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Brandon Michael Zapf

Estate planning Attorney at Carlsbad, CA

5.0   7 reviews
  • Licensed for 15 years
    State CA
    Acquired 2008
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Brandon

Learn Brandon’s areas of practice.

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


  1. Flat Fees

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.


  1. Funding Your Trust

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.


  1. Creating and Maintaining Long-Term Relationships

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 , 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.

Photos and videos


Zapf Estate Planners, APC
701 Palomar Airport Rd. #300
Carlsbad, CA, 92011


5.0 / 5.0
  7 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
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1 Star
Posted by Jackie | May 11, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great Experience
I didn't realize hiring a lawyer could actually be an enjoyable experience. But everything about our experience with Brandon was great. He's really easy to talk to and spent a lot of time with us to explain all the topics and help guide us through the options. There were a lot of complex factors in our case, but he was really patient. We dealt with Brandon throughout the whole process, which was really comforting. I've recommended him to all my friends and family.
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Posted by Jennifer | May 10, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Very Satisfied
I needed an attorney to create a will and set up a family trust. A friend recommended Brandon and I was immediately impressed because I actually met with Brandon for every step in the process and Brandon went above and beyond providing legal services. He really listened to what my wife and I had to say and offered reasonable and knowledgeable advice. His fees were reasonable and I would highly recommend him.
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Posted by Kathy | May 10, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Life Saver
Brandon has been able to relate to my issues on a personal as well as a professional level. He helped navigate some intense family Trust issues that could have been very messy. He got everything resolved, and quicker than any of us anticipated. He was such a life saver!
Posted by Sarah | May 10, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Thorough, Professional and Great to work with
I hired Brandon to create my estate plan and he was thorough and easy to work with. He explained each aspect of the trusts to us, so we understood what was being set up, and could be sure our wishes were being implemented. I would highly recommend Brandon!
Posted by anonymous | May 10, 2016
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Worked Together / Consulting
Brandon assisted me in successfully executing a complex estate plan and facilitated the distribution of assets to beneficiaries located in multiple distributions.
Posted by Heather | May 9, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Best money I ever spent on a lawyer
Brandon made everything so easy. He's easy to talk to and spent a lot of time explaining the legal concepts until I really understood. I was so impressed by his work, I've recommended him to at least 4-5 people already.
Posted by David | August 18, 2014
Thankful that you were there to help me out Brandon
About 5 years ago I had to unfortunately file for Bankruptcy, and I engaged a firm in Pasadena as my Bankruptcy Attorney. The process was underway, paperwork filled out and fees paid, but I had not heard a word from the attorney that was working with me at the time. So I called the office and an appointment was made to see another attorney, and that person was Brandon Zapf. I was extremely stressed with the situation, and it didn't help as Brandon was tasked with having to tell me that the original attorney had left my case, as well as others in limbo. His professionalism coupled with his calm personality, helped to get my nerves calmed down. He basically started over with me, listening to my questions and helping me through the entire process, completely into the filing of the Bankruptcy. Even after his involvement with my case was complete, he was always open to answering any questions I had and providing guidance. I truly appreciate you Brandon, and what you helped me with and for being an awesome person through it all!
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  • Free Consultation 60 minutes
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 9.1 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • 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
View all work experience


  • 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

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Probate Matter - Name Redacted
  • Estate Plan - Name Redacted
  • TBD
  • Merrill Lynch Mortgage Pass-Through Litigation 1:08-cv-10841-JSR
  • Plaintiffs obtained $315m settlement
View all legal cases


  • 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
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Rising Star
  • Super Lawyers
  • 2018
  • Clients' Choice Award
  • Avvo
  • 2016
  • Client Distinction Award
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2016
  • Client Rating
  • 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
View all awards


Attorney endorsements

Received (9)
Given (9)
Endorse Brandon
Estate planning Attorney | Jan 03
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I have worked with Brandon Zapf on many matters over the last 5 years. He is an excellent attorney and extremely knowledgeable about the many nuances of estate planning in California. He is professional, attentive, diligent, and creative. I highly recommend Mr. Zapf and Zapf Estate Planners."
Estate planning Attorney | Jun 10
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Brandon is a great professional and a great guy. His clients are in good hands and he is easy to talk to and very attentive to every matter he takes on."
Estate planning Attorney | Jun 05
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Brandon is an excellent lawyer and I highly recommend him for estate planning, probate and bankruptcy. He is very knowledgeable and always on top of the latest court rulings. He is also extremely caring and truly has his client's best interest in heart. Highly recommend."
Estate planning Attorney | Jun 05
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I have tremendous respect for Mr. Zapf. He is an extremely knowledgeable, honest, and hard-working attorney. I highly recommend Mr. Zapf for all of your estate planning needs."
Estate planning Attorney | May 16
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Brandon is a very intelligent attorney but is also very down to earth. Clients enjoy their interaction with him based on his personality and skill. He graduated near the top of his class and prides himself on providing exemplary client service"
Estate planning Attorney | May 12
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"I endorse this lawyer. Brandon was an imperative resource in successfully executing a complex multi-jurisdictional estate plan for high net worth clients. Brandon also served as attorney on a probate matter involving numerous hard to value assets and real property. His efforts resulted in a successful distribution of assets to beneficiaries located abroad."
Estate planning Attorney | Oct 20
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I have known Brandon Zapf for over 11 years. Brandon is an excellent attorney and demonstrates an impressive knowledge of the complexities of estate planning & tax law as well as the highest level of ethical standards. I would recommend Brandon to clients without hesitation!"
Estate planning Attorney | Oct 06
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Brandon is an excellent attorney, and I highly recommend his legal services for anyone in need of estate planning. Brandon is smart, personable, and is guaranteed to steer you in the right direction."
Corporate and incorporation Attorney | Feb 17
Relationship: Co-worker
"I endorse this lawyer."
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Divorce and separation
Estate planning
Estate planning
Personal injury
Workers compensation
Consumer protection
Chapter 7 bankruptcy