I am an estate planning and probate attorney who helps clients from across the United States with Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida matters.
My first priority in probate matters is to get the job done with as little expense and delay as possible. To keep this focus, I am selective about the probate clients that I accept. I do not usually represent heirs or beneficiaries in disputes involving probate and estate administration. This keeps me free to focus on efficiently moving uncontested estates through the probate process.
I help my estate planning clients arrange their affairs so that their assets are handled as they wish when the client dies or becomes incapacitated. I have a background in tax law that informs my estate planning practice.
Although no two estate plans are alike, the estate plans that I prepare usually provide for the possibility of incapacity as well as the certainty of death. My goal is to both protect the assets during the client’s lifetime and distribute them in the manner the client chooses after death.
A good number of my estate plans involve trusts. Sometimes trusts are established at death (to provide for minor children, for example) and other times we set up a revocable/living trust that becomes effective immediately (for probate avoidance, asset protection, or incapacity planning). And if the client has estate tax concerns, we can use credit shelter, disclaimer, or other trusts to help achieve optimal estate tax savings.
My estate planning clients range from the very modest to the very wealthy. I don’t “sell” one-size-fits-all estate planning forms. Each estate plan is customized to the client’s specific circumstances. Estate plans may range from a simple will-based estate plan for clients with modest estates to a complex estate plan involving family limited partnerships and tax-driven trusts for more wealthy clients. Because I use a value pricing model, my clients are able to weigh the cost against the benefit and choose the plan that is appropriate to their circumstances.
Other Practice Areas
It’s impossible to be a good estate planning and probate attorney without having some knowledge of real estate, business, and tax law. So while probate and estate planning are my focus, I have a secondary practice that includes these areas. My real estate practice typically involves deed preparation for out-of-state clients, usually in connection with estate planning or to avoid probate. I set up a number of small businesses, ranging from family limited partnerships for estate planning purposes to closely-held corporations and LLCs for asset protection.
I am also active in the charitable community and have represented nonprofit organizations in tax and corporate governance matters. My nonprofit practice involves helping nonprofits obtain and maintain tax exemption, comply with charitable registration laws, and structure their operations to remain compliant. I have served as general counsel for various 501(c)(3) organizations.
My Educational and Professional Background
I graduated with honors from the University of Southern Mississippi (2001). I studied law at Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana, where I graduated magna cum laude in 2004. I then obtained a post-law degree called a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in taxation from New York University in 2005.
After law school, I practiced for several years as a tax and estate planning associate with Phelps Dunbar and Balch & Bingham. I left the big firm world to start my own practice in 2008.
I have served in various capacities with the Real Property, Trust & Estate Section of the American Bar Association. I was appointed by the Mississippi Secretary of State to serve on the Trust Laws Study Group of the 2009 Business Reform Study Group and selected by the Mississippi Business Journal as one of Mississippi’s Top 50 Attorneys for Leadership in Law “Class of 2010.”