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Leslie Daff, JD, MBA

Leslie Daff, JD, MBA

Leslie Daff, JD, MBA, is a State Bar Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law, a designation earned by  fewer than 100 of the 15,000 licensed attorneys in the county.  She is also certified as an Estate Planning Law Specialist and has been designated an Accredited Estate Planner® by Estate Law Specialist Board, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils, a designation earned by 3 attorneys in the county.  Formerly with 1,000-attorney international law firm Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP and regional law firms Best Best & Krieger LLP and Palmieri, Tyler, Weiner, Wilhelm & Waldron LLP, she founded Estate Plan, Inc., a professional law corporation, in Laguna Beach and Irvine in 2005. 

Leslie received her BS degree in Finance from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business and her MBA degree from the University of California, Irvine Paul Merage School of Business. Prior to law school, she worked as a Financial Analyst and as Manager of Financial Planning & Analysis at subsidiaries of the Coca-Cola Company and Baxter Healthcare, respectively.

She received her JD degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, where she served as an editor on the Loyola Law School Entertainment Law Review, received the American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence in Legal Research and Writing, the American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence in Ethical/Practical Lawyering, and was installed as a member of the St. Thomas More Law Honor Society. She also served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Sheila Prell Sonenshine, Associate Justice on the California Court of Appeal.

Named for seven consecutive years by the OC Register as one of the region's top lawyers, granted the highest rating of "10/10 Superb" by independent attorney rating service Avvo, and granted the highest designation of "AV Preeminent  5 out of 5" by national legal directory Martindale Hubbell, which signifies her peers rank her at the highest level of professional and ethical excellence, Leslie has also been selected by her peers for inclusion in Southern California Top Rated Lawyers, published by Law.com and the Los Angeles Times every year since its initial publication.  In 2012, the State Bar of California Board of Trustees appointed Leslie to serve as one of nine commissioners on the Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Advisory Commission to advise the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization about its program - and to write the exam - that certifies legal specialists in the area of estate planning, trust and probate law.  In 2015, the State Bar of California Board of Trustees reappointed Leslie to a second 4-year term on the Commission.  

Leslie is co-author of the Estate Planning Considerations chapter update for the State Bar of California Continuing Education of the Bar book Buy-Sell Agreements.  She is co-author and co-editor of the books The Closing Wealth Transfer Window: Post-Election Steps to Take Immediately to Protect Your Family Legacy and Estate Planning Strategies, Collective Wisdom, Proven Techniques.  She is a regular columnist on tax and estate planning matters for The Journal of Financial Planning.  Recent published articles include:

  • Recent 529 plan Changes Add to Their Advantages
  • Near Death Planning and the Zero Basis Rule
  • New Disclosures Could Lead to Penalties for Executors and Heirs
  • The Coming War Over Deductible Fiduciary Expenses
  • Beneficiaries Misbehavin'
  • Avoiding Post-ATRA Trust Tax Rates
  • The New Estate Planning Dilemma: Simplicity or Asset Protection?
  • Independent Contractor or Employee?
  • The Closing Wealth Transfer Windows
  • Do Your Tax Strategies Accomodate the Affordable Care Act?
  • Defining Incapacity in the Modern Estate Plan
  • Selecting and Maintaining Appropriate Fiduciaries in an Estate Plan
  • The Portable Exclusion and the Vanishing Bypass Trust
  • Protecting Your Child's Inheritance: The Beneficiary-Controlled Trust
  • Tax Ramifications and Opportunties Under the New HealthCare Act
  • Keeping the Vacation Home in the Family - Another Use for Limited Liability Companies
  • Are Your Client Files Clean?
  • Twelve Indicators You Need to Update Your Estate Plan
  • Right Strategies Can Maximize Your Charitable Gifts
  • Planning Opportunities in the Government's Response to the Economic Downturn
  • Many Estate Planning Strategies Provide Benefits in Low-Interest-Rate Environment

Leslie has served on the Board of Directors of the South Orange County Bar Association and has been involved with the International Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners.  She is a member of the Orange County Estate Planning Council, the Trusts & Estates Section of the State Bar of California, and the Trusts & Estates Section of the Orange County Bar Association.

She has been involved with a number of organizations and charities, including  the Alumni Board of Directors for the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business and the Dean’s Leadership Circle of the University of California, Irvine Paul Merage School of Business.  She has served as Co-Chair of the Laguna Beach Community Foundation Professional Council, and as a member the Board of Directors for non-profit organizations, Laguna Beach Seniors, Inc. and the Laguna Beach Rotary Club Foundation.  She is a Fellow of the Orange County Bar Foundation Society of Fellows. Leslie provides pro bono legal advice to seniors at the Susi Q Senior Center on a monthly basis.  She regularly speaks on estate planning topics for a variety of groups and organizations, including the Financial Planning Association (FPA), the California Society of Certified Public Accountants (CalCPA), and the National Business Institute (NBI), most recently at the following two-day NBI continuing legal education seminars for attorneys, financial planners, and accountants.



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