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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
Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&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
  • Stockbroker & Investment Fraud
  • Elder Law
  • 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
104 Questions Answered

Q. Uniform Testamentary Additions to Trust Act (UTATA) -
A: I believe you are mistaken. The UTATA allows a Pour Over Will but does not mandate any reference in the Trust. You can read the whole thing at,be%20established%20(funded%20with%20a Also, California has never adopted the UTATA.
Q. Paying off my parent's mortgage and putting the title under my name
A: NO!!!!!!!! If you move the house into your name while they are alive then you will give up a HUGE tax advantage. Right now if the house is sold, your parents have a big tax liability for all the profit they make on the sale (probably). If they GIVE the property to you then you carry the same tax burden (you will have the same taxable profit on sale). If you inherit the property, then the tax basis for you steps up to the current value. The math: parents bought the house for $100,000 and now it is worth $1 million. That is a $900,000 taxable gain if they sell (yes they can take $250,000 each of that tax free if it is their home). If they give you the house, your tax basis is $100,000 (you get their tax basis). If you inherit, then your tax basis is $1 million (current value) and nobody pays tax on that $900,000 of gain. Next problem: if mom or dad or both go into a nursing home and they have given away a valuable asset in the previous 30 months (like, say, a house) then Medi-Cal will tell them "No Way" until that 30 months is up, and they will have to pay for their own nursing home care at $10,000 per month or more. Solution is to put the house in a Trust of some sort. That will make sure the house goes where they want it and not to the government to pay back for nursing home care. See an estate planning or elder law attorney.
Q. New Baby Not Listed in the Family Trust - Will She Still Inherit?
A: You have to look at the Trust to see how it is written. When I write one I make it so you never have to worry about this problem and don't have to update your Trust every time anyone has a baby. I bet this Trust is written that way too, BUT a Trust can be written any way the client wants so you really have to look at it to see if the money goes to your boyfriend's heirs if he dies before his mother.
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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