Johnston, Kinney & Zulaica LLP is a law firm with thirteen attorneys focusing on estate planning, tax and family law. With offices in San Francisco and Santa Rosa, we serve the entire Bay Area and have clients throughout California. All of our attorneys strive to deliver competent and thoughtful advice and practical solutions for real life issues. Laws exist to help people at various stages in life whether it be forming family, protecting assets, or passing on legacies.
Our three partners, M. Jean Johnston, Deb L. Kinney, and Yulissa Zulaica, have decades of experience helping clients realize their goals with integrity. Whether you are getting married or divorced, creating or further refining your estate plan, gifting assets in a tax advantaged way or making sure your inheritance is protected, we work with you to make sure that you understand your options, your particular circumstances are considered, and your goals are achieved. We believe that each person, including both the attorney and client must bring an ethical and fair approach to the issue at hand, and we work with all of our clients to make sure their situation is resolved.
With our diverse experiences and our competent staff, you can be assured that you will be assisted with your particular matter in a professional and caring way. We look forward to working with you or your clients soon.
DLKLawGroup PC and M. Jean Johnston, Attorney at Law, have been providing similar services of estate planning, trust administration, probate, wealth transfer, tax analysis, and charitable planning to clients throughout California for decades. We have now joined together to form a more comprehensive firm offering additional services including international estate planning, family law, general civil litigation, and probate and trust litigation. We continue to have a deep understanding of issues affecting both LGBT and straight families and look forward to servicing you in the future. For bios of our attorneys, please click here.
Johnston, Kinney & Zulaica LLP awarded “Top 25” by SF Business Times
The San Francisco Business Times, as part of its Pride celebration in June 2015, identified the 25 largest LGBT owned businesses in the Bay Area which included Johnston, Kinney & Zulaica LLP. “It was a surprise to us that we made the list” says Deb L. Kinney a partner at the firm. “We have been steadily growing for the past dozen years or so, and have a great business and business model centered around serving our clients in a professional and cost effective way.”
Johnston, Kinney & Zulaica LLP expanded into family law a few years ago and now have three family law attorneys, two of whom are certified family law specialists, and nine other attorneys focusing on estate planning, trust and probate administrations, tax issues and tax planning and entity formation. “We are fortunate to have experience dealing with many types of cases, from foundational planning to complicated wealth transfers. Having a firm like this allows us to share information and our experiences making each of us better lawyers.” The list is available here.
What to tell your employer and what else you need to do!
With the advent of marriage in CA for same sex couples and the federal recognition, there are some things to remember to do now that your status has changed. You should tell your employer that you are now married and make the appropriate elections on your W-4 so that enough taxes are now withheld. If you are married, you will have to file as Married (either jointly or separately) for your taxes. Most people file as Married filing Jointly (MFJ) even if they have a prenuptial agreement and have separate funds as married filing separately is usually more expensive. Also, if your partner is covered on your employers insurance, those benefits are no longer taxable as imputed income if you are married. This is not true for those who are registered domestic partners only, however RDPs may still be paying less in income tax than married persons as the higher tax brackets and the Medicare surtax kicks in at lower amounts for a married couple than for two individuals. The IRS and Office of Personnel Management has made clear that federal benefits will only inure to legally married couples. The exception to this is Social Security which is supposed to look to intestacy laws for survivor benefits however we are still awaiting guidance. To see an article on Social Security, please click here.