KeithMeet Keith

Keith Schiller is a nationally known attorney, award-winning author, and lecturer whose advice is sought by other practitioners to aid their clients with estate tax return preparation and defense. The author of more than three dozen published articles and 10 course texts for continuing professional education, Keith has co-taught estate tax return preparation and audit defense with IRS estate tax attorneys, appeals officers and managers since 1997. He received the CalCPA Education Foundation’s award for Outstanding Teaching Materials and has taught continuing education for professionals since 1987.


Commitment to the Community

Presentations of Estate Planning At The Movies® continue Keith's commitment to the community. Keith has been pleased to present Estate Planning At The Movies® to community foundations, health-related organizations, and a variety of other charitable organizations either as a courtesy or with a significantly reduced engagement charge, depending upon location and other activities in the area at the time.

Keith’s activism with community affairs began at UCLA, (where he was Undergraduate Student Body President and founder of the UCLA Legal Aide Service). Keith continues to be an effective contributor to a variety of community causes.

  • Chairman of the Yosemite License Plate Committee on behalf of the Yosemite Fund, during the course of which Keith lobbied the passage of the Yosemite License Plate, the largest selling special-interest license plate in California. As chairman, Keith also coordinated the state-wide marketing campaign for the sale of the plate. The Yosemite License Plate has raised in excess of $25 million for the preservation of Yosemite National Park and California conservation.
  • Founding Chairman of the East Bay Chapter of the Yosemite Fund.
  • As a little league coach and manager, Keith drafted Jessica Plummer, the first female baseball player to play in the San Ramon Valley Little League. (Jessica went on to become a scholarship athlete at Rutgers University, and has embraced ballroom dancing as a recreational passion.)

Keith Schiller, the Author

Although Estate Planning At The Movies® — Art of the Estate Tax Return is a technical tax textbook to its core, its personality arises from the interjection of motion-picture themes and the lighter touch of the author, Keith Schiller. Connections to the cinema and humor enhance your educational experience by easing recall and remembrance of many issues and rules while simply making the entire subject matter a lot more enjoyable … or dare we say “fun.”

If Keith could have cloned himself, his other persona would have been an advertising executive or comic writer for television. As a child, he loved watching Johnny Carson, but could never get the timing right. Estate Planning At The Movies® takes advantage of Keith’s alter ego as well as his professional capabilities. It blends marketing (assisting communication with clients), humor (the book is self-explanatory on this point), and tax law (Estate Planning At The Movies® — Art of the Estate Tax Return is meaty).

Keith Schiller, Esq.

Keith was born and raised in San Francisco, Calif., residing in Alamo, Calif., throughout his adult life.

Keith graduated from the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall School of Law) in 1974, during the heyday of estate taxation. At that time, California decedents were faced with an inheritance tax, and the estate tax exclusion was only $60,000. Approximately 7.5 percent of all deaths generated an estate tax return. Boalt Hall offered a three-course curriculum on estate taxation, including a basic course (taught by the renowned Professor Edward C. Halbach, Jr.), advanced estate taxation, and an estate planning workshop. Law schools generally teach estate tax only on an occasional basis.

Less than three months after becoming an attorney, Keith submitted and prevailed on his first estate tax appeal.

Estate planning and related taxation comprised only a part of Keith’s early practice. Closely held business formations, contracts, civil litigation, and real estate rounded out his practice. These experiences proved to be significant to Keith’s later understanding of business transactions, partition litigation, and other state-law principles that underpin estate tax law.

Since the mid-1990s, Keith’s practice has become increasingly focused on estate planning, business succession, returns and advocacy relating to transfer tax (estate tax, GST tax and gift tax).

Keith Schiller is the owner of the Schiller Law Group, a Professional Law Corporation, of Alamo, Calif., with an active practice based out of Santa Monica, Calif. In fact, over one-third of Keith’s practice is Southern-California based. In the predominance of these situations, Keith is consulting with accounting or law firms on particular matters. The firm serves state-wide clientele.

Keith is a certified specialist in taxation law and estate planning, probate and trust law, with greater than 36 years of experience. He works with wealthy individuals, business owners, and professionals with a client base that spans California.

Keith is on the consulting board for two major national tax publications, namely, the Estates, Gifts and Trusts Journal published by BNA, Tax Management and the Leimberg Information Services, Inc.® Newsletter. Keith has authored over three dozen nationally published articles on taxation law.

Client-Focused Approach

Keith strives to problem solve and achieve the objectives desired by clients. This necessitates listening to the client, focusing upon what the client says, and evaluating these desires in the unique context each client presents. As a result, planning is tailored to the client, not fitted to meet a pre-conceived notion.

Creating plans based on what the client wants makes planning easier as well as more enjoyable for the client. Technical subjects can then be presented with a result-oriented focus, thus bypassing excessive legal jargon and niceties. Such qualities are recognized in Estate Planning At The Movies® — Art of the Estate Tax Return.

Clients are encouraged to place non-tax considerations first, so that the tax plan is molded to the client’s non-tax wishes. Even though Estate Planning At The Movies® — Art of the Estate Tax Return addresses tax issues, two strategic themes run throughout the book: (1) non-tax considerations should be placed first so that the plan implements the desires of the client, and (2) estate tax returns are highly personal, relating a story while seeking to minimize tax liability.