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Laurel Stephenson

Laurel Stephenson


Laurel Stephenson is a founding Member of Davis Stephenson, PLLC. She specializes in estate planning for high net worth individuals and multi‐generational families. She works with her clients to develop estate plans tailored to preserve, protect, and transfer the wealth they spent their lives accumulating in a manner designed to fulfill their unique objectives. As a result, Laurel has experience in counseling clients with regard to transfer tax and charitable planning, preparing complex estate planning documents, negotiating and drafting marital property agreements, representing clients subject to gift and estate tax audits by the Internal Revenue Service, coordinating estate administrations, and providing technical assistance with regard to fiduciary litigation matters.

Prior to starting Davis Stephenson, Laurel practiced ten years at a boutique estate planning law firm in Dallas. However, she began her career in private practice with a large Dallas law firm after starting her legal career as an attorney in the Estate and Gift Tax Division of the Internal Revenue Service.

Education & Accreditation

  • The University of Texas School of Law (1994), J.D., with Honors
  • Texas A & M University (1990), B.S. in Economics, summa cum laude
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization (2003-present)

Honors & Awards

  • “Texas Super Lawyer,” as compiled by Thomson Reuters, Inc. and published in Texas Monthly Magazine (2012-present)
  • Selected by her peers as one of the Best Lawyers in Dallas  in the area of Trusts & Estates in D Magazine (2016-present)

Professional Memberships & Designations

  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Fellow
  • State Bar of Texas Tax Section, Member
    • Council Member
    • Co-Chair of Estate and Gift Tax Committee
    • Co-Course Director, State Bar of Texas, Tax Section, Tax Law in a Day, Dallas, Texas, February 3, 2017
  • State Bar of Texas Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section, Member
    • REPTL Reporter, Estate and Gift Taxation Co-Editor
    • Planning Committee of the Advanced Estate Planning and Probate Course 2018, Member
  • Dallas Bar Association, Member
    • Probate, Trusts and Estates Section, Council Member
    • Tax Section, Member
  • Dallas Estate Planning Council, Member
    • Board of Governors Member (2015-2017)
    • Community Outreach Initiative, Past Chair
  • Estate Planning Council of North Texas, Member
  • Communities Foundation of Texas Advisory Council, Member
  • American Bar Association, Section of Taxation
    • Estate and Gift Taxes Committee
    • Fiduciary Income Tax Committee
  • American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Section
    • Estate and Gift Tax Committee
    • Non‐Tax Estate Planning Considerations Group

Publications & Speeches

  • “Advisors Discussing Collaboration with Case Studies,” Dallas Estate Planning Council, Dallas, Texas, December 5, 2019
  • “Divorce-Proofing the Plan,” Texas Society of CPAs 66th Annual Texas CPA Tax Institute, Dallas, Texas, November 14, 2019 and San Antonio, Texas, November 15, 2019
  • “The Ultimate Worrier” – Ways to Protect the Plan from Client Neglect and Faulty Maintenance,” State Bar of Texas 43rd Annual Advanced Estate Planning & Probate Course, San Antonio, Texas, June 18, 2019
  • “Revving up your Revocable Trust,” Southwest Community Foundation, Dallas, Texas, May 13, 2019
  • “A Second Look at SLATs in Light of Repeal of I.R.C. § 682,” The REPTL Reporter, Volume 56, No. 3, August 2018
  • “Divorce-Proofing Estate Plans,” co-presenter, Texas Bankers Association Trust, Estate & Portfolio Management Forum, San Antonio, Texas, October 18, 2018
  • “Divorce-Proofing the Estate Plan,” co-presenter, State Bar of Texas 42nd Annual Advanced Estate Planning and Probate Course, Dallas, Texas, June 13