Penny Brown’s probate practice includes formal probate proceedings, summary administration proceedings, conservatorships, non-contested guardianships, and various trust proceedings before the Sacramento County Probate Court, as well as the Probate Courts in the surrounding Counties, including Yolo, Placer and El Dorado Counties. Her trust administration practice focuses on advising trustees and beneficiaries in all aspects of the trust administration process to ensure the administration of the trust is handled appropriately from the moment the trust administration begins through final distribution from the basic administration to the more tax driven complexities of the administration. Penny’s estate planning practice includes preparation of revocable trusts, wills, and powers of attorney for both financial and health (including tax planning to minimize estate taxes) with an emphasis on estate planning issues that are unique to same-sex couples and LGBT community.
Prior to entering law school, Penny worked for approximately 12 years as a paralegal in the fields of workers’ compensation and insurance. Following her graduation from McGeorge, Penny worked at the boutique estate planning firm of Strategic Wealth Legal Advisors, Inc., where she developed and implemented the firm’s probate and trust administration practice. While in that role, her practice and knowledge in the area of probate allowed her to assist clients from the very straightforward probate proceedings to resolving more complicated matters related to property division agreements. She also became exposed to the unique estate planning issues faced by same-sex couples and the LGBT community.
In 2007, Penny joined the firm of McDonough Holland & Allen PC, where she further enhanced her skills and knowledge of probate administration and assisted clients with more complicated probate issues involving intestacy, foreign assets and use of disclaimer planning in intestate probate proceedings. While at McDonough, Penny continued to grow her knowledge and planning for same-sex couples and LGBT clients, including being a guest speaker at the Crocker Art Museum’s seminar for estate and financial planning for same-sex couples. In 2010, she joined the firm of Boutin Jones Inc. where she continues to expand her probate, trust administration and estate planning practice. Penny has continued to be a panel speaker on general probate and estate planning issues and on estate planning for same-sex couples and the LGBT community.
The biggest changes in estate planning over the years have been changes to law governing estate taxes. I’ve gone from having clients who need a lot of estate tax advice to some needing very little, based on how tax laws have evolved. Another big shift has been that same-sex couples, who are legally married, now have the benefit of many of the same federal laws that were only once available to opposite sex married couples. That’s been a big change and opportunity for estate planning.
I’m a probate and estate planning attorney, helping people plan and settle their estates. I represent a wide range of clients, but have developed an emphasis on the specific needs of same-sex couples and LGBT estate planning.
I’ve had some interesting big and small cases in my career. One of the most unique cases involved a person challenging a trust arguing that he was adopted based on an equitable presumption rather than a legal adoption. It took a number of petitions and trips to court, but we eventually prevailed and carried out the wishes of the settlor of the trust.
A couple of years ago, I took up golf. While I’m not very good at it, I love playing. I was thrown into the sport at a Sacramento Estate Planning Council annual golf event, even though I had never played before. My husband had started playing about 8 months before I started, so it’s become something we love doing together.
“The Advance Health Care Directive: A Small But Powerful Tool for LGBT Clients,” Sacramento Lawyer Magazine, November/December 2010, Penny Brown, Author
Quoted in “Entwined Finances Can Be Headache – For Same-Sex Couples, Legal, Estate and Tax Matters Pose Hard Questions,” by Claudia Buck, Sacramento Bee
“Financial and Estate Planning Strategies for the Gay and Lesbian Community,” Crocker Art Museum, Penny R. Brown, Co-Presenter
“Probate: What Is It? A Recipe for Identifying and Understanding Probate in California,” Nationwide Financial Network Annual Meeting, Penny Brown, Presenter
“Financial and Legal Planning for Same Sex Couples – Panel Presentation,” Crocker Art Museum and UC Davis King Hall, Penny Brown, Panel Member
“Practical Problems in Trust Administration,” Continuing Education of the Bar, Sacramento, Penny Brown, Presenter
“Modern Families: Planning Considerations for Blended Families, Unmarried Couples and Same-Sex Couples,” Planned Giving Forum of Sacramento, Penny Brown Co-Presenter
“Preparing Your Estate Plan”, Edward Jones, Penny Brown Co-Presenter