Consulting: To answer your important estate planning, business succession and tax return preparation concerns and provide direction toward the optimal course of action.
Keith Schiller, Esq.
Keith Schiller is dedicated to excellence. 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 including reviewing estate and gift tax returns, 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 IRS estate tax attorneys and managers since 1997 and his passion to stay current on the changes of law.
Keith lectures on estate planning to professionals approximately 15 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, which is now in its Second Edition and proudly published by Bloomberg Law. Keith has also authored more than 12 course texts, written more than 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.
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, Mr. Schiller received an entre to a clientele a generation his senior. This exposed Mr. Schiller to a range of issues and a net worth of clients 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, New Mexico, 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 meet 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 practice 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 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.
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, California, residing throughout his adult life in Alamo, California. 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:
Serving as 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 $45 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.
Serving as Manager for the San Ramon Valley Little League.
Keith resides with his wife, Jane Schiller, with whom he has raised 3 children.
Areas of Practice Consultations:
Closely Held Businesses
Formation & Business Planning
Limited Liability Companies
Probate & Estate Administration
Estate & Gift Taxation
The firm is focused on planning, not document drafting
U.S. District Court Northern District of California, 1974
U.S. Tax Court, 1987
Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley, California
Golden Gate University, San Francisco
University of California, Los Angeles
Honors: Student Body President, 1970-1971
Major: Political Science
Bloomberg Law Books: Art of the Estate Tax Return — Estate Planning At The Movies®, Second Edition (and yearly supplements in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020). Copyright Keith Schiller © 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.
Innovative Estate Planning Productions, Inc. (Official Publisher for the Schiller Law Group, a PLC): Estate Planning At The Movies® — Art of the Estate Tax Return, First Edition. June 2010.
The Sequel - Supplement Two, Dec. 2012
The Sequel - Supplement One, Aug. 2011
Leimberg Information Services Newsletter: “Estate Planning At The Movies® — 2001 and Beyond Now a Professional's Odyssey -- Commentary for Professional Practices in the Future." February 2017.
Leimberg Information Services Newsletter: “Estate Planning At The Movies® — Willy Wonka, La La Land and why the Death of the 2704 Nightmare Should not Become Your Shared Dream." January 2017.
Leimberg Information Services Newsletter: “Estate Planning At The Movies® — Insure Against Being a Bad Santa andHaving to Pay to Raise Grandchildren." December 2015.
Leimberg Information Services Newsletter: “Estate Planning At The Movies® — Ted 2 Inspires Analysis of Administrative Expense Deductions for Pre-Distribution Pet Care." November 2015.
Leimberg Information Services Newsletter: “Estate Planning At The Movies® — Quicksand and Portability.” Jan. 2014.
Bloomberg Law, Estates, Gifts and Trusts Journal: “Estate Planning At The Movies® — QTIP Trusts, the New Lion King.” March 2013.
(Over 3 dozen more not listed.)
See, "Articles" tab of website for samples of recent articles.
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
Review or Preparation of Estate and Gift Tax Returns
Strategic planning for business creation and succussion