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Richard Coryell Dayton

Estate planning Attorney at San Jose, CA

5.0   13 reviews

also known as Rich Dayton, Richard Dayton

Free consultation
Free consultation
  • Licensed for 25 years
    State CA
    Acquired 1998
    Active No misconduct found

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

About Richard

Learn Richard’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Estate planning
    This area includes Trusts, Wills, Powers of attorney, Health Care Directives, and other types of trust and estate work that assist with incapacity and death planning.

    25 years, 1,200 cases

  2. Trusts
    This is the primary area of practice and is used to avoid the high cost of Probate and to make life easier for your loved ones in time of crisis. This is really Estate Planning.

    25 years, 1,200 cases

  3. Probate
    Probate is the court process needed to move your "stuff" to your heirs.

    25 years, 105 cases

  4. Wills and living wills
    Wills are used when a Trust does not make economic sense. In California most Trust based estate plans will include a Will. However if real estate is part of your estate you should consider a Trust. Health Care Directives are used in California in place of Living Wills.

    25 years, 1,200 cases

  5. Elder law
    Includes special Medi-Cal planning and consultation.

    25 years, 20 cases


Our firm believes “We are here to make people’s lives easier in times of crisis.” 


We also believe that “Your most important estate is your family and loved ones!”


I'm the Founder of our law firm and have been practicing for 17 years in estate planning, trust and probate law since 1998.  I teach estate planning for the University of California Santa Cruz extension program and the California Continuing Education of the Bar programs.  I'm a retired lieutenant colonel (non-legal) from the United States Army Reserve (32 years) and worked for IBM in a non-legal capacity for 37 years as programmer and in senior level management positions managing programmers, engineers, and project managers.


My firm has a staff of 7, including 2 other attorneys.


