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Jeffrey Louis Gaffney

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney

Helping people protect assets and plan their estates in North County San Diego.
  • Estate Planning, Stockbroker & Investment Fraud, Elder Law
  • California
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Paul Hilton
Paul Hilton July 9, 2020
Rating: 10 Lawyer Rating - 10 out of 10
Legal expert, Empathetic advocate Organized professional Vast life experience and legal expertise.
Client Reviews
Narendra S. October 26, 2021
Highly Positive on Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness, Value He helped us write our Joint Living Trust and Pour-Over Wills. Every time accurate and to the point, excellent advice to make proper corrections. We are extremely pleased that we approached him, and will always want to. Three times he went over every word in my documents, and explained with patience.
Lori L. September 17, 2020
Last Minute Issue Solved I needed an issue resolved, within 24 hours. I was very fortunate to find Jeff. He was professional and pleasant. The fee was reasonable, fair, and well-worth it. I am a former paralegal. It was clear right off that he was an expert. Jeff solved the issue in 12 hours. Yes, he absolutely saved the day : D
Claimed Lawyer ProfileOffers Video ConferencingQ&AResponsive Law

Jeffrey Gaffney is a 27 year attorney and retired Navy Captain. Originally from New York, he moved to San Diego in 1985 and has remained here since, military duties permitting.

An attorney since 1993, Jeff is a graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law. He began as a law clerk in 1991, helping aggrieved investors recover from unscrupulous stockbrokers. A former registered representative ("used stock salesman") and principal (licensed manager of registered representatives), he began his own law firm in the midst of a scandal involving Prudential Securities' sales of limited partnerships. Since then, he has handled over 300 cases against brokerage houses.

Several years ago, Jeff combined trust and estates law into his practice -- a natural extension to the financial and planning advice he had been giving clients for years.

Jeff finished 30 years of active and reserve duty in March 2015. He enjoyed a successful career with eight years of active time, and 22 years of vigorous participation in the reserve. He led two major international exercises, served in the Middle East on several occasions, and had three command tours. His favorite job was a 2.5 year recall to active duty to run the Navy's history programs and museums; sadly this included being on the Navy Yard for the 2013 shooting.

An environmentalist, the Gaffney family has its own nonprofit organization to support sea turtle conservation, of which Jeff is the Treasurer ( He is also active with San Diego Coastkeeper. He enjoys summers in Central America working to preserve marine life.

A 1983 graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego, Jeff was named the outstanding graduate in his major. He graduated USD Law School in 1993. He later received a Masters in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in 2004. Jeff is also a graduate of the non-resident (non-degree) programs of the Naval War College.

Practice Areas
    Estate Planning
    Guardianship & Conservatorship Estate Administration, Health Care Directives, Trusts, Wills
    Stockbroker & Investment Fraud
    Elder Law
Video Conferencing
  • Skype
  • Zoom
  • Free Consultation
  • Contingent Fees
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
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  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Law Office of Jeffrey Gaffney
- Current
For 25 years I have helped regular people solve their investment and planning problems, I primarily do estate planning, but I am also familiar with conservatorships and stock broker malpractice and fraud. I am proud to have been helping the elde community with all manner of financial issues and look forward to doing it for many years to come.
US Navy
For thirty years I was a Naval Officer, Reserve and Active. I served as a Surface Warfare Officer, leading large groups of sailors in complex situations worldwide.
Clerk, then Attorney
Law Office of John Allen
My first legal job. I began as a clerk while still in Law School and stayed on after I passed the bar. I spent those years learning how to sue a stockbroker and fix their greedy sins.
Registered Representative and Manager
First Investors Corp.
After I left active duty with the Navy I became a "used stock salesman", which I hated. I left there to attend Law School.
SUNY Coll at Oswego
Undergraduate Degree
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Univ of San Diego School of Law
Law Degree
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US Army War College
M.A. (2004) | National Securities Studies
Military graduate school.
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Distinguished Service Award
San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program
For my work with victims of domestic violence and elder abuse.
Meritorious Service Medal. Numerous and various lesser awards.
US Navy
Wide variety of military awards for superior performance.
National Meritorious Service Award
Operation Homefront
For work in helping to establish a new program for mobilized reservists.
Marion Mahar Award
State University of New York
Named the Outstanding graduate in my major for my undergraduate degree.
Black Belt, First Degree
International Tae Kwon Do Federation
Regents Scholarship
New York State
Academic scholarship granted to pay for my undergraduate tuition based on academic achievement.
Professional Associations
California Bar Association
- Current
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California State Bar
- Current
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Elder Counsel
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Websites & Blogs
Legal Answers
135 Questions Answered
Q. For health reasons, a father wants to transfer full ownership to an adult son and daughter effective immediately.
A: Don’t gift away large assets! This is all about your tax basis in the asset. The tax basis is the amount the IRS uses to figure out your profit when you sell, so they can tax the profit. Usually, this amount is the purchase price. If you give someone an asset, you also give them your tax basis (which is a bad thing). If I paid $100,000 for my house many years ago and now it is worth $1 Million, then there is a $900,000 gain waiting to be taxed when I sell (at maybe 20%). If I give you the house, I also give you the $100,000 tax basis (my purchase price) and when you sell the house YOU will have to pay the tax on the $900,000 gain. What you want is to pass the house through inheritance (a Will or Trust). When I pass the house to you after my sad and untimely death, then your tax basis is NOT my tax basis. Your tax basis is “stepped up” to the current value ($1 million in our example) so that no one ever pays tax on that $900,000 gain (which is a good thing for you; the government would probably just blow the money on something stupid). Also, for older folks, giving away a house will make them ineligible for Medi-Cal to pay their nursing home costs for the next 30 months. If they keep the house as their residence (even if they are in a nursing home) and put it in a Trust (any kind) then the house will be protected from Medi-Cal wanting to get paid back.
Q. If a home is left to me would I still have to go through probate if the owner had put me on the deed? Thank you,
A: That depends on how the deed is worded. If it lists you as a joint tenant with rights of survivorship then you are now the full owner and skip Probate, but you need to file an affidavit with the county clerk and show them the death certificate to get the house recorded in your name alone. If you are listed on the deed in some other way then you still skip Probate because you are probably not the owner of the deceased person's interest. Look at the deed. Talk to a lawyer.
Q. If my mom died and in her will left me the house how do go about legally getting the deed and house
A: If she left it in a Will then you have to go through the Probate Court and get the court to order the new deed. If she used a Trust then you could skip that step.
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Contact & Map
7030 Via Cabana
Carlsbad, CA 92009
Telephone: (760) 809-9401
Law Office of Jeffrey Gaffney
1902 Wright Place Suite 200
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Telephone: (760) 809-9401
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