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Achieving Results Dedication to Excellence (925) 258-0123

Keith Schiller

E-mail MeKeith Schiller

Orinda, California
(925) 258-0123
(925) 258-4040

Dedication to Excellence

Mr. Schiller is dedicated to excellence, in both his profession and career. He is routinely requested by clients and other professionals to help solve complex problems, achieve major tax savings, and advise on an extensive range of issues. Keith lectures on estate planning to professionals approximately 12 days each year, teaching to over 1,700 professionals annually. He authored Estate Planning At The Movies® – Art of the Estate Tax Return, a comprehensive textbook (864 pages plus a 2011 supplement). Keith has also authored over 12 course texts, written over three dozen published articles, and assisted hundreds of clients and professionals with their thorniest problems. Keith is among a select few attorneys in California to be dually certified in two specialties by the California State Bar. He received the CalCPA Education Foundation's award for Outstanding Course Materials in 2001 and 2010-2011, selected from a curriculum of over 150 courses and 600 events offered by that acclaimed organization.

Keith is routinely requested by accountants and attorneys throughout California to review estate and gift tax returns, in addition to consulting or representing clients on audits, appeals, and Tax Court matters. Clients benefit from Keith’s commitment to provide effective advice in a thorough and efficient manner, a result of his co-teaching with I.R.S. estate tax attorneys and managers since 1997 and his passion to stay current in the changes of law.

Mr. Schiller's focus with estate planning began at Boalt Hall School of Law where he selected several estate planning electives. Having begun practice in 1974 with his father's firm, Keith received an entre to a clientele a generation his senior. This exposed Keith to a range of issues and a net worth of client that is not normally occasioned by a young attorney. His commitment to estate planning excellence has endured through the years. Keith has lectured professionally in California, Florida, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Delaware, British Columbia, Washington, Hawaii and Washington, D.C.

Practical Experience of Extensive Breadth and Depth

Mr. Schiller's practice predominantly relates to estate planning (including business formation and succession planning), trust and estate administration, and compliance with complex issues. Keith has retained many of his clients through decades of practice. With his long-term clients he is requested as well to advise on a wide array of business and personal planning considerations of extensive and strategic quality, including business sales and re-organization, compensation planning, long-term planning, and issues related to the dynamics of families.

From 1998-2001, Keith was a member of The Executive Committee (TEC), an international organization of business owners who meeting monthly to help solve concerns with business direction and personal life quality. As a result, Keith enjoys a diverse exposure to issues and planning considerations beyond the breadth of a typical law practice. These include consultation on employment and marketing plans, gift planning, development of charitable foundations, creation of partnerships and limited liability companies, compensation planning, securing retirement, and the development of long-term personal and business objectives.

Mr. Schiller's estate planning includes the full array of services required by a successful investor or business owner, as well as assisting beneficiaries, trustees, and executors with disputes over inheritances, administration, and family business. These services include living trusts and wills; irrevocable trusts; charitable trusts; tax-exempt organizations; foundations; family partnerships, limited liability companies and corporations; gift planning; 'intentionally defective' grantor trusts (IDGTs); grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATS); business succession planning; trust and estate administration; installment sales; GST transfer tax planning and avoidance; estate planning and compliance; accountings; post-death estate planning; and disputes over bequests and inheritances.

Representative business planning and transaction services include business purchases and sales; organization of corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies; strategic planning; retirement planning and security for transaction of the entrepreneur's or executive's interest in the family or closely held business; stock options; and, stock sales.

Client-Focused Approach

Mr. Schiller strives to problem solve and achieve the objectives desired by the client. This necessitates listening to the client, focusing upon what the client says and evaluating these desires in the unique context presented by each client. As a result, planning is tailored to the client, not then fitted to meet a pre-conceived notion.

Clients are encouraged to place non-tax considerations first so that the tax plan is molded to conform to the client's non-tax wishes. He also acknowledges the role of family dynamics, the physiology of money, and the importance of blending extensive considerations to execute business or estate plans that achieve positive results for the client. (See article, Prozac and Estate Planning for Families.) He encourages clients and professionals to develop a team approach to planning. He regularly consults with other professionals, recognizing that clients are best served with complex issues when the best thinking of the client's team lend their perspective to a given plan.

Unique Insight to the IRS Audit and Dispute Process

Apart from extensive business and estate planning services, Keith has represented taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service since 1975. He has benefited from gathering important insight to the audit and dispute resolution process, as well as advocacy in Appeals and Tax Court.

During the past several years, Keith has co-taught the highly popular course, Advanced Issues: The Art of the Estate Tax Return, an all-day continuing education course for accountants and attorneys. He has taught this course with IRS Estate Tax Attorneys or Appeals Officers, providing the attendees a provocative point-counterpoint to a variety of controversial issues as well as tips on how to achieve the best result for the client. 