Client's Choice 2012,2010
Client's Choice
2012 2010

Photos and videos


Richard Coryell Dayton
1754 Technology Dr Suite 230
San Jose, CA, 95110-1319


5.0 / 5.0
  13 customer reviews
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Client's Choice 2012
Client's Choice
Client's Choice is an Avvo award granted to attorneys with a significant number of client reviews over 4 stars in a given year.
Posted by anonymous | May 15, 2017
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Fast and thorough answers
I had a great experience with Richard last year. I wanted to write an review then but I forgot. I still remember vividly how fast and thorough he answered my questions. Not only that, he also offered me important advice that I failed to ask, and let me extend my session without charging extra. It was a breath of fresh among all the stress I had to deal with.
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Posted by Brett | December 31, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Expertise & Service did the job!
I met Rich when looking for a good estate planning attorney to refer my real estate clients to. After talking with several attorneys Rich professionalism and expertise made him stand out as our best option. I used him personally for my own estate affairs and found his team to be exceptional in managing the details and answering any questions we had. A true professional in his field
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Posted by Bonnie | November 30, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Development of new Trust
I found Richard Dayton an excellent attorney. I went to him to review my previous trusts and make recommendations that would accommodate my new needs. Due to changes in family relationships he developed a Trust document which dealt with all of my concerns including a special needs trust for one of my sons. He provided me two excellent thorough note books: an "Estate Planning Organizer" containing copies of all my legal documents with explanations and a "To my Trustees" book stating all the processes required to deal with my estate. I have found these extremely helpful and have reviewed them with my other son. After several years I needed answers to several questions which we were able to deal with over the phone and e-mail to my satisfaction. I have recommended him to my friends.
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Posted by Carol H. | June 29, 2012
A Will Emergency
I found myself in a situation where my father was in the hospital and terminally ill. While he had a will, it was very outdated. I needed an attorney that my father could trust as well as be able to handle the situation quickly and efficiently. Rich Dayton fit that bill perfectly. As it turned out, two days after the new will was drafted, my father passed. It meant a lot to me that he was at peace when he died. After that first phone call to Rich, he came directly to the hospital. I was a bit worried as my father wasn’t a particularly trusting man. Honest, patient and caring, Rich gained my father’s confidence; he was able to document how my father wanted his estate distributed. Rich and his staff were so patient, answering all of my questions and explaining everything. It’s been a very difficult situation, one where I’ve had to deal with family conflict. Rich expedited things whenever he could, and then guided me through all the steps involved with Probate administration. I’m so grateful for Rich Dayton. He helped with me through some very difficult times. When I’m ready to put together my own estate plan, he’s the only one I would call.
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Posted by Robert Frost | December 22, 2011
Conserving My Mother
When my mother fell and was taken to the hospital, it was clear she was no longer able to live on her own. When the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s came, we didn’t have a power of attorney in place. All of a sudden we needed to go through the process of having her conserved. My mother lives in a San Jose facility and I’m located in Virginia. I immediately needed a local resource to help me navigate this time-consuming, confusing and labor-intensive process. Rich Dayton and The Dayton Law Firm were very kind and helpful. I immediately felt they were sensitive to my time constraints and our unique circumstances. Being out of state and managing the process remotely has its challenges. Communicating via email and phone, The Dayton Law Firm was very responsive and handled all the legwork for me. Our situation was complicated, and everything went smoothly because they diligently followed up and followed through. In retrospect, I now know the importance of having a power of attorney before things happen. It would have saved me a lot of grief, time and expense. Even so, I’m grateful that Rich Dayton was there when I needed him. Now that the conservatorship is formed, I’m relieved that Rich is helping me manage it. He and his staff are just a phone call away.
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Posted by George & Carol Walker | December 14, 2011
Conservator Administration with Integrity & Open Communication
My wife and I are conservators for my daughter and her estate. Part of that responsibility requires working with an attorney to submit monthly reports to an assessment agency and court for her care. We moved our business to The Dayton Law Firm because we wanted better service and open communication. Professional, responsive and compassionate, Rich Dayton and his staff were dedicated to helping us streamline the conservator administration process. Rich clearly outlined what was necessary for compliance and reporting; he immediately addressed the most worrisome areas of the complex process. I walked away from each meeting with clear expectations and the next steps. It was a tremendous relief to be able to have frank conversations with Rich, and his staff follows through as promised. In a few short months, we reduced the time (and money) spent on administering our daughter’s estate. We are grateful for Rich’s efforts as it allows us to preserve the estate’s assets for as long as possible. We appreciate The Dayton Law Firm’s integrity and commitment to open communication. For conservators who need an attorney they can trust, The Dayton Law Firm is a wise choice.
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Posted by R York | January 19, 2011
Creating a Unique Estate Plan & Providing Trust Administration
After my mother died, we were referred to The Dayton Law Firm. My sister and I hold real estate in common, so we needed to create a special trust and Rich Dayton came highly recommended. In our initial meeting, we gave a thumbnail sketch to what we thought we needed and asked a lot of questions. Ever patient and thoroughly explaining all the legal terminology, Rich Dayton demonstrated his deep knowledge of the law and outlined our options based upon our specific needs. Along the way, he made adjustments so the trust was truly custom tailored. After this experience, I now see that my mother’s estate attorney was not as detailed as they should have been. In comparison, Rich Dayton and his professional staff are exceptional, diligent and resourceful. Not only did they create our trust, but they helped us with the loose ends necessary to settle my mother’s estate. Working with Rich Dayton was a positive experience; he took care of everything we needed and more. By explaining the tax ramifications and liability of our choices, I’m confident we have a thoroughly crafted estate plan.
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Posted by Janet McCown | January 15, 2011
Timely, Responsive & Meticulous Estate Planning
Many years ago we tried to complete our estate plan, but were disappointed with the impersonal process and lack of quality from a trust mill. Coming highly recommended, we chose The Dayton Law Firm to plan our estate. Confident with Rich Dayton’s background and professionalism, he was approachable and listened attentively to our needs. Laying out our choices and making recommendations specific to our unique situation, he made sure we understood each before finalizing the documents. Rich Dayton answered all our questions, and it was clear he created a meticulous estate plan. Timely, responsive and methodical, The Dayton Law Firm delivered a high quality and customized estate plan.
