Back to Leslie’s Profile

About Me

Leslie Daff, JD, MBA, is a State Bar Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law, a designation earned by  fewer than 100 of the approximately 15,000 licensed attorneys in the County.  Formerly with international law firm Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP and regional law firms Best Best & Krieger LLP and Palmieri, Tyler, Weiner, Wilhelm & Waldron LLP, she founded Estate Plan, Inc., a professional law corporation, in Laguna Beach and Irvine in 2005.  In 2010, she added an Overland Park office in conjunction with Randy Gardner, JD, LLM, MBA, CPA.

Leslie received her BS degree in Finance from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business and her MBA degree from the University of California, Irvine Paul Merage School of Business. Prior to law school, she worked as a Financial Analyst and as Manager of Financial Planning & Analysis at subsidiaries of the Coca-Cola Company and Baxter Healthcare, respectively.

She received her JD degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, where she served as an editor on the Loyola Law School Entertainment Law Review, received the American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence in Legal Research and Writing, the American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence in Ethical/Practical Lawyering, and was installed as a member of the St. Thomas More Law Honor Society. She also served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Sheila Prell Sonenshine, Associate Justice on the California Court of Appeal.

Named for five consecutive years by OC Register Metro Magazine as one of the region's top lawyers, granted the highest rating of "10/10 Superb" by independent attorney rating service Avvo, and granted the highest designation of "AV Preeminent  5 out of 5" by national legal directory Martindale Hubbell, which signifies her peers rank her at the highest level of professional and ethical excellence, Leslie was also selected by her peers for inclusion in Southern California Top Rated Lawyers, published by Law.com and the Los Angeles Times in November.  In October, the State Bar of California Board of Trustees appointed Leslie to serve as one of nine commissioners on the Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Advisory Commission to advise the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization about its program - and to write the exam - that certifies legal specialists in the area of estate planning, trust and probate law.

Leslie is co-author of the Estate Planning Considerations chapter update for the State Bar of California Continuing Education of the Bar book Buy-Sell Agreements.  She is co-author of the 2012 book, The Closing Wealth Transfer Window: Post-Election Steps to Take Immediately to Protect Your Family Legacy. She is also co-editor of the book Estate Planning Strategies, Collective Wisdom, Proven Techniques, available on Amazon.com.  She is a regular columnist on tax and estate planning matters for The Journal of Financial Planning.  Recent published articles include:

  • Avoiding Post-ATRA Trust Tax Rates
  • The New Estate Planning Dilemma: Simplicity or Asset Protection?
  • Independent Contractor or Employee?
  • The Closing Wealth Transfer Windows
  • Do Your Tax Strategies Accomodate the Affordable Care Act?
  • Defining Incapacity in the Modern Estate Plan
  • Selecting and Maintaining Appropriate Fiduciaries in an Estate Plan
  • The Portable Exclusion and the Vanishing Bypass Trust
  • Protecting Your Child's Inheritance: The Beneficiary-Controlled Trust
  • Tax Ramifications and Opportunties Under the New HealthCare Act
  • Keeping the Vacation Home in the Family - Another Use for Limited Liability Companies
  • Are Your Client Files Clean?
  • Twelve Indicators You Need to Update Your Estate Plan
  • Right Strategies Can Maximize Your Charitable Gifts
  • Planning Opportunities in the Government's Response to the Economic Downturn
  • Many Estate Planning Strategies Provide Benefits in Low-Interest-Rate Environment

Leslie serves on the Board of Directors of the South Orange County Bar Association.  She is also a member of the international Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners, the Orange County Estate Planning Council, the Real Property, Probate and Trust Section of the American Bar Association, the Trusts & Estates Section of the State Bar of California, and the Trusts & Estates Section of the Orange County Bar Association.

She is involved with the Alumni Board of Directors for the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, a member of the Dean’s Leadership Circle of the University of California, Irvine Paul Merage School of Business, a Fellow of the Orange County Bar Foundation Society of Fellows, Co-Chair of the Laguna Beach Community Foundation Professional Council, and she serves on the Board of Directors of non-profit organizations, Laguna Beach Seniors, Inc. and the Laguna Beach Rotary Club Foundation.

Leslie provides pro bono legal advice to seniors at the Susi Q Senior Center on a monthly basis.  She regularly speaks on estate planning topics for a variety of groups and organizations, including the Financial Planning Association and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants.