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David Burchard Gaw

About David Gaw

About me

I have been practicing law since 1972 and have been practicing exclusively in the Trusts and Estates area since 1986. I counsel clients in estate planning, trust administration, probate, and elder law, including public benefits planning. I generally handle 300 to 400 new cases each year and often serve as an expert witness in litigated trust and estate matters. I am head of my firm’s seven-attorney Trust and Estate Department and lecture and write frequently on trust and estate issues. My day-to-day practice involves the drafting of complex trusts, such as Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts, Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts, Qualified Personal Residence Trusts, Intentionally Defective Beneficiary Trusts, and other types of irrevocable trusts. Through thoughtful analysis, complex tax calculations, and insightful planning, I am able to assist my clients in saving millions in estate taxes while fulfilling their estate planning goals. I frequently handle estates of $10 million or more. In both planning and administration, I emphasize the importance of working as a team member with the accountant, financial planner, and other attorneys (e.g., the business attorney). In my trust administration practice, I created a “system” to handle trust administration matters, which I teach to other attorneys and accountants throughout the state. My “system” became so popular that the Continuing Education of the Bar enlisted me in updating their book, California Trust Administration, and advertised that it contained the “Gaw System” of trust administration. It continues to be one of CEB’s most popular books. A significant portion of my practice involves counseling elders, as well as assisting middle-income clients with public benefits planning. I have also developed a system in public benefits planning, using complex irrevocable trusts, to assist my clients in achieving their goals, and protecting their assets for their loved ones. I frequently lecture for the California State Bar, the Continuing Education of the Bar, the California CPA Education Foundation, as well as numerous trust and estates sections of local bar associations, and regional estate planning councils. From 2004 to 2009, I served on the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the State Bar of California. As a member of this committee, I participated in frequent telephone conferences, monthly meetings, and assisted in drafting new (or editing old) legislation related to the practice of estate planning law.