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James L. Deeringer
621 Capitol Mall
Areas of Law:
Trusts and Estates, Estate & Gift Taxes
Admitted to Practice in:
Jim Deeringer is one of Northern California's premier trusts and estates attorneys. Over his 30 years of practice, he has handled hundreds of planning, administration, and litigation matters, involving estates ranging from the relatively small to over $100 million in value.
Jim has helped many clients implement estate planning, transfer tax planning, and business succession planning of the most sophisticated order. As part of this effort, he utilizes diverse techniques and planning tools, including grantor-retained annuity trusts, sales to intentionally defective grantor trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, charitable remainder and lead trusts, private foundations, multi-generational “dynasty” trusts, buy-sell agreements, and split-dollar agreements. In addition, Jim frequently helps clients form limited partnerships or limited liability companies in order to enhance the effectiveness of certain of these planning techniques. Jim also brings extensive knowledge and experience to the often difficult task of integrating retirement planning—and, in particular, designation of retirement plan beneficiaries—with estate and tax planning.
Jim also has extensive experience administering unusually complex estates. He has administered numerous estates that involved such tasks as obtaining court interpretation of instrument provisions; accounting for specifically devised real property, securities, and business interests; calculating estate tax and facilitating IRS audits, where necessary; apportioning estate tax among beneficiaries; and resolving conflicts among and between beneficiaries and fiduciaries.
An area of special expertise for Jim is drafting and administering unitrusts, that is, trusts whose payout to the current beneficiary is determined as a fixed percentage of the value of the trust corpus each year. Jim employs this estate-planning tool to harmonize the trustee's investment management duties under the Prudent Investor Act, which imposes upon trustees a duty to treat all classes of beneficiaries impartially in the apportionment of the total return on trust investments. Jim was a key player in the drafting of California's 1999 Uniform Principal and Income Act, and he was the primary drafter of California's 2005 Unitrust Conversion Statute. These new statutes have ushered in revolutionary changes in California's trust law, and, as primary drafter, Jim is uniquely positioned to advise trustees and beneficiaries—clients—concerning the interpretation and utilization of these laws.
Jim has received the highest rating from Martindale Hubbell, AV. He is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, the nation's leading association of trust and estate attorneys. He has also served on the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the State Bar of California.
Certified Estate Planning, Trusts & Probate Law Specialist, State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.
Prepared wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and related documents for several hundred clients over the past ten years.
Prepared tax saving irrevocable trusts (e.g., life insurance trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, charitable remainder trusts, and children's educational trusts), family limited partnerships, and limited liability companies for many clients and advised them of their tax consequences.
Counseled executors, administrators, and trustees in the administration of over 100 decedents' estates over the past ten years, including preparation of federal and California estate tax returns and advice on fiduciary income tax issues as required.
Represented many fiduciaries and beneficiaries in contested estate administration matters in California state courts.
American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), Member
State Bar of California, Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Section, Executive Committee, Former Member and Advisor
State Bar of California, Real Property Section, Member
Sacramento Estate Planning Council, Member
Sacramento County Bar Association, Member
University of California, Davis School of Law (J.D., 1978)
California Trusts and Estates Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 3, "The New Unitrust Conversion Power under the California Uniform Principal and Income Act - a Useful Complement to the Adjustment Power," Fall, 2005, Author
53 rd Annual Institute on Federal Taxation, U.S.C. School of Law, “Tax Aspects of The New California Principal and Income Act,” 2001, Author
California Trusts and Estates Quarterly, vol. 5, no. 3, "A New Principal and Income Act for California - a Long Overdue Update of Existing Law," Fall, 1999, Author
California Trusts and Estates Quarterly, vol. 1, no. 3, “Undistributed Income from Pass-Through Entities–The Trustee's Dilemma,” Fall 1995, Author
Continuing Education of the Bar, “Recent Developments in Estate Planning and administration,” 2000 and 2002, Panelist; 2002-2005, Moderator
American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, “Uniform Principal and Income Act - Traps and Tricks,” Vancouver, British Columbia, 2001, Lecturer
53rd Annual Institute on Federal Taxation, U.S.C. School of Law, “Tax Issues Arising Under the Uniform Principal and Income Act,” 2001, Lecturer
Southern California Tax and Estate Planning Forum, “The New Uniform Principal and Income Act – Breaking the Bands of Income Rule Trusts,” 2000, Speaker
California State Bar Annual Meeting, “Drafting Total Return Trusts,” San Diego and San Francisco, 2000, Speaker
Continuing Education of the Bar, “The Uniform Principal and Income Act and the Prudent Investor Rule,” 2000, Moderator
San Francisco Bar Association, “The Uniform Principal and Income Act,” 1999, Presenter
California Trusts and Estates Quarterly, vol. 5, no. 3, “A New Principal and Income Act for California – A Long Overdue Update of Existing Law,” 1999, Panelist
California Continuing Education of the Bar, “Fundamentals of Post Mortem Trust Administration,” 1999, Panelist
California Continuing Education of the Bar, “Practice Under the New Durable Powers of Attorney Law,” 1995, Panelist
California Continuing Education of the Bar, “Using California Trusts,” 1993, Moderator
California Continuing Education of the Bar, “Drafting Wills and Related Documents,” 1992, Panelist
California Continuing Education of the Bar, “How to Administer a Decedent's Estate,” 1991, Panelist
Crocker Art Museum , Sacramento Symphony Association, and City of Sacramento Department of Parks and Community Services, “Estate Planning and Charitable Giving,” 1990, Presenter
Crocker Art Museum Association, Board of Directors, Member
KVIE Channel 6, Board of Directors, Member and Past Chair
Sacramento Symphony Association; Board of Directors, Former Member and Past Vice-President; Administrative Committee, Former Member ; and, Planned Giving Committee, Former Co-Chair