Family Wealth & Tax Planning

With the largest full-service Trusts & Estates practice in Northern California, Hopkins & Carley's team of more than 20 professionals offers holistic, integrated solutions for family wealth transfers, business succession and exit strategy planning.

The Personal Touch

For generations, many of Silicon Valley’s most prominent individuals and families have relied on our trust and estate professionals for everything from simple estate planning to sophisticated tax and wealth succession matters and dispute resolution. 

We understand that wealth planning is highly individualized, and that the best solutions are thoughtfully crafted and personalized. This work often involves gift and charitable gift planning and the formation and funding of private foundations, as well as highly specialized planning for owners of closely-held businesses, executives of publicly-held corporations, venture capitalists, angel investors, high net worth individuals, multinational clients and others with sophisticated planning needs.  We also work collaboratively and effectively with our clients’ family offices and financial and other advisors.

“[Hopkins & Carley is] definitely our go-to for the most sophisticated high net worth opportunities....[t]he quality and sophistication of their work is outstanding, the service levels and response time are great, and they have a very strong reputation in the community....they have the biggest presence and the strongest brand with the entrepreneur community and technology firms [in Silicon Valley]."

 – 2017 Chambers High Net Worth Guide

Full Range of Services 

Our full range of wealth transfer solutions includes:

  • Effective wealth transfer and succession while minimizing gift, estate and generation-skipping taxes
  • Business succession planning
  • Contingency planning, including:
    • Trusts
    • Wills
    • Advance health care directives
    • Powers of attorney
  • Irrevocable gift trust planning and formation
  • Trust and estate administration
  • Entity formation
  • Executive compensation arrangements
  • Intergenerational wealth transfer strategies
  • Charitable entities (public and private)
  • Personal exit strategy planning

We often serve as our client’s main point of contact at Hopkins & Carley, while working closely with lawyers in other practice areas.  When necessary, we work with the attorneys in our Corporate, Employment, Litigation, Real Estate, and Tax practices to efficiently integrate their work and efforts.  This cohesive approach gives our clients seamless access to the firm's full expertise while still preserving the advantages of one-on-one interaction with their primary counselor.

  • Represented a family business in its sale to a publicly traded buyer for twice the original offer.  Also transferred shares of the business to trusts for clients’ children in a tax-efficient manner prior to the sale; no gift taxes were paid and the children were set up with a significant amount of wealth.  The remaining proceeds were enough for the parents to purchase a number of properties for rental and personal use, as well as to travel and retire comfortably and securely. 
  • Advised a Bay Area telecommunications pioneer on a variety of business and wealth management matters, including a private family foundation and public charity and establishing an entity to hold property in London.  We also assisted with various household staff employment matters. 
  • Advised the young founder of an early-stage Silicon Valley business about how best to manage the wealth he was building, including through future investment opportunities.  Created an estate plan that provided for irrevocable trusts for the founder’s children, to whom portions of a multiple-series partnership would be assigned and through which various investments would be collectively managed. 
  • Advised client on the structure of a charitable gift allowing the donation to be acknowledged currently by the charity, while providing the donor with the security of ongoing positive cash flow, a charitable deduction against income tax and a deferral of capital gains on the appreciated property contributed to the trust.
  • Worked with an executive and his financial advisors to design and implement an exit strategy from his founded company that met both personal financial and philanthropic goals.
  • Assisted client, whose “dream” was to sell his company and play on the PGA tour, by structuring a tax-advantaged exit strategy that would provide for the client and his family regardless of his professional golf earnings.
  • Hopkins & Carley Guide to Basic Estate Planning Techniques
  • “New Money Means Opportunity for Valley Firm,” February 3, 2016
  • “2016 Tax Update Letter,” January 8, 2016
  • “2015 Tax Update Letter,” February 11, 2015
  • Family Wealth & Tax Planning attorneys, John Golden and Jim Hager, Profiled in Law360, September 9, 2014
  • “Hopkins & Carley Strengthens Family Wealth & Tax Planning Department,” September 8, 2014

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