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Any updated recommendations for an ARAG-listed attorney in the Richmond-to-
Oakland corridor who is good with wills, trusts, and the like? Thanks --
I don't know what ''ARAG-listed Lawyer'' means but I know that
Richard Lee has decades of experience as an attorney,
specializing in wills, trusts, etc. 510.272.0200. Office is
at 11 Embarcadero West, Suite 140, near Jack London Square in
I noticed on the Berkeley Parents Network that there are very
few reviews of attorneys that are covered under the ARAG Legal
Plan for UCB employees. If you have had any experience with any
of the attorneys on the plan for any legal matter, please reply
and let us all know what you thought of the service, good or
bad, and the legal issue. I recently had a bad experience and
will share it as well.
We HIGHLY recommend Sara Diamond, found off this list. She's
conveniently located in downtown Berkeley. She's straighforward,
hard working, kind and a great listener. She's in the midst of
doing our wills and trusts. We feel we're in great hands
If your divorce is amicable, Margaret Hill is nice and will do a good job. Her office is in
Berkeley (near Ashby on College).
If your divorce is not amicable, pay the money up front for the best lawyer you can get.
Find someone who you think you can trust to make decisions that you can live with later. It
is even more incumbant to do that if you have children. The more attuned your lawyer is
with you, the less stress you will have, the better you will be able to help your children
through the pain. Remember, it's not who wins or loses the sound system but who comes out
more whole so that they can heal and move on
Poor yet happy to be single
I am looking for current/recent recommedations for an attorney
who accepts the UC Legal Plan (ARAG) to draw up a living
will/trust. I checked the website, and there are no recent
Herb Gee in Berkeley drafted my will, DPA, living trust and
other documents and he is available on the ARAG plan. He was
fine, it was all very straightfoward.
We want to draw up a will and possibly a trust using one of the lawyers
in the UC Legal Plan (now administered by ARAG.) Does anyone have
any recommendations on lawyers that are currently in this plan? I
noticed that the hourly rates vary widely (from $150-300/hr)--is this a
case where you get what you pay for? Do more experienced lawyers
tend to charge more?
Some of the participating lawyers:
In Berkeley: Cliff Capdevielle, Robert Anderson, Duane Leonard, Hale
Kronenberg, Martin Elmer, Herbert Gee, Zachary Epstein.
In Oakland: Frank Offen, Henry Epstein, Robert Glickstein, Lane Parker,
Robert Bolt, Doris Figman, David Sternfeld.
In Alameda: Nancy Hoffman, Ron Bochner
In Orinda: Tasos Geron, Edgar Lana
Also, how was your experience with the ARAG plan? Can a will and
trust and other advance directives be completed within the initial 8
hours, or will we need to spend more time (and money)? We have a
daughter we need to designate a guardian for, but otherwise, minimal
assets (no property, etc.) Do we need to fill out any forms ahead of
time? Would it be helpful to assemble a basic will or trust using Nolo
Press books and software first, or is this unnecessary?
The archived recommendations are minimal, and also don't address the
new plan administrator (ARAG) and other questions.
Trying to get our wills together
I've used ARAG (not through UC) for several years now for wills.
Our plan includes wills as part of the package -- no extra fees,
not hourly -- and included healthcare directives, powers of
attorney etc. We haven't set up a trust (not enough asset to
warrant) but my understanding is that if it's basic, it's
included. You might want to check out the website and see what
kind of law the attorneys listed specialize in when choosing -- I
chose mine based on geography because we didn't have any special
needs. It's a pretty easy process, you meet w/ the lawyer,
discuss your needs, assets, special concerns, how you want the
proceeds directed etc. They draw up the will, send it to you to
review, make any changes, and you come back in to
It will be helpful if you have everyone's full legal name,
address, relationship, what your assets are, how you want it to
be divided, and in what order, whether certain items are excluded
(you've already designated a beneficiary), specific items that
will go to specific persons, who you want to assign as the
executor etc. As a side note, sit down and make a list of
all your assets, account numbers, institutions, locations etc. so
should something happen to you, it can be accessed easily.
The hourly rate are for when you use their lawyers for trials
and such, all other services listed are included unless noted
In the meantime, prepare a holographic will until you get that
one drawn up. Basically, just write out what you want done in
your own handwriting and sign it. It would be helpful to have a
witness but not necessary. This handwritten note will hold up in
court as a legal document until you get the formal will drawn up.
I'm looking for a lawyer to help us adopt our foster children.
The following are provided free through the UC Berkeley Legal
Care program (the ''Arag Group''). Does anyone have experience
with any of them, good or bad?
