James B. Creighton, Esq.



The complexity of our federal and state tax laws and the changes to those laws by Congress and the California legislature make estate planning increasingly important to everyone. For over 15 years, James (“Jay”) B. Creighton has specialized in providing estate planning, trust, probate, and elder law services to individuals, married couples, and unmarried couples. He works closely with his clients, listens carefully to their goals and objectives regarding the disposition of their property both during their lifetimes and after their deaths, and then drafts customized estate planning documents that accomplish those goals & objectives while minimizing—wherever possible—the estate, gift, and other transfer taxes that are imposed on the transfer of their property.

For example, one client may need only a basic Will, a Power of Attorney for Property Management (also referred to as a General Durable Power of Attorney), and an Advance Health Care Directive to meet his estate planning objectives. Another client may prefer the flexibility of a Revocable Living Trust (also referred to as a revocable inter vivos trust) as the centerpiece of her estate plan, which would also include a Will, a Power of Attorney for Property Management, and an Advance Health Care Directive. Still another client may have amassed an estate of such size and complexity that she needs additional estate planning devices to limit–to the maximum extent possible–the transfer taxes that would be triggered upon her death. Such estate plannign devices might include an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT), a Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT), a Grantor Retained Unitrust (GRUT), or a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT), all of which can provide substantial savings in estate taxes. Jay and his staff work diligently to customize estate plans that address and meet the needs of their clients; they don’t force clients to accept “cookie cutter” estate plans that fall needlessly short in accomplishing their objectives.

Jay provides the following estate planning services to his clients:

  • Wills & Testaments (e.g., Short & Long Form Wills, Pour Over Wills, Wills with provisions for Testamentary Trusts)
  • Powers of Attorney for Property Management & Financial Matters
  • Advance Health Care Directives
  • Revocable Living Trusts (including Trust Funding Services)
  • Irrevocable Living Trusts, including Life Insurance Trusts, Charitable Trusts, Grantor Retained Trusts and Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts (including Trust Funding Services)
  • Property Agreements Between Spouses and Domestic Partners
  • Sophisticated Beneficiary Designations for One’s Retirement & Life Insurance Benefits, including Designated Beneficiary Trusts
  • Family Business Succession Plans
  • Family Limited Partnerships & Limited Liability Companies
  • “S” & “C” Corporations
  • Asset Protection Trusts
  • Long Term Care Planning (Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medi-Cal Program of California)

Jay’s Academic & Professional Credentials including the following:

  • Adjunct Professor (Lecturer on Wills & Trusts); UC Hastings College of the Law, 2011-
  • October 2006, Certified by The State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization as a Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law
  • Expert Witness in Estate Planning and Trust Administration matters
  • Frequent Lecturer on Estate Planning matters to Estate Planning Councils and other professional groups on the Peninsula
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association, CLE Lecturer (Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples)
  • December 1994, Admitted to the practice of law in California
  • May 1994, J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, California
  • December 1988, B.S. in Business Administration, summa cum laude graduate, California State University, Los Angeles
  • May 1979, Honors Graduate, Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire

 Jay’s Professional Affiliations include:

  • Member of the Peninsula Estate Planning Council (PEPC), Member of Board of Directors 2009-2010
  • Member of the San Mateo County Bar Association—Estate Planning & Probate Section
  • Member of the Silicon Valley Bar Association
  • Member of the State Bar of California, including the Trusts & Estates Section
  • Member of the American Bar Association, including the Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section

His Civic Affiliations include the following:

  • San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce, Member of Board of Directors (2003 to 2007)
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the San Mateo County Leadership Program (2004 to 2007)
  • Member of the Rotary Club of San Mateo (1999 to 2006), Former Member of Rotary Club Board of Directors (2002 to 2005) Sergeant at Arms (2002-2003)
  • Founder, United American Bank of San Mateo

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