Wealth Planning

Transferring Real Property: How to Avoid an Unexpected Tax Hike in California

March 23, 2021

Dawn Baca
Dawn Baca

Director in Strategic Planning, Partner

Dawn joined Aspiriant in 2016 as a senior associate in strategic planning. For over 10 years her legal career has been focused on transfer tax planning including multi-generational wealth transfers, planning for business owners, and charitable planning for high and ultra-high-net worth individuals and families. In addition to reducing client estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure and assisting clients in designing their estate and philanthropic legacies, Dawn is a member of Aspiriant’s Planning Strategy & Research group, serving as the firm’s subject matter expert in estate planning as well as charitable giving. She helps monitor changes in estate and gift tax law as well as related topics, like California property tax, and contributes to internal and external announcements and articles. Dawn is also Aspiriant’s Strategic Planning department internal liaison, helping wealth managers in providing Strategic Planning services and resources to our clients.

Prior to joining the firm, she spent three years focusing on foundational estate planning and probate education and training, followed by an additional three years in the Wealth Strategies department at Bank of America Private Bank (then known as U.S. Trust) in Newport Beach where she assisted with comprehensive wealth management strategies for high and ultra-high-net clients.

Dawn earned her Executive LL.M. in taxation from New York University School of Law and her Juris Doctor degree from California Western School of Law, graduating magna cum laude. She served as an executive law review editor and, as a published author, Dawn earned the S. Houston Lay Award for Excellence in Writing, Analysis, and Contribution to International Law. Dawn was an Academic Merit Scholarship recipient and earned the Dean’s Scholarship for Ethnic and Cultural Diversity.

A Reno/Tahoe native, Dawn prefers to spend her time in the great outdoors with friends and family and is a former sponsored snowboarder and slope style competitor. She supported herself through college as a blackjack dealer followed by three years learning the culinary art of sushi as a sushi chef in Lake Tahoe.

Clay R. Stevens
Clay R. Stevens

Director in Strategic Planning, Partner

Clay has been serving ultra-affluent clients with complex estate planning, income tax, philanthropy, and insurance problems since 1995, and with Aspiriant since 2004. Clay has served as the primary estate planning advisor for clients nationwide with a net worth between $10 million and $500 million. Prior to joining Aspiriant, Clay spent several years as a tax attorney with the Orange County office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and more recently directed the estate and trust services department with myCFO for their Orange County office.

Clay has authored articles in various tax publications and has lectured on many estate planning subjects. Currently, he is an adjunct Professor of Law at Chapman University Law School and teaches a course on Estate Planning and a separate course on Estate Planning for High Net Worth Individuals.

An attorney, Clay received a BA degree in Economics from Occidental College, and earned a master’s degree in Tax Law from New York University School of Law. Clay received his JD degree from Pepperdine University School of Law, graduating magna cum laude, while serving as an editor on the Pepperdine Law Review.

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Phil J. Kastenholz CFA®, CPA

Director in Investment Strategy & Research, Partner

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