Peter Shelton Head Shot

I enjoy estate planning because it helps our clients put things in order, lets them cross an important task off their list, and provides a clear path for their families to move forward after death. I am the father of two high school children, and husband to my wife. I want for my clients the same ease of financial transition I want for my own family.

I entered the estate planning field after my mother passed away some years ago. Her plan was well designed, but not fully implemented. Some parts were easy, because they were set up properly. She had transferred her home into her living trust. I was able to transfer that house to me, the only beneficiary, with two signatures and a visit to a Notary Public. Some parts were painful, taking substantial time and effort. For example, I inherited dozens of stock certificates issued to my step-father as far back as the 1950s. Despite his death over 10 years prior, my mom had never transferred ownership to herself or her trust. Some companies were sending dividends to a PO box closed in 2001. There was a lot of unnecessary work to straighten that out.

I am currently enrolled at Golden Gate University in a graduate law program focused on estate planning. I received my J.D., summa cum laude, from American University’s Washington College of Law in Washington, DC, in 1996. I graduated from U.C. Berkeley when New Wave was still popular.

In my legal career, I have worked for federal judges, one of the largest law firms in the world, and the American Red Cross. When I started my estate planning practice, I had just completed a three month externship in the Alameda County Superior Court. In that position, I assisted a judge in various probate matters, including a multi-day trial over an estate accounting.

I serve as a Temporary Judge in the Probate Department of the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda.  I am also a member of a special panel of probate attorneys called upon by the local judges to serve as Special Administrator (in probate cases), Temporary Trustee (in trust cases) and Guardian Ad Litem (in various cases).

In July 2017, I was certified by the California State Bar as a Certified Specialist Estate in Planning, Trust & Probate Law. Read more about that certification here!

In my spare time, I am an active member of the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay, (in conjunction with the Volunteers in Policing program of the Oakland Police Department). I am a former President of the Bateman Neighborhood Association in Berkeley.

I am a past President of the local estate planning bar association, East Bay Trusts and Estates Lawyers.