Napa estate planning and elder law attorney Anthony G. Celaya wrote that he has a passion “for providing peace of mind,” for his clients.
It’s a passion that seems to come from experience.
“I’ve seen it all — from children left without guardians, to estates locked up in probate, to inheritances completely lost to creditors,” he wrote.
“I’ve dealt with rogue siblings taking advantage of unsuspecting parents, inheritances lost to needless tax disasters, and businesses that have failed because owners didn’t plan for their demise.”
His mission is “to protect my clients, their families, and their wealth from loss.”
1. Which three people would you most like to have dinner with?
Jesus Christ, Gautama Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi.
2. What job would you like to try/not try?
Not try: Actuary.
3. How did you get into this business/industry?
I initially thought the education (law school) would be invaluable and enable me to make a difference, whatever I ended up doing with it. When I graduated, I was not interested in working 18 hours/day at a law firm and wanted to start my own practice. With my math and business background, estate planning was the perfect thing.
4. What is the biggest challenge your business/industry has faced?
Changing tax laws as Congress changes.
5. What’s on your to-do list?
Learning 20 languages. I speak English and Spanish fluently, and have studied French, German, and Japanese. The plan is to take the next 40 years and become fluent in a language every two years. I already know what languages, and in what order. When I’m done, I’ll be able to communicate with well over half the people on the planet…likely more.
6. Who do you most admire in the business world?
The Merchant in Jesus’ parable of the Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:45-46). He gave up all his wealth for one pearl. For me, the pearl is family and faith.
7. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?
Live to be 100, then drop dead on the move. Otherwise, see my grandchildren and great-grandchildren happy, thriving and serving mankind.
8. If you could change one thing about your business/industry, what would it be?
Simplify tax laws; oh, and simplify California’s probate procedures.
9. What was your childhood ambition?
Be a famous archaeologist. More specifically, I was determined to find the Ark of the Covenant. As a 12-year old, I spent hours in the library tracing its last whereabouts (and this was long before I began reading the Bible devotionally).
You may not know that according to several National Geographic articles, Ethiopians claim that the ark came to them after Jerusalem was sacked by the Babylonians in 587 BC. You remember that the Queen of Sheba had connections with Solomon before that. Well, they claim the ark is stored in a small Byzantine—style chapel adjacent to the St. Mary of Zion Cathedral in Aksum where only one man—the Keeper of the Ark—can enter. It was Abba Mekonen the last time I checked, but I’m not sure if he’s still alive.
10. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
With my wife and children somewhere in a foreign country exploring…maybe the top of the Alps.