Jaime Alcabes; Regis Amann; Michael Amthor; David Biasotti;
Thomas Bishop; Albert Boasberg; Robert Borris Jr.; Jb Brainerd;
Brooke Brigham; Cliff Capdevielle; Brian Chase; Hermin Dowe;
Martin Elmer; Timothy Fricker; Tasos Geron; C. Gibson;
Wendy Gibson; Merle Harding; Samuel Joens; Albert Kun;
Anthony Lowenstein; Norman Macleod; James Mccarthy; Kay Mears;
Frannie Mok-Wang; John Noonan; Frank Offen; Ora Prochovnick;
Veronica Panella; Dean Shotwell; John Stringer; David Tomcik;
Also, has anyone had good experience with an attorney not on
this list for adoption/De Facto Parenthood status?
Thanks for any insights you can provide - you can email me off-
line or to the network-
I've known Ora Prochovnik over email... she is extremely sharp
and takes her job very seriously. I'd recommend her without
reservation--and I've seen several couples do just that, with
regard to adoption.
Can anyone give advice (good or bad) about their experiences
using lawyers available through Signature Legal Services (the UCB
legal insurance plan.) We would like to set up the necessary
documents for a revokable living trust etc. and just basically
put our estate affairs in order.
The information from the insurance company is incredibly
confusing, so I thought I'd ask the list. It would be especially
helpful to hear the names of lawyers people have used to do this
in the Berk/Oakland area.
Zachary Epstein is a participating attorney with Signature Legal
insurance. I worked with him to have a living trust, a will and
a durable power of attorney prepared. Based on that experience,
I recommend him without reservation. He was easy to work with
and knew what he was doing. His office is near campus, at 1915
Addison St. in Berkeley, and his telephone number is 510-841-
4500. Nice guy too.
I would like to know how to enroll in the legal care
program offered by UC Berkeley. My husband is a faculty
and according to the source he enquired from said that
we could only enroll during 'open enrollment' period.
Is there any way we could enroll now? We are both from
abroad and have no relatives here. We feel uncomfortable
without will or plan if anything happens to us because
we have two kids. If you know anything about UC legal
care program, please let me know. I tried to call
several places on campus but no one responds to my call.
You should check for sure with your Department Benefits person,
but my understanding of Legal Care is that unless you sign up
through your Period of Inital Enrollment (PIE) you can only
get the insurance every other year during Open Enrollment.
You can check with the Human Resources Office as well, though
they may not be around this week much.
My family has enrolled in the LegalCare program offered through UC-Benefits. I
am waiting to receive more information, but in the meantime, does anyone out
there has any words of advice about this program, and who or who not to see in
the East Bay area for legal services involving setting up wills, power of atty, etc.
In May 2000 I used Herbert Gee at 1936 University Avenue (548-3000,
near the USE Credit Union) to draw up a will (which included nominating a
guardian for my daughter) and a durable power of attorney. Herb was fast the
entire process took four days from my first phone call to leaving his office with
finished notarized documents. I wasn't sure about the quality of the lawyers
on the plan, but Herb is a Boalt graduate. If you haven't already, make sure
you get paperwork from Signature LegalCare before your appointment. It's
supposed to be available on the web (www.legalcareplan.com), but I couldn't
download the forms successfully so Signature faxed me copies.
I suspect that the LegalCare plan is not the deal it used to be:
Last summer, when Signature Legal Care took over from Prudential, many
fine attorneys who do estate planning--Pulich & Lowe (whom people on this
list have recommended), Lawrence Moll, Nancy Dooley-- did not send in
contracts with the new provider. Hale Kronenberg of Berkeley is one of
the few specializing in this area that did renew. A couple of years ago
when I used the plan's lawayers-on-call phone line and the attorney was
unable to answer a specific question about children's trusts, he suggested
I phone one of the attorney's who specialized in estate planning. The
attorney I phoned was Marc Weissman (still with the plan!) and although
his main office is in Foster city, he also has an office in San Francisco.
He not only answered my question, but went on to give helpful explanations
and advice. A very nice man. (But this phone call was my only experience
with him). Don't use someone for estate planning who
doesn't specialize in this area. The law has gotten too complex. You
might even ask if he or she is a certified specialist in estate planning
(helpful, though not necessary, except for large estates), though I
wouldn't be surprised if there aren't any left in the Signature
Legal Care Plan.
I have used the LegalCare insurance twice. For estate
planning/trusts/wills, I used Robin Pulich (who was recommended to me by a
financial consultant whose opinion I respect). Robin was *great*. She is
experienced in the area of wills and trusts and gave me good advice. Also,
on the issue of appointing a guardian for children (what to consider, how
to choose someone) she is excellent. She was easy to work with and very
accessible (on Shattuck). I would describe her style as low-key. I
highly recommend her.
The other person I worked with was Margaret Hill (on College) regarding a
child support issue. She is also very easy to work with and competent. It
can be difficult to reach her by phone, but she does eventually return calls.
this page was last updated: Aug 28, 2006
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