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Posted by L Szekely | November 6, 2010
Superb Estate Planning Attorney
There are many estate planning attorneys, but none who compare to Rich Dayton. His professionalism and attention to detail are unsurpassed, key characteristics which I believe are the trademark of a top-notch estate planning attorney. Paying particular attention to his client’s short- and long-term goals, he zeros in on the goals you want to achieve. Rather than complex and unnecessary “legal-speak,” Rich clearly maps out what needs to be done, by whom and why. Then he follows up with a clear plan of action. By seeing the entire picture, he provides a level of protection to ensure that our plan achieves the goals we’ve set. Rich Dayton manages my estate plan, and I have often referred him to family and colleagues. He recognizes that family finances become intertwined and inadvertent conflicts arise. I also appreciate that he listens attentively, proposes several alternatives, and explains the ramifications of each. Life is dynamic, laws are amended and family situations change. It’s a relief to know Rich works proactively to keep our estate plan current and safeguards our interests. The Dayton Law Firm has been the best choice for our family.
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Posted by T. Scagliotti, CFP | November 6, 2010
Estate Planning & Expert Resource
Rich Dayton and his law firm helped me with my personal estate plan as well as for my parents, mother-in-law, and numerous clients. Truly an estate planning specialist, Rich is my go-to resource. Confident with his knowledge and expertise, Rich consistently creates effective and well thought-out estate strategy. Paying particular attention that families fully understand all the components of an estate plan – including a will, power of attorney documents, and advanced health directives – Rich expertly outlines the financial and practical risks families face and recommends appropriate safeguards. For example, he completes scenario planning where successive trustees are named, then laddering them appropriately for individual circumstances. In addition he counsels clients to choose a local family member or trusted friend so they are available for emergencies. In my financial planning practice, I’ve referred Rich countless times; I regularly receive glowing feedback from my clients telling me how pleased they were with his services process. The entire package –convenient office location, dedication from his staff, and great personalized follow through – makes it easy for me to refer The Dayton Law Firm often. Wise, caring and service-oriented, my clients feel well cared for. Rich helps them navigate through a complex (yet critical) process, crafting an estate plan specifically suited to their needs.
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Posted by D. McMillan | November 6, 2010
Trust Administration for Mother's Estate
I first heard about The Dayton Law firm via free seminar. It was clear that Rich Dayton is extremely knowledgeable so I asked him to review my mother’s trust. He confirmed that all the documents were in order, especially important since my mother had a stroke and I was the primary caregiver. After she died, I didn’t realize all the necessary and complex steps in trust administration. Starting with transferring a real estate deed, I immediately called The Dayton Law Firm for help. My brother lives in Texas, which put a lot of pressure on me to sift through mountains of paperwork. Caring and supportive, Geoffrey Lee walked me through each step of the way. What a relief to know I had someone to answer all my questions. The Dayton Law Firm referred me to expert and reliable professionals for tax preparation, appraisals and other services required in settling my mom’s estate. As a result, I saved a lot of money because of their guidance and expertise. For anyone looking to set up an estate plan or administer a trust, The Dayton Law Firm is an excellent choice. They are an honest and caring resource, one that I recommend without hesitation.
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Posted by Arlene | August 24, 2010
Recommendation of Dayton Law Firm
In 1990 my parents set up a trust and after my father passed in 2005, my mother updated her trust with The Dayton Law Firm. Two years ago, my sister died without a will; Rich Dayton and his associate, Geoffrey Lee, helped my mother and I sift through a messy probate. I was so grateful that my mother’s trust was professionally written and managed when she recently died in 2009. Losing three family members in four years, I learned firsthand several important lessons about trust administration, and the value of having estate planning professionals by my side. Having a trust – where all documents are in order and properly recorded – can relieve a tremendous burden to family members. It’s so difficult losing a loved one; the added stress of preparing for a funeral plus coping with critical paperwork was simply overwhelming. I came to rely on The Dayton Law Firm to administer my mother’s trust. They did so with capable compassion and expert responsiveness in tending to countless details to settle her estate. It was such a relief knowing they would take care of everything, including expediting reimbursement for costly expenses related to my mother’s funeral. As a trustee, there are so many essential details – such as notifying and consolidating bank accounts. Most folks don’t understand that there is just so much to be done and the ramifications of each and every decision. The Dayton Law Firm demonstrates personalized care, patience, and kindness throughout the process of administering a trust. They shielded me from unnecessary distractions while tackling complex and time-consuming tasks on my behalf. A wonderful and knowledgeable resource, I highly recommend The Dayton Law Firm.
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Posted by Kent | August 23, 2010
Recommendation for Rich Dayton
As a tax planning professional, I understand the value of a well-thought out estate plan and trust. I hired The Dayton Law Firm because they were the best choice for my family. Proficient in formulating comprehensive plans, we received a personalized and complete trust document that precisely met our needs. Many attorneys often boast about elaborate estate planning moves, promoting out-of-the-ordinary strategies that sound good but just aren’t necessary. Rich Dayton takes care of exactly what needs to be done, to effectively and efficiently transfer assets from one person to another. His rigorous process ensures that all angles are examined, thus customizing appropriate documentation on behalf of his clients. That’s a hallmark of a successful and indispensable estate planning attorney. Trust mills –firms that are glorified “form filler-outers” – often miss important components; by using boilerplate documents not designed to go deep, missing critical details and connecting points. Diligent and proactive in serving families and protecting their assets, Rich Dayton is a tenacious advocate; his firm monitors changes to the law and reaches out when circumstances affect administration of a trust. Rich Dayton also serves as one of my expert, estate planning instructors for the Financial Planning Certificate Program at UC Santa Cruz Extension. In the financial planning community, he has proven to be a resource, one that links abstract law to real-life scenarios when folks don’t do it correctly and unfortunately suffer the consequences. Consistently receiving high marks from students, they appreciate his ability to put things into perspective and relate it directly back their role of planning and preparing their client’s taxes. They learn what they need to know, and more importantly, identify indicators when referrals are warranted. For the client who recognizes that creating an estate plan and trust is an investment, I believe Rich Dayton is a smart choice. If you have children, grandchildren, a business… or any other factors affecting your family’s financial future, The Dayton Law Firm guides you through the process, ensuring you receive a well-constructed estate plan tailored specifically to your needs.
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  • Free Consultation 60 minutes
  • Hourly Rates $ 325-450 per hour
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 8.3 (Excellent)

