The Firm

About Taylor, Scoles, and Bartels

The firm was established by Arthur W. Taylor (U.C. Berkeley roommate of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren) who passed the bar in 1931 and was a Fillmore’s general practitioner until his death in 1981. Mr. Taylor’s practice was primarily probate, but occasionally he would help in a landlord dispute or a breach of contract. Sometimes his payments for services were a flat of strawberries or a box of oranges. In 1978, John Scoles joined the firm and worked with Art until Art’s death in 1981. Ms. Bartels started working for Mr. Scoles in 1988 as part-time office assistant.  He retired in 2013.  Ms. Bartels joined the firm in 1997.    

We currently have one Estate Planning Certified Specialist attorney, one office manager, one paralegal and two rescue German Shepherds: Brando and Ace. Our practice areas include all transactional aspects of estate planning, probate and trust administration.

Example Cases

Estate Planning:

A couple hears about “living trusts” from their neighbor and they want to know what that is and if they need one.  I will educate them on the effects of title on how their assets will be distributed on their death. I will explain to them the probate process and compare it to the trust process.  I will explain the effect of advanced health care directives and durable powers of attorney. 


A son calls and shares that his mother passed away and what does he do with her house.  We meet with the son and explain the process of administering the estate.  Detailed explanation of time-lines and the legal requirements are provided.

Probate Sales:

Son wants to sell his deceased mother’s house.   We refer him several real estate agents who are familiar with probate sales to assist him.  He learns the advantages and disadvantages of court-confirmed sales.  He learns how the civil code section on disclosures affects his sale.  Information on property tax relief under Proposition 58 which established property tax relief for transfers from parents to children is given.

Advanced Health Care Directives:

“My wife is going in for surgery tomorrow.  She told me that if something goes wrong and she slips into a coma that she does not want heroic measures used to keep her alive.”  The couple comes in and are given Advanced Health Care Directives.  We explain what they mean and how they are used.  We help them fill them out and provide extra copies for their families and doctors.


A widow wants to make some changes to her trust.  We review the trust and advise her on the types of amendments that she can make.

Small Estates:

Daughter’s father has passed away and she wants to close his account at the local bank.  We tell her that as long as his “estate” is under $166,250  she can have the funds distributed to the beneficiaries as long as forty (40) days have passed since date of death and she has a certified copy of his death certificate.  We work with the client and the bank to have the money distributed.

Trust Mills:

A couple comes in with a huge notebook and a “fill in the blank” type trust that they bought at a seminar in the Valley.  We help them understand what it says and means and make sure that it meets their needs and has been adequately funded.

Updates and Reviews:

Congress is constantly tinkering with the tax laws.  It has been a few years since their trust was drafted and the couple wants to make sure that their trust still meets their planning needs.  We review the documents and advise.

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