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David J. O'Connell

David J. O'Connell

O'Connell & Associates, d.b.a. ESCONDIDO LAW CENTER
  • Business Law, Estate Planning, Real Estate Law
  • California
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Mr. O'Connell leads a small firm of professionals specializing in real estate issues, business, corporations, limited liability companies, estates, and trust administration. He has more than 30 years of experience in these areas and is fully equipped to advise clients regarding their options and risks in these troubling economic times.

Mr. O'Connell speaks frequently at continuing education seminars on topic including the emerging issues in limited liability companies and legal ethics.

Mr. O'Connell served in the U.S. Army Security Agency from 1968 to 1972, serving in Turkey and Germany.

Practice Areas
Business Law
Business Contracts, Business Dissolution, Business Finance, Business Formation, Business Litigation, Franchising, Mergers & Acquisitions, Partnership & Shareholder Disputes
Estate Planning
Guardianship & Conservatorship Estate Administration, Health Care Directives, Trusts, Wills
Real Estate Law
Commercial Real Estate, Condominiums, Easements, Eminent Domain, Homeowners Association, Land Use & Zoning, Mortgages, Neighbor Disputes, Residential Real Estate, Water Law
  • Free Consultation
    Free consultation, for the first half-hour, thereafter, client pays billable rate. Attorney requires clients sign consultation agreement before meeting with an attorney.
  • Credit Cards Accepted
    Credit card payment for fees accepted; client responsible for all banking charges incurred
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    Retainers financial arrangements subject to negotiation prior to retention. All clients are required to execute engagement agreement prior to any work performed.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
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9th Circuit
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  • German: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Managing partner/owner
O'Connell & Associates
- Current
Managing partner/owner of law firm specializing in real property issues, corporations and limited liability companies, estates and trust administration
O'Connell & Zuffoletto, LLP
Partner in law firm specializing in real estate and employment law, litigation, estates, business, corporations, and limited liability companies
Sole practitioner
Law Office of David J. O'Connell
Sole practitioner, specializing in real estate, corporate and business law, estates, and general practice
Associate attorney
Law Office of N. Munro Merrick
Associate in general practice law firm
Associate attorney
Law Office of Charles J. Jamison
Associate in boutique law firm specializing in tax, real property, and business, including mergers and acquisitions
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
J.D. (1985) | Law
Honors: AmJur award for Ethics
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University of Massachusetts - Amherst
B.A. (1976) | Political Science
Activities: Veterans Coalition for Community Affairs
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Professional Associations
American Bar Association
Activities: Real Estate and Estates sections
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Housing Opportunities Collaborative
Volunteer Attorney
- Current
Activities: The economic jolts of the last two years have hit working class homeowners hardest. Lured into purchases of homes they could ill afford, with unconscionable marketing practices of aggressive mortgage lenders, many of those homeowners cannot afford the monthly payments and face foreclosure now that those loans have adjusted. Worse, an unlicensed cottage industry of "foreclosure consultants" has emerged, offering the promise of help, while simply selling more loans, deeper debt, and more misery. With local volunteers, HOC offers help to those who have been victimized.
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San Diego County Bar Association
Volunteer Attorney
- Current
Activities: San Diego County Bar Association pro bono program, offering free legal services to those in need
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National Business Institute
Speaker, author
- Current
Activities: Featured speaker at NBI's seminars on the emerging field of California limited liability companies, and legal ethics in foreclosure
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San Diego County Bar Association
- Current
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Consumer Attorneys of Califonia
- Current
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California State Bar  # 134976
- Current
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Articles & Publications
Real Property Foreclosure: A Step-by-Step Approach
National Business Institute, Inc.
Limited Liability Companies: from Formation to Special Uses
National Business Institute, Inc.
Advanced Limited Liability Company Issues
National Business Institute, Inc.
Limited Liability Companies, Trends and Developments
National Business Institute, Inc.
Websites & Blogs
O'Connell & Associates
Legal Answers
5 Questions Answered
Q. My dad and I are joint tenants of a home. If my dad passes does full ownership transfer over me or his wife?
A: The answer is, as is always the case, it depends.

If the "paper" your step-mother signed was an "inter-spousal grant deed," and that deed granted your father title to the property as "his sole and separate property," then your father took full title and could dispose of the property as his estate planning dictates, if he has any. Even as his sole and separate property, the new spouse that contributes to the funding of the purchase or refinance payment may have a claim to some fraction of the title to the property.

Further, if there are community property debts incurred during the pendency of the marriage, that remain unpaid at your father's death, creditors may seek recovery from the community property first, and then to the separate property assets of both spouses, including this property. That does not address the respective rights or claims of your siblings or your father's heirs, which could be addressed in a revocable trust.

Your question suggests many issues may arise from this acquisition. I strongly advise your consultation with an experienced estate, will, and trust attorney about your understanding of the conveyance.
... Read More
Q. My grandpa passed and did not leave a will. His kids didn’t go to probate or pay mortgage. What are my option to save it
A: First, I agree with Ms. Gurewich; you must consult with a probate attorney. But, if a foreclosure notice has been recorded and served, you may not have much time. Depending on where the property is located, and how the mortgage/deed of trust is drafted, opening a probate, at considerable expense, may not catch up with the legal process to take the property to satisfy the debt.

Second, while this is a matter of sentiment for you, you must treat this as a business transaction. You have already done your sums and have concluded that the repairs that the mortgage far in excess of the value of the property. To get to a rational decision on this, you must do a business plan, determine how much it will cost you to open a probate, after which the grandparent's kids get the property; make a rational offer to the kids to acquire their interest, deducting your costs, and then satisfying the mortgage.

Likely a refinance of the property will not satisfy all of those needs. Unless you have wealth independent of the investments you already have made, this may be an extraordinarily difficult row to hoe.

Last, consider an alternative based on the investment you may be required to make in the home in foreclosure. You may find that other, better opportunities, absent a family fight, a probate, and foreclosure, might be a more prudent choice.
... Read More
Q. Can a court appointed referee charge me 10,000 per month evermonth the house is on market?
A: The answer to your question will depend entirely on what the Court's partition order says. If the court has ordered a partition, and limited the fees as you suggest, then the referee's fees cannot exceed the court order. But, if the court order states a certain fee to be paid to the referee for his/her services, but leaves out the allowance for costs or commissions, the referee may be within his/her rights to bill the amount you recite.

If you are represented by counsel, and you should be, then have the order compared with the billing to determine if the referee is off base. If you are not represented by counsel, consult with an attorney in the LA area to review the order, the partition, and whether the fees charged are within the court's ruling. ... Read More
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Contact & Map
O'CONNELL & ASSOCIATES, d.b.a. Escondido Law Center
1770 E. Valley Parkway
Escondido, CA 92026
Telephone: (760) 310-2463
Fax: (866) 630-9947
Monday: 9 AM - 5 PM (Today)
Tuesday: 9 AM - 5 AM
Wednesday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Thursday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Friday: 9 AM - 12 PM
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed
Notice: Due to the resurgence of Covid infections, all consultations are conducted by telephone or Zoom video conference. Please call 760-310-2463 for an appointment.
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