I began my career working for large law firms, moving paper, billing large sums over a lot of hours, moving money from one rich entity to another, dealing with politics, bureaucracy, and unhappy clients. Obviously, all of this made me extremely unhappy. This was not what I imagined when I went to law school. I just wanted to help people and make a difference in their lives.
One day, a friend of my mother asked me to update her living trust. The trust was almost 15 years old and there wasn't much to it. It didn't reflect the current law and it didn't reflect her current life needs. Further, she told me that her attorney never even explained to her what was in the trust. So she was learning everything from me 15 years after the fact! Worst of all, none of her assets were even titled in the name of the trust. This meant that all the time, trouble, and money she spent was a waste, since her family would still have to deal with probate after her death.
Because of my own problems in setting up an estate plan, and because I wanted to help my mom's friend (and others like her, I decided to start my own firm).
I figured I could make my law firm much better than most by just doing the opposite of what my mom's friend's lawyer did. This is how she described her encounter 15 years ago and how the process went: 1) She provided some limited information to the attorney; 2) The attorney did not ask many questions; 3) The attorney hastily prepared some documents; and 4) She signed the documents, put them away, and never looked at them again.
It's not a stretch to know that this isn't the kind of relationship that most people want. Thus, I sought to bring back the long-term, trusted relationship between attorneys and clients. So I came up with a new process and model.
The Zapf Estate Planners Model
Almost everything we do is based on a flat fee. No one likes to get billed for a quick email or phone call to an attorney. And I definitely do not like to send those bills and keep track of my time in six-minute increments. So I did away with that old, tired way of doing law. Feel free to contact me as you wish.
We want your trust to work for you. Too often people fail to change the ownership of their assets into the name of the trust. Too often attorneys fail to help their clients with this difficult process. No longer. It is our responsibility to supervise you funding your trust.
No longer will estate planning be a one-time transaction. When you hire us, that is when our relationship begins…for life. We offer free reviews of your plan every three years at no additional charge. We also offer a membership program (that nearly all of our clients participate in), which includes a yearly plan review and unlimited changes to your plan.Finally, please understand that estate planning isn’t really about you. After all, you will be gone when your plan takes effect. It’s about creating a plan of action that’s going to take care of those you love most.
|Award name||Grantor||Date granted|
|Rising Star||Super Lawyers||2018|
|Clients' Choice Award||Avvo||2016|
|Client Distinction Award||Martindale-Hubbell||2016|
|Tax Scholarship||Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch||2011|
|Cum Laude - Top 15%||University of San Francisco||2007|
|American Jurisprudence Award||University of San Francisco||2006|
|Advocate of the Year, Best Brief||University of San Francisco||2005|
|Principal||Zapf Estate Planners||2014 - Present|
|General Counsel||Bumbums, Inc., La Jolla, CA||2010 - Present|
|Attorney||Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP, San Diego, CA||2011 - 2014|
|Attorney||Public Law Center/Public Counsel, Santa Ana, Los Angeles & Woodland Hills, CA||2009 - 2009|
|Attorney||Winterbotham Parham Teeple, PC, Los Angeles, CA||2009 - 2010|
|Certified Law Clerk||San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, San Francisco, CA||2006 - 2006|
|Judicial Extern||The Hon. George C. Eskin, Santa Barbara Superior Court, Santa Barbara, CA||2005 - 2005|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|Better Business Bureau||Member||2016 - Present|
|North County Estate Planning Council||Member||2015 - Present|
|WealthCounsel||Member||2014 - Present|
|Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce||Member||2014 - Present|
|German-American Society||Member||2012 - Present|
|State Bar of California||Member||2008 - Present|
|American Bar Association||Member||2008 - Present|
|A Prince Without a Plan||2016|
|Zapf Estate Planners, APC||529 Plans||2016|
|Zapf Estate Planners, APC||Planning for a Child with Special Needs||2015|
|University of San Diego School of Law||LL.M.||2011|
|University of San Francisco School of Law||J.D., Cum Laude||2007|
|University of California - Santa Barbara||B.A.||2002|
|Meetup||Planning Workshop for Young Parents||2016|
|Meetup||Estate Planning Seminar - Naming Guardians for Children||2016|
|Probate Matter - Name Redacted|
|Estate Plan - Name Redacted||TBD|
|Merrill Lynch Mortgage Pass-Through Litigation 1:08-cv-10841-JSR||Plaintiffs obtained $315m settlement|
|Goldman Sachs Mortgage Pass-Through Litigation 1:09-cv-01110 (HB)||Plantiffs recovered $26.6m|
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Wed May 11 2016
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