Commitment to the Community

Keith was born and raised in San Francisco, Calif., residing throughout his adult life in Alamo, Calif. Beginning as an undergraduate at University of California, Los Angeles (where he was Student Body President and founder of the UCLA Legal Aide Service), Keith has been an effective contributor to a variety of community causes, including:

·         Chairman of the Yosemite License Plate Committee, during the course of which Keith lobbied the passage for the Yosemite License Plate, the largest selling special-interest license plate in California. As chairman, Keith also coordinated the state-wide marketing campaign for the sale of the plate. The Yosemite License Plate has raised in excess of $25 million for preservation of Yosemite National Park and California conservation

·         Founding Chairman of the East Bay Chapter of the Yosemite Fund, a group that began with many of the friends with whom Keith visits Yosemite. This chapter raised over $200,000 for the restoration of the Happy Isles area in Yosemite Valley, and provided vital support for the Yosemite License Plate campaign.

·         Serving as Chairman of the Anti-Defamation League's Law and Public Policy Committee, a committee which submitted amicus curiae briefs in significant cases to combat discrimination.

·         Fund-raiser for the Stone Valley Middle School PTA, bringing to that school, where his son attended, the opportunity to host a premier of The Swan Princess, an animated full-length motion picture, in 1993. They even raised over $25,000 for technology equipment.

·         San Ramon Valley Little League, Manager

Keith resides with his wife, Jane, with whom he has raised 3 children.

Areas of Practice

  • Joint Ventures
  • Transactions
  • Business Organizations
  • Closely Held Businesses
  • Formation & Business Planning
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Partnerships
  • Business Successions
  • Probate & Estate Administration
  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Taxation Law
  • Corporate Taxation
  • Estate & Gift Taxation
  • Income Taxation

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1974
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California, 1974
  • U.S. Tax Court, 1987


  • Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley, California
    • J.D.
  • Golden Gate University, San Francisco
    • MBA, Taxation
  • University of California, Los Angeles
    • B.A.
    • Honors: Student Body President, 1970-1971
    • Major: Political Science

Published Works

  • "Estate Planning At The Movies® For Attorneys Before Commissioner Green", Contra Costa County Bar Association, Contra Costa Lawyer February, 2010
  • "Estate Planning At The Movies® — for CPAs", Arizona Society of CPAs, ASCPA eNews, November 24, 2009
  • "Estate Planning At The Movies® — Estate Planning in Tough Times", BNA, Tax Management, Estates, Gifts and Trusts Journal, Vol. 34, No. 5, September-October, 2009
  • "Estate Planning At The Movies® — Estate Planning: Cinema CPAs What Can We Learn From Estate Planning At The Movies?", CalCPA Magazine, May, 2009
  • "Estate Planning At The Movies®", Leimberg Information Services, Inc. Newsletter, Archive Message #1326, 2008
  • "Estate Planning At The Movies®", BNA, Tax Management, Estates, Gifts and Trusts Journal, Vol. 33, No. 4, July — August, 2008
  • "Leaf Hoppers and the Prudent Investor Act", BNA Estates, Gifts and Trusts Journal, July, 2007
  • "Valuation Benefits with Leveraged Co-Ownerships May Exceed Entity-Related Valuation Adjustments for Minority Interests", Leimberg Information Services®, Inc., December, 2006
  • "IRS Clarifies, Liberalizes and Pragmatically Applies Sec. 6166 to Real Estate", BNA Estates, Gifts and Trusts Journal, September, 2006
  • "Rev. Rul. 2004-64-IRS Powerboosts Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts", Leimberg Information Services®, Inc., January, 2005
  • "Ode to the Estate Tax Return ... a Poetic Approach to Form 706, Audits and Estate Planning", Leimberg Information Services®, Inc., September, 2004
  • "IRS Studies Auger a New Age in Estate Planning: Change Your Practice or Become Obsolete, BNA Estates, Gifts and Trust Journal, November, 2003
  • "IRS Announces Guidelines for Advance Rulings on Partnerships vs. Co-Ownership Status: Significant Estate Planning and Income Tax Consequences from Unwanted Characterization", BNA Estates, Gifts and Trusts Journal, March, 2003
  • "Piercing the Partition Fiction for Fractional Interest Valuation", Trusts and Estate Magazine, July, 2000
  • "Survey of IRS Attorney Views on Estate Tax Audit Issues", CEB, Estate Planning and California Probate Reporter, February, 2000
  • "Prozac and Estate Planning for Families", Trusts and Estates Magazine, November, 1998
  • "Buy-Sell and Other Restrictive Agreements: Weaving the Fine Line Between Business Objectives and Estate Tax and the Importance of Consistency", BNA Estates, Gifts and Trusts Journal, September, 1998
  • "GST Planning Without the Smoke and Mirrors: Benefits and Opportunities for Many Clients Overlooked by Their Estate Planners", BNA Estates, Gifts and Trusts Journal, May/June, 1996

