Margaret R. Roisman

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Margaret R. Roisman

Phone: (510) 433-2677

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Margaret R. Roisman is a partner at Roisman Henel + Adams LLP. She is a Fellow of the American College of Trusts & Estates Counsel (ACTEC) and is certified by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law. Each year since 2004, she has been selected by her peers as one of Northern California’s “Super Lawyers.” She has also been named as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Northern California from 2005 through 2011, and as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Northern California from 2005 through 2013. In addition, Margaret has been selected by her peers for inclusion in the 20th, 21st, 22nd, and 25th Editions of The Best Lawyers in America in the practice area of Trusts and Estates.

Margaret has over 30 years of experience in providing sophisticated estate planning services to clients with a wide range of family and financial circumstances. Her practice also includes representation of surviving spouses, trustees, and executors for the administration of revocable trusts and probate estates.

Legal Experience

  • Roisman Henel + Adams LLP, Partner, May 2002 to present
  • Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May Professional Corporation, Director (Partner) 1990–2002, Associate 1982–1989
  • Certified Specialist, Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization
  • American College of Trusts & Estates Counsel (ACTEC) 2005–present


  • University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, J.D., 1982. Associate Editor, California Law Review, 1981–82. Order of the Coif.
  • Harvard University School of Education, 1968–1969.
  • Oberlin College, B.A., magna cum laude, 1967. Phi Beta Kappa.

Estate Planning

Margaret advises individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds regarding sophisticated (or simple) estate-planning techniques, and implements plans using appropriate documents and transfers, including:

  • Trusts for children and other beneficiaries to provide for management, care and flexibility in tax planning
  • Generation-skipping transfer trusts (“dynasty” trusts) using “grantor” trust powers
  • Charitable remainder trusts (CRT)
  • Charitable lead trusts (CLT)
  • Life insurance trusts (ILIT)
  • Qualified personal residence trusts (QPRT)
  • Sales to intentionally defective grantor trusts
  • Grantor retained annuity trusts (GRAT)
  • Qualified domestic trusts for non-citizen spouses (QDOT)
  • Special needs trusts (SNT)
  • Intra-family loan transactions

Trust and Probate Administration

Margaret advises trustees, executors, and beneficiaries regarding the administration of decedents’ estates and trusts, including:

  • Probate and trust court proceedings
  • Preparation of estate tax returns
  • Post-mortem tax planning and preparing disclaimers
  • Allocation of assets to trusts and beneficiaries, and documentation of transfers

Professional and Civic Memberships

  • State Bar of California: Trusts and Estates Section. 1983-present
  • State Bar of California: Trusts and Estates Section Executive Committee. 2010-2011
  • American Bar Association: Section on Real Property, Probate and Trust Law 1983-2005
  • Alameda County Bar Association: Trusts and Estates Section 1990-2010
    • Chair 2006
    • Vice-Chair 2004-2005
    • Secretary 2003
    • Treasurer 2002
    • Chair, Estate Planning Committee 2000-2001
    • Vice-chair, Estate Planning Committee 1996-1999
  • East Bay Trust & Estate Lawyers. 2010 - present
  • Estate Planning Council of the East Bay 1983-2011:

    • Member, Board of Directors 2003-2006
  • Women Lawyers of Alameda County 1984-2011
  • Asian Pacific Fund, Professional Advisory Committee, 2001-2011
  • Oakland Public Library Foundation, Board of Directors, 2003-2005
  • Family Service of the East Bay, Board member, 1984-1990, 1994-1996
  • Task Force on Public Interest Law, Boalt Hall School of Law, U. C. Berkeley 1994-1995

Written Contributions

  • Author, “Planning Multi-Generational Trusts with the Client,” California Trusts & Estates Quarterly, Vol. 10, Issue 4, Winter 2004: 5-16
  • Author, Chap. 19, “Accounting, Report, and Final Distribution,” California Decedent Estate Practice, CEB (May 2004) plus May 2005 update
  • Consultant, Drafting California Revocable Living Trusts (4th Ed.), CEB, 2003
  • Co-Author, Funding a Revocable Trust, CEB Action Guide, 1993, and Update, 1995
  • Consultant, Drafting California Revocable Living Trusts (3rd Ed.), CEB, 1994


  • 9/28/04 “Appointing Successor Trustees: Who, When, and How,” ACBA Trusts and Estates Section, Trust Committee, Oakland
  • 12/12/03 (San Francisco) 11/21/03 (Sacramento), Panel member, CEB “Planning, Drafting, and Administering Multigenerational (Dynasty) Trusts (Advanced Course of Study)”
  • 6/26/03, 10/10/02 “Basics of Estate Planning,” East Bay Regional Parks Foundation, Oakland
  • 4/21/01 “Estate Planning for the Single, the Married, and those in Alternative Relationships,” (all-day seminar) KPFA Radio, Berkeley
  • 7/12/00 “Planning and Drafting in the Face of Uncertain Tax Law,” ACBA Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Section, Estate Planning Committee, Oakland
  • 7/22/97 “Using Family Limited Partnerships in Estate Planning,” ACBA Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Section, Estate Planning Committee, Oakland
  • 5/17/95 “Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts,” American Benefit Institute, Westin Hotel, Millbrae
  • 2/22/95 “Succession Planning with Life Insurance Trusts,” The Directors’ Roundtable Family Wealth Planning Seminar, Santa Clara
  • 4/17/91 “Fundamentals of Estate Planning,” CEB, San Francisco
  • 6/19-20/85 and 6/29/85 “How to Draft Wills,” CEB, Oakland and San Francisco