Kate Willcox

Kate Willcox


Kate’s practice focuses on foundational and complex estate and gift planning, tax planning, and post-death trust administration. She has extensive experience working with blended families, same-sex couples, unmarried couples, and families with special needs. Additionally, she works with clients to structure irrevocable tax-planning trusts, including grantor trusts, ILITs, GRATs, SLATs, QPRTs and charitable trusts. Her tax practice includes preparing estate and gift tax returns and representing clients in estate and gift tax audits, as well as advising clients regarding California real property tax planning. Kate also advises clients regarding business succession planning by designing and structuring plans to efficiently and effectively transfer family businesses to the next generation, as well as “estate freeze” transactions to ease the tax burden of doing so. In addition to estate and tax planning, Kate has extensive experience advising fiduciaries in post-death trust administration. She advises trustees regarding the valuation, allocation, tax reporting, and distribution of assets while also managing family dynamics and expectations.

A native of Ohio, Kate enjoys spending time with her family in the endless California sunshine, gardening, and crossword puzzles. She also loves trivia and achieved a lifelong goal in 2021 when she appeared as a contestant on Jeopardy!

I’m a big trivia fan, and in 2021, all those long childhood car trips playing trivia with my family finally paid off when I got to be a contestant on Jeopardy! It was an incredibly fun experience, and I had a great time learning about all of the behind-the-scenes elements of the show.


  • On numerous occasions, successfully petitioned the court to transfer improperly titled real property to trust after the death of the trust settlor, including when the property title history was unclear.
  • Designed and drafted estate plan to transfer over $20 million from parents to children in a tax-efficient manner while also retaining some access to assets for parents.
  • Advised trustee regarding administration of $75 million estate, including the preparation and filing of estate tax return, allocation of assets, and mediation of ownership dispute regarding assets.
  • Represented numerous farming families with substantial land holdings in structuring estate plans to efficiently run their farming business and ultimately transfer it to their children.
  • Represented multiple generations of business-owning family in reorganizing structure of complex estate plan, including decanting irrevocable trusts, eliminating unnecessary trusts, and streamlining and simplifying multi-generational trusts.



“Is It 2012 Again?  Estate Planning for a (Potential) Drop in 2026,” Placer County Bar Association Probate and Estate Planning Section, Presenter, November 2023

2022 Estate Planning Year in Review, Sacramento County Bar Association Probate Section, Panelist, January 2023

2021 Estate Planning Year in Review, Sacramento County Bar Association Probate Section, Panelist, January 2022

Advanced Planning for 2021: IDGTs, GRATs, and SLATs, Placer County Bar Association, Presenter, April 2021

Property Tax Planning After Proposition 19, Philanthropic Advisors Forum of Sacramento, Panelist, January 2021

2020 Estate Planning Year in Review, Sacramento County Bar Association Probate Section, Panelist, January 2021

2019 Estate Planning Year in Review, Sacramento County Bar Association Probate Section, Panelist, January 2020

“Planning for Same-Sex Couples After Windsor, Hollingsworth, and Obergefell,” South Placer Professional Roundtable, Presenter, January 2016

“Estate Planning Considerations for Business Lawyers,” Sacramento County Bar Association Business Section, Presenter, February 2014

“What Now? Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples in a Post-Windsor World,” East Bay Planning Council, Presenter, August 2013

“Prop. 8, DOMA and Thoughts on Same-Sex Planning in California,” South Placer Estate Planning Council, Presenter, 2013


Joshua Landau & Kate Willcox, Note, Within the Law: Dealing with Non-Confidential Sensitive Information in the Age of Online Legal Tabloids, 23 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 667, 2010

How to Prepare an Estate Tax Return (IRS Form 706) (2023), CEB, Practitioner.

Chart:  Uses of Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts in Estate Planning (2023), CEB, Practitioner.


The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Trusts and Estates, 2021-2022

Northern California Super Lawyers, Rising Star, Estate Planning and Probate, 2014 – 2023

Sacramento Magazine Top Lawyer, 2015 – 2016, 2019-2020

Georgetown University, graduated cum laude

American University: graduated summa cum laude, University Honors Program, Phi Beta Kappa

Professional Associations and Memberships

Member, Sacramento Estate Planning Council

Member, Philanthropic Advisors’ Forum of Greater Sacramento

Member, Sacramento County Bar Association

Member, American Bar Association Real Property, Trusts and Estates Section


Prior Board Member, Capital Stage Theatre Company

Prior Board Member, Stanford Settlement Neighborhood Center

Board Member, Sacramento Region Community Foundation