Representative Clients

  • Ms. Amy Alcott
  • Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Bartlett
  • Robert G. Brosamer and Charles Wall
  • Glenn Garrard, Owner & President of Bittree, Inc.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Tom Hale
  • Mr. Paul Handlery
  • Johannessen Trading Company
  • Mr. and Mrs. Steven Pleau
  • Mechanics Bank
  • Wells Fargo Bank
  • Ron and Monica Witherspoon, principal shareholders of RWI


  • Bauerle & Lee, and Associates, CPAs
  • Bittree, Inc. which designs, tests and produces high quality patching systems to the entertainment and broadcast industries
  • Robert G. Brosamer, Brosamer & Wall, and R&L Brosamer, Inc. Bob received the 2007 Golden Beaver Award for the category of Management
  • CalCPA Education Foundation
  • Brown and Streza LLP
  • Future Ford
  • Mechanics Bank
  • Ron Witherspoon, Inc. (RWI) of Castroville & Campbell, is the recipient of outstanding service awards from the private & public sectors.


  • Comprehensive Estate Planning Workshop, CalCPA Education Foundation
  • Advanced Issues: The Art of the Estate Tax Return, CalCPA Education Foundation, 2010 - Present
  • Preparing Form 706: The Federal Estate Tax Return (Also available as a webcast), CalCPA Education Foundation, 2010 - Present
  • Introduction to Form 706, CalCPA Education FOundation, 2010 - Present
  • Advanced Estate Tax Return Preparation, CalCPA Education Foundation, 2010 - Present
  • Advanced Estate Planning Workshop, CalCPA Education Foundation, 2008 - Present
  • Gift Taxes and Form 709, CalCPA Education Foundation, 2005 - Present
  • Estate Planning for Individuals and Business Owners after the 2001 Tax Act, CalCPA Education Foundation, 2002 - 2010
  • Executive Compensation and Wealth Preservation, Oregon CPA Society, 2001
  • Estate Tax, Gift Tax and GST Tax under the 2001 Tax Act, CalCPA Education Foundation (Three half day conferences in California), 2001
  • GST Tax From A to Z, CalCPA Education Foundation, 2000 - Present
  • Business Succession Planning for the Closely-Held Business Owner, CalCPA Education Foundation (A full day course with CE Credit) (revised: 2001 and each year thereafter), 2000 - 2002
  • GST Tax and Business Succession Planning, CalCPA Education Foundation, 1999 - Present
  • Control Issues in Estate Planning, A recurring presentation given to estate planning councils throughout California, 1999 - Present
  • Hot Topics of the Estate Tax Return (Co-taught regularly with IRS Estate Tax Attorneys, Managers, Or Appeal Officers), CalCPA Education Foundation, 1997 - 2008
  • Federal Estate Tax: 706 Returns from Filing through Appeals with Insight from the IRS, CalCPA Education Foundation, (Text Annually Updated), 1997 - Present
  • How to Market and Sell Estate Planning Services, CalCPA Education Foundation (A full day course with CE Credit) (Revised: Each year 1996 and 1997), 1995 - 1997
  • Using Trusts with Income and Estate Planning, CalCPA Education Foundation, (A full day course with CE Credit) (Revised: Each year 1994 - 1998), 1993 - 1998
  • Estate Planning for the Wealthy Client, CalCPA Education Foundation, 1992 - 1996
  • Fundamentals of Form 706, California CPA Society, 1989 - 1991
  • Income Taxation of Estates and Trusts, CalCPA Education Foundation, 1987 - 1989
  • Estate and Gift Tax (Semester course in MS/MA [Taxation] program), Golden Gate University, 1986 - 1987
  • Estate Planning (Semester course in MB/MBA [Taxation] program), CalCPA Education Foundation, 1985 - 1986
  • The Flip-Side of Discounts, Advanced Estate Planning Conference, CalCPA Education Foundation

Honors and Awards

  • Twice awarded for Outstanding Teaching Materials by the CalCPA Education Foundation, 2001 and 2010-2011
  • AV Rated in Martindale-Hubbell

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • The Yosemite Fund, 1988 - 2010
  • East Bay Chapter Yosemite Fund, Founding Chairman, 1987
  • UCLA Alumni Association, 1971 - Present
  • Yosemite Fund, License Plate Committee, Chairman, 1991 - 1997
  • San Ramon Valley Little League, Manager, 1992 - 1993

Past Employment Positions

  • Schofield & Schiller, Shareholder, 1992 - 2003
  • Burnhill, Morehouse, Burford, Schofield & Schiller, Shareholder, 1985 - 1991
  • Schiller & Schiller, Shareholder, 1979 - 1985

Pro Bono Activities

  • Fundraised over $25 million for Yosemite National Park, through lobbying and chair of the marketing campaign for Yosemite License Plate, 1991

Ancillary Businesses

  • Review or Preparation of Estate and Gift Tax Returns
  • Strategic Planning for Business Creation and Succession
  • General Counsel

Schiller Law Group, PLC
4 Orinda Way, Suite 280B
Orinda, CA 94563
Phone: (925) 258-0123 or (310) 394-4529
Fax: (925) 258-4040

Keith Schiller is the creator of:
Estate Planning At The Movies®