overall skills of the Firm in corporate, tax and real estate to provide a broad base of support to the Firm’s trusts and estates practice.

For more information, please contact James Cashman at, or Brian Shetler at
Merced and Modesto: please contact Kevin Kelley,

Trusts & Estates



Avoiding Family Conflicts – Discussing Estate Plans with Beneficiaries

Bequests to Non-Citizen Spouses Taxable Unless Special Trusts (QDOTs) Are Created

IRS Follows Up on Interim Due Diligence Guidance Required in Grantmaking to Other Nonprofits

An Introduction to Advance Health Care Directives

Take Advantage of Two-Year Window for Huge Estate Planning Opportunities

Estate, Gift, Income and Planning Trends for 2014

Estate Planning: Protection of Assets and Other Trends for 2014

Hiring Caregivers: Legal and Financial Considerations (Updated 2015)

Berliner Cohen’s Susie Fagalde Author of “Bridging the Gap Between Then and Now”

Considering the Tax and Non-Tax Motivations Behind Planning for the Transfer of Wealth

Planning for the Succession of Wealth under President Trump and a Republican Congress

Every Estate That Elects Portability Needs a Closing Letter After Decision in Estate of Sower


Berliner Cohen Announces New Managing Partner

Goodwill Silicon Valley Appoints Berliner Cohen Attorney to Board

Berliner Cohen Adds New Estate Planning Attorney

2013 Super Lawyers Recognizes Thirteen Berliner Cohen Attorneys

Jim Cashman Authors Article on “Estate Planning and Protecting Assets”

2014 Super Lawyers Recognizes 14 Berliner Cohen Attorneys

Berliner Cohen Provides Estate Planning Guide and Forms for Your Use

Sandra Sepulveda Discusses Estate Planning En Español

2015 Super Lawyers Recognizes 11 Berliner Cohen Attorneys

Berliner Cohen Attorney H. Shinny Liu Receives LL.M. (Taxation) From Golden Gate University

Sandra G. Sepúlveda Named Partner at Berliner Cohen LLP

Best Lawyers in America Names Berliner Cohen Partners to 2017 List

2016 Super Lawyers Recognizes 9 Outstanding Berliner Cohen Attorneys

Seven Outstanding Berliner Cohen Attorneys Recognized by Northern California Super Lawyers


Hiring Caregivers: Legal and Financial Considerations

SCU Kasner Institute Presents Estate Planning Symposium

Berliner Cohen Sponsors Jerry A. Kasner Estate Planning Symposium

Ralph Swanson Presents at PFAC Conference