Attorney Amy Fike Peters Smiling

With a primary focus in estate planning, I have practiced law for over 30 years. My career started as a student at California Polytechnic State University, where I graduated magna cum laude. After completing my education there, I went on to graduate from Thomas Jefferson School of Law. In 1986, I was admitted to the California State Bar, and I am also am a member of the San Diego North County Bar Association.

I have enjoyed long-term relationships with many of my clients and have helped many to cope with some of life's most trying challenges. I am committed to providing each client the highest level of professionalism and concern that I would expect from an attorney hired to represent my interests.   My greatest satisfaction has come from receiving notes or calls of gratitude  from those clients who take the time to let me know how much they appreciate what we accomplished during our work together.  I have received many such communiques through the years and they remind me of why I work so hard in my daily practice.  Every client has a different situation and so, each estate plan is tailored to meet that client's needs and anticipate contingencies and minimize adverse consequences whenever possible, while providing a comprehensive plan that stands the test of time to the extent possible. I work with all different family situations: including designing a plan for a blended family that provides for a current spouse after the death of the grantor, but allows for an inheritance from the grantor's estate for children from a previous marriage.  I enjoy working with clients whose charitable goals allow us  to implement those goals for giving and which employ the most advantageous tax consequences. I work with single mothers, elderly couples working to secure long term care; families with minor children and those in the middle of health care crises.  Some of my strategies with these clients includes implementing:

  • Premarital agreements
  • Separate property agreements
  • Generation-skipping trusts
  • Charitable remainder trusts
  • Asset protection tax-exempt trusts
  • Family partnerships

Estate Planning & Trust Administration

There are many factors at play when designing your estate plan. The plan itself includes the trust, the will, the advance health care directive with the appropriate HIPAA waivers, and Powers of Attorney (necessary for financial affairs). If you are a parent or legal guardian, your estate plan also includes placement and support of minor children and transferring your assets into the trust.

I have years of experience dealing with real property transactions and business succession planning. Some aspects of business succession planning involve supplying clients with counsel in order to ensure their small business enterprise is properly formed as well as any legal issues the business may face.

I love the practice of law and the intelletual challenge of finding practical solutions within the context of multiple jurisdictional issues that will effect the best practical solution for the benefit of every client.  I enjoy working closely with a client to complete a final estate plan that ensures the client's stated objectives are finalized and the client can rest assured that life savings, and assets will be distributed according to the plan will be safe from the beneficiary's creditors after the client's death; that oved ones are cared for according to plan; that tax liability is mitigated; and that heirs will never face a protracted probate.


A Distinguished Reputation Within the Community

I have regularly addressed various businesses, churches, community groups and philanthropic organizations to address issues about estate planning; estate taxes; elder law protections; the value of planning for the future of one's estate.  I have been featured on the radio to discuss planning for business succession, avoiding probate; estate distribution, charitable giving and some tax planning.  In earlier years of my practice, I was a corporate counsel for both national and multinational Fortune 500 and Fortune 200 companies.

In addition to estate planning, my experience has provided background for comlex real property transactions; corporate transactional work; employment issues; tax work; regulatory and administrative legal issues and devising policies and procedures to comply with state and federal laws and regulations. 

I belong to the California State Bar’s Real Property and Trusts and Estates sections. branches and have participated in the State Bar Delegates program. 

I continue to prove that I really care about the people I serve and I look forward to helping you, as well.

Bar Admissions

  • California State Bar, 1986
  • United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California 

Education

  • California Polytechnic State University (magna cum laude)
  • Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Professional Associations & Membership

  • California State Bar - Real Property
  • California State Bar - Trusts and Estate
  • North County Bar Association and Trusts and Estate Section
  • Member, The Gift and Planning Advisory Committee for Scripps Health Foundation