Work Experience

  • Owner
  • The Dayton Law Firm
  • 1998 - Present
  • Professor
  • University Of California Santa Cruz Extension
  • 2016 - 2020


  • Santa Clara Univ SOL
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1998
  • University of Phoenix
  • undergraduate
  • N/A


  • ElderCounsel
  • Founder (early member)
  • 2008 - Present
  • California Continuing Education of the Bar
  • Estate Planning Advisors Sub-committee
  • 2007 - Present
  • Wealth Counsel
  • Founding Member
  • 2005 - Present
  • NAELA - National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.
  • Member
  • 2005 - Present
  • University of California Santa Cruz Extension
  • Estate Planning Instructor for the CFP(r) Education Program
  • 2005 - Present
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1999 - Present
  • Silicon Valley Bar Association, Trusts and Estates Section
  • Member
  • N/A
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Peer Review Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2020
  • Accredited Attorney
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • 2009
  • Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate
  • California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization
  • 2004


  • Estate Planning Strategies
  • Type of Probate Administration - Formal and Informal
  • 2009

Speaking Engagements

  • The Financial Planning Association
  • Special Estate Planning for Roth IRAs
  • 2009
  • HSBC Client Event
  • Wealth Transfer/Estate Planning/Gifting to Children and Grandchildren
  • 2009
  • Cupertino Senior Center
  • Estate Planning, Medi-cal and Veterans Benefits
  • 2009

Attorney endorsements

Received (6)
Given (1)
Endorse Richard
Unknown Attorney | May 08
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I strongly and sincerely endorse Richard Dayton for his expertise in estate planning and other matters related to trusts & estates. Richard is a highly skilled and compassionate attorney in this community. I have known Richard for more than 25 years and for more than 15 years have met regularly with him as part of an elite group of estate planning and trusts & estates attorneys to discuss complex case issues. Richard's contributions to those discussions have demonstrated to me his exceptional level of knowledge and understanding of the many and complex issues related to estate planning, trusts & estates, as well as his willingness and ability to work well with others. I feel sure that he brings that same level of professionalism, knowledge, skill, and caring to working with his clients."
Estate planning Attorney | May 11
Relationship: Other
"Rich is probably the most detail oriented estate planning attorney I know. He really gets how important it is that the client's plan is right, not just good enough. Rich also keeps up with the latest techniques in estate planning and works with his peers to find the best solutions for his clients. I highly recommend Rich for estate planning."
Estate planning Attorney | May 26
Relationship: Other
"Rich holds a wealth of knowledge about the field of estate planning. He is a consummate technician and works to ensure his estate plans are thorough and will accomplish his client’s goals. Rich spends time with his clients to ensure their estate plan fits their current needs and the needs of the next generation."
Estate planning Attorney | Nov 22
Relationship: Other
"Rich is an extremely disciplined and knowledgeable attorney> He is active at the national level, sharing his advanced understanding of estate planning. I endorse this lawyer wholeheartedly and without any hesitation."
Estate planning Attorney | Jul 27
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. I met Rich several years ago and over the years I have been happy to refer cases to him. I trust that he will always do a great job for my clients and offer his special expertise. I trust that Rich is an expert in any issues related to estate planning and would not hesitate to continue to refer clients to him."
Estate planning Attorney | Jul 20
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I can rely on Rich for my client's complex estate planning matters, knowing he will get the job done in a well thought out manner. He is a pleasure to work with."
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San Jose Estate planning Lawyer Richard Coryell Dayton
Richard Coryell Dayton
Estate planning Attorney
San Jose, CA
Licensed for 25 years
Free Consultation