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Thomas W. Shaver is senior counsel to the firm with a specialization in estate and tax planning. He has thirty-five years of experience in the areas of estate and tax planning, the use of trusts to accomplish planning goals in a tax efficient manner, trust and probate administrations and estate and gift tax preparation.

He is a member of the bar in both California and Massachusetts and is admitted before the U.S. Tax Court. Mr. Shaver is certified by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law.

Since September 2014 he has served as a member of the Executive  Committee  of the Trusts and Estates Section of the California State Bar. The Executive Committee reviews legislation affecting trust and estate practice in California  and provides guidance to practitioners statewide  on the  highest  standards  of that practice. The Executive Committee publishes the Trusts and Estates Quarterly. Mr. Shaver currently acts as the liaison with counsel for the Judiciary Committee of the state Senate and Assembly to obtain passage of a Committee-sponsored legislative proposal to add greater flexibility to marital deduction trusts. He began his association with the executive committee as a contributor to the Guide to the California Rules of Professional Conduct for Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Counsel.

Mr. Shaver is the author of “Sharpen Your Pencil – the New Circular 230 Regulations” and “Addressing the New Return Preparer Standards: Preparation Not Panic,” both published in Trusts and Estates Quarterly, and he was asked  to speak on the ethical obligations of  tax preparers  arising from  the  Circular 230 regulations. Most recently he is the author of “Qualifying as a Trade of Business Under the Final Net Investment Income Tax Regulations”, discussing the application of the net investment  income  tax to family  owned businesses.  He is the author or contributor of the monthly newsletters that keep our clients informed of current changes in federal and California tax law, and case law that affects estate planning  and administration.

He has presented a wide range of estate planning topics at the Alameda County Bar Association and the East Bay Tax Club, including estate planning in light of current legislative developments in federal estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes, managing family limited  partnership  to  address current federal tax cases, gift tax valuations in preferred stock recapitalizations and statutory protections against elder abuse. In connection with his former  practice in Boston, Massachusetts he was appointed as an adjunct professor at Boston University and taught a range of topics to paralegals including estate  tax valuation  and calculation.

His  areas  of  expertise include:

Estate Planning. Preparation of joint revocable trusts and separate property trusts for single and married individuals; generation-skipping trusts; qualified domestic trusts for non-citizen spouses; preparation of trust amendments and review of procedures for amendment in the event of incapacity; review of general and limited powers of appointment and preparation of exercise of the powers including related estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax planning; preparation of irrevocable life insurance trusts and related planning for separate and community property trust contributions to pay premiums; preparation of qualified personal residence trusts and  related  property  ownership agreements; preparation of grantor retained interest trusts;  drafting of charitable remainder trusts and related  planning,  preparation of special needs trusts; review of estate planning documents prepared by other attorneys.

Business Planning. Preparation of family limited partnership agreements and limited liability company operating agreements and related tax projections and planning letters; funding of family partnerships to avoid change in  ownership  for property tax purposes and related property tax  issues;  preparation and review of buy-sell agreements for S Corporations and C Corporations; co­ ordination of business succession planning with trust documentation and lifetime gift planning.

Estate and Gift Tax Compliance. Preparation of estate tax returns including review of all issues regarding inclusion and valuation; review of generation­ skipping allocations; review of prior year gift tax returns and calculation of deduction for gift tax paid; review proration of estate tax; review of qualification for estate tax deferral; response to examination of returns including defense of family partnership entities and aggregation of closely held business interests for deferral qualification; review installment agreements and real property liens to qualify election for deferred estate taxes; advice to clients on minimum required distributions from qualified retirement plans and IRAs and inclusion in gross estate.

Trust Administration. Representation of individual and professional trustees in completing the administrative trust after a settlor’s death; review and advice on fiduciary duties; trust divisions of joint revocable trusts after the death of the deceased spouse including preparation of Memorializations of Allocation and related transfer documents; review of income tax  consequences  of  trust  property allocations; preparation of petitions to transfer community property in trust on behalf of an incapacitated  spouse; preparation  of trust related petitions to confirm trust property and for construction of trust instruments; review of private accountings and accounts in statutory form for approval by the court; preparation of petitions for approval of trustee’s account; review of fiduciary income tax consequences.

Probate Administration. Preparation of Petitions for Probate and all related pleadings; preparation of Spousal Property Petitions; preparation of disclaimers and related planning; court appearances to admit wills to probate and to obtain appointment of personal representative; preparation of pleadings to comply with Creditor’s Claim procedure; determination of heirship and division of probate estate; review of probate accounts and drafting and prosecution of petitions for preliminary  and final distribution.


August 1982 – December 2000
Sole Practitioner,  Boston, Massachusetts

Sole practitioner specializing in areas of tax, estate planning, probate and trust administration, real estate and small businesses. Extensive experience in establishing, implementing and  administering  estate  plans,  including  analysis of Federal and Massachusetts estate tax liabilities, presentation  of  comprehensive estate planning and preparation of all relevant documentation. Extensive experience in lifetime estate and gift planning, Medicaid benefits planning strategies and preservation of property  for  subsequent  generations.  Tax practice focused on individual and  fiduciary  income  tax  returns  and returns for small businesses including  relevant  intergenerational,  retirement  and business tax planning, tax consultation and escrow services for like kind exchanges.

February, 1996

Instructor for Boston University, continuing education for paralegals, Advanced Estate Tax Issues. Topics for four session course included review of  standard trust language; equalization of estates; valuation of closely held corporations including minority and lack of marketability discounts;  allocation  of  estate  taxes under Massachusetts law; estate and generation skipping tax issues with regard  to retirement  accounts  and excess retirement  accumulations tax.

September, 1989 – September, 1996

Instructor with the Boston University Certificate Program for Paralegal Studies, including development  of a practical  skills course to enable paralegal  students  to take responsibility for all aspects of a routine probate proceeding from filing the initial Petition to obtaining Judgment allowing the Final Account. Introduction to core concepts of Federal and Massachusetts estate tax law and preparation of Estate Tax returns. Lectures on relevant  issues of probate law and practice.

September, 1991

Co-author of text for use in paralegal studies course,  discussion of relevant legal and tax issues from a practical skills standpoint, appendix of prepared forms and all relevant statutes.

Panelist, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education

July, 1996 Estate Tax Returns Basics for Paralegals
September, 1997 Out of State Probates: Resources for the Paralegal


Boston University School of Law, J.D., 1980

Williams College, B.A., 1976


Gift Tax Returns and the Disclosure Game
East Bay Tax Club, May 21, 2013
Mowat Mackie and Anderson LLP, June 6, 2013

Recently Issued Guidance on Completing Form 8939
East Bay Tax Club, September 20, 2011

The December 2010 Tax Compromise – New Income Estate and Gift Tax Rules
East Bay Tax Club, February 15, 2011
Alameda County Bar Association Business Law Section, February 24, 2011

Preferred Stock Recapitalizations – Joint Presentation with Thomas Maier
East Bay Tax Club, October 20, 2009

Planning for Wealth Transfer Tax Changes
East Bay Tax Club, January 20, 2009

Son of Preparer Penalties – the Thrilling Sequel
East Bay Tax Club, March 18, 2008

Sharpen Your Pencil – New Circular 230 Tax Preparer Standards
East Bay Tax Club, March 15, 2005
Alameda County Bar Association, July 13, 2005


Qualifying as a Trade of Business Under the Final Net Investment Income Tax Regulations
California Trusts and Estates Quarterly, Volume 20, Issue 2, 2014

Addressing the New Return Preparer Standards – Preparation Not Panic
California Trusts and Estates Quarterly, Summer 2008

Sharpen Your Pencil – New Circular 230 Tax Preparer Standards
California Trusts and Estates Quarterly, Summer 2005


Member. Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the California Bar
Subcommittee Associations: Ethics, Trust and
Estate Administration and Estate Planning
East Bay Trust and Estates Lawyers
Contra Costa County Bar Association East Bay Tax Club
Diablo Valley Estate Planning Council


Singing tenor with the Jazz City Singers, an amateur group that performs original arrangements of swing era classics

Permit holder with the East Bay Municipal Utility District, hiking the trails around local  reservoirs.

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