This week, we profile attorney Catherine (Kitty) Raye-Wong:
CEB: What is your practice area and how did you choose it?
Kitty: As a certified specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California in estate planning, trust and probate law, I focus in the areas of estate planning, trusts and their administration, probate, conservatorships and guardianships. I also serve San Mateo County as court appointed independent counsel for various matters. I chose my area of law very early on while working during the day as a legal secretary, then probate/trust paralegal, attending college at night continually from the age of 17. As one of the primary caregivers for my aging grandmother, I learned early on the value of having a properly completed estate plan; she encouraged me to follow my path, even though she passed away my last night of law school.
CEB: What do you like best and least about practicing law?
Kitty: I enjoy the interaction with clients and the intellectual stimulation of the crossover issues between people, property, and tax issues. It seems everything touches our area of law. The least likable aspect of practicing law is sometimes my schedule gets a bit inflexible with deadlines and a very, very busy practice.
CEB: What CEB book or program have you found most helpful in your practice and why?
Kitty: California Conservatorship Practice is invaluable; there is nothing in the market that compares to it. I do, however, own the entire CEB library that touches on the areas of estate planning, trusts and probate law, and I go to them first before any other resource material.
CEB: What is the best legal tip you ever received?
Kitty: To get a tax law degree. My LL.M. in Tax from Golden Gate University School of Law has been an extremely valuable tool in my practice. The best non-legal tip was to take a deep breath before answering any question posed by the Court.
CEB: How do you think the practice of law will change in the next 15 years?
Kitty: I see more and more abuse of elders in our community at large. This will lead to more litigation, which is already starting to happen. The wealth transfers happening are getting larger, and as a result, the owners of the wealth are more at risk.
CEB: What is the most interesting book you have read (lately)?
Kitty: Hannah’s Dream: A Novel by Diane Coplin Hammond. It is a fantastically captivating book about the relationship between an elephant and her longtime elderly keeper; finally it is about her reaching a sanctuary for elephants. I do quite a bit of planning for animals, and this book struck a note in my heart.
CEB: What is your contact information?
Kitty: Raye-Wong & Associates, 909 Laurel St., San Carlos, CA 94070; 650-591-7352; www.estate-law.com
CEB: Thank you, Kitty!
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