Trusts & Estates Law/Expert Profile

Janet Brewer

On Vacation
returns 12/31/2016

BE CAREFUL about taking legal advice from non-lawyers.

I am a licensed attorney in California. I am available to answer questions about probating estates, preparing wills and trusts, administering estates and trusts, forming family limited partnerships and limited liability companies, and establishing a wide variety of estate and gift tax-sensitive trusts (charitable trusts, children's trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, etc.).

I can also answer questions regarding the preparation of estate tax returns (Form 706) in taxable estates. Please note that I do not prepare trust income tax returns and cannot provide you with any information about that type of return.

Please note: I am only able to practice law in the State of California. I cannot answer specific questions about other states' laws; I can only provide some "general" information that may or may not apply to your situation.

Experience in the area

I have practiced California estate, gift-planning, and probate law exclusively since 1991. I am certified as a specialist in estate planning and probate law by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization (there are less than 125 such specialists practicing in Santa Clara County and fewer than 7,000 practicing in California - out of over 170,000 lawyers statewide).

I have served as an Instructor in the CFP (certificate in financial planning) program at University of California Santa Cruz, teaching the estate planning segment.


Silicon Valley Bar Association
Wealth Counsel
Wealth Advisors' Forum
Executive Committee Member, Solo and Small Firm Section of the California State Bar (appointed to a 3 year term by the California State Bar Board of Governors)


I received my law degree (J.D.) from University of Denver Law School in 1975. I was admitted to the Colorado Bar in 1975 and to the California Bar in 1977 (NOTE: although I am a member of the Colorado Bar, I am on INACTIVE status there). I earned an M.B.A. in 1982, and I earned a Masters Degree in Taxation Law (LLM) at Golden Gate University Law School in 2010 (with honors).

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Awards and Honors

2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, & 2012 - chosen as a "SuperLawyer" - one of the top 5% of Northern California lawyers practicing in the estate planning and probate area ( Avvo Rating of 10.0/10.0

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rob09/11/14101010Thanks for you clear and concise answer .....
Marcis09/09/14101010Quick response to the question and very .....
rob09/08/14101010You cleared up my concerns about this .....
Felix09/04/14101010Thank you again so much.
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Recent Answers from Janet Brewer

2014-09-12 Probate/Will:

Thank you for your question.  If your father lives in PA, you will need to contact a PA lawyer to find out the answers to your questions.    But as a general rule, if you are trying to keep your sister

2014-09-12 DPOA vs co-trustee on a living trust:

Thank you for your question.  While a DPOA would work while your parents are alive, it ends at their death.  If they have more than $150,000 of assets in their own names at the death of the surviving spouse

2014-09-11 trust amendments:

Thanks for your question.  An amendment is done the way you suggest.  I cannot speak for other lawyers, but I probably would not amend a trust I did not create; I would probably want to do a "restatement"

2014-09-08 Rights of Surviving Spouse; CA Life Estate:

Thank you for your question.  Based on the information you provided, it would not appear that you have any rights to stay in the house if your husband predeceases you.  If your sister-in-law consents,

2014-09-08 trust accounts and durable power of attorney:

Thanks for your question - and for letting me know you're in California.  You're right that financial institutions' requirements are all over the map.    First, when you say your parents would like to


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