James A. Willett

James A. Willett

Counsel

James A. Willett

Counsel

Jim Willett is Downey Brand’s senior attorney in estate planning. His practice emphasizes estate planning, estate taxes, trusts and probate law for individuals and family groups.

His practice emphasizes estate planning, estate taxes, trusts and probate law for individuals and family groups. He is a Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel; a Past Chair of the Executive Committee of the Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Section; a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trusts & Probate Law and Past Chair of the Estate Planning, Trust Law and Probate Legal Specialization Advisory Commission; Past President of the Sacramento Estate Planning Council; and a 2011 FIVE STAR Wealth Manager, Sacramento Magazine.

Jim is also heavily involved in community activities. He is a Past Chair of the UC Davis Foundation Board of Trustees, Sutter Davis Hospital Board of Trustees, KVIE Channel 6 Board of Directors, Cal Aggie Boosters, and City of Davis Planning Commission. He has been a frequent speaker with the California Continuing Education of the Bar.  Jim handles all levels of estate planning and trust administration, and regularly deals with the Internal Revenue Service in audits of estate and gift tax returns.

Experience

  • Prepare trusts and related estate planning documents for clients of various ages, family circumstances and net worth (from less than $500,000 to $60 million). Assisted significant gifting by senior family members.
  • Helped families come to conclusion of plans to family distribute wealth to families and charities when appropriate.

Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement

  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), Fellow
  • Executive Committee of the State Bar Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Section, Past Chair
  • Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Advisory Commission, Board of Legal Specialization, Past Chair
  • Sacramento Estate Planning Council, Past President
  • UC Davis Foundation Board of Trustees, Past Chair
  • Sutter Davis Hospital, Board of Trustees, Past Chair
  • Cal Aggie Boosters, Past President
  • City of Davis Planning Commission, Past Chair
  • Davis Rotary
  • Grandfathers Club of America, Sacramento, Board of Directors
  • University Covenant Church, Davis, Past Chair, Stewardship Board
  • Sacramento Ballet Association, Board of Directors,and Former Vice Chair
  • Presentations to Continuing Education of the Bar of the State of California on various subjects including recent legislation, probate administration, estate planning, conservatorships, and various taxation issues.
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Probate and Estate Planning Section

Honors And Rankings

  • AV Preeminent® Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Sacramento Magazine, Top Lawyer, Estate Planning & Probate, 2015-2018
  • Certified Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Specialist
  • 2011 FIVE STAR Wealth Manager, Sacramento Magazine
  • Super Lawyers, Northern California Super Lawyer, Estate Planning & Probate, 2004, 2008-2009

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