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Jennifer S. Rouse

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Practice Areas

  • Estate Planning, including Trusts and Wills
  • Probate Administration
  • Guardianship and Conservatorship
  • Special Needs Trusts

Biography

I practice in the areas of estate planning and trust administration, probate, conservatorships, guardianships, and special needs trusts.

My Practice

Estate planning and probate are unique areas of law because they are quite personal—and my ability to build a rapport with my clients is the fundamental strength of my practice. With over 25 years of experience, I’ve managed countless cases of every variety, served on the board of the Sacramento County Bar Association, and served as president of Women Lawyers of Sacramento. But when you’re creating a plan for what happens when you die, you need an attorney who is more than just knowledgeable and experienced. You want to work with someone who can make you feel comfortable and earn your trust.

I prioritize connecting with my clients so that I can truly understand what matters to them. That helps me guide them as we shape their estate plans to reflect their wishes. Although estate planning can be complex, I pride myself in my ability to explain it clearly so that my clients won’t feel overwhelmed. On the contrary, they usually leave my office with a great sense of relief and security, knowing that their dependents will be provided for and their assets will be protected.

I enjoy handling estate planning and establishing and maintaining conservatorships, guardianships, and special needs trusts, because these processes give us the opportunity to set things right before anything can go wrong. Planning for your future needs will not only give you peace of mind now but will also ensure that matters are handled smoothly when it really counts. And when pre-planning is not possible, I assist with navigating the court process in establishing and maintaining conservatorships and guardianships. I also enjoy probate because I can make sure all parties respect and honor the wishes of the deceased. It is my privilege to protect those who need extra protection and those who have passed on.

My Story

I’ve lived in and loved northern California for most of my life. I grew up in Auburn, and then went to college in Napa Valley, earning a B.S. in History and Government from Pacific Union College. I returned to the Sacramento area to earn my Juris Doctor from McGeorge School of Law. I’m happily married, and our two children now go to the same school I attended as a child.

We enjoy travelling, especially to national parks. My favorite is Yosemite—it’s so beautiful and serene. I have many treasured memories of visiting it when I was young, so I love taking my own children there. At home, I love collecting wine and gardening, both flowers and food; both personally and professionally, I like the idea of nurturing something from the beginning and seeing it flourish just as planned.

I’ve been with Meissner Joseph Ruggles since 2007, and I feel at home here because the other attorneys have values and philosophies similar to mine; I find the firm has a welcoming and friendly atmosphere.

In addition to working with clients directly, I teach seminars regarding estate planning, special needs trusts, and conservatorships for various organizations, including the Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Continuing Education of the Bar, the National Business Institute, Senior Legal Hotline, Special Kids In Educational Settings, the Sacramento County Law Library, financial advisors and CPAs, and others. I enjoy these seminars because I truly believe estate planning is essential, and I’m glad for the opportunity to guide people through this often complicated process.

Education

  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, Sacramento, California
    • Juris Doctor - 05/1998
    • Honors: Alumni Scholarship
    • Honors: James Foundation Scholarship
    • Honors: AmJur Award for Jurisprudence
    • Honors: Gary V. Shaber Memorial Scholarship
  • Pacific Union College, Angwin, California
    • B.S. - 06/1995
    • Honors: History Faculty Award, 1995
    • Honors: Steven J. Seeley III Classic Croquet Tournament Champion, 1993
    • Honors: Phi Alpha Theta-History Honor Society
    • Honors: Sigma Tau Delta-English Honor Society
    • Honors: Academic Administration Employee of the Year, 1992 & 1993
    • Major: History & Government
    • Minor: Business Administration

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1998

Professional Associations

  • California Bar Association
  • California State Bar, Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Section, Member
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Former Board Member
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Probate & Estate Planning Section Member
  • Senior Legal Hotline Former Volunteer
  • California Women Lawyers, Member
  • Women Lawyers of Sacramento, Past President
  • California Conference of Bar Associations, Former Delegate

Current Employment Position

  • Attorney

Past Positions

  • Drobny Law Offices, Inc., Associate Attorney, 2002 - 2007
  • Goralka Law Firm, Associate Attorney, 1998 - 2002
  • Community Legal Services, Sacramento, CA, Federal and State Court Certified Law Student, 1996 - 1998
  • Community Legal Services, Sacramento, CA, Governing Board Member, 1997 - 1998
  • Small Claims Advisors Clinic, Sacramento, CA, Small Claims Advisor, 1996 - 1997
  • Kelly Temporary Services, Roseville, CA, 1991 - 1995, 1998 - 1998
  • Pacific Union College, Angwin, CA, Student Assistant, 1994 - 1995
  • Pacific Union College, Angwin, CA, Secretary to the Assistant Academic Dean, 1991 - 1994
  • Adventist Health Systems West, Roseville, CA, File Clerk, 1993 - 1993

Languages

  • English

Classes and Seminars

  • Divorce and Death, California State Bar
  • Probate Start to Finish, NBI
  • Fiduciary Accountings, Legal Secretary Institute
  • Conservatorships, Various

Specialties and Certifications

  • Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate law as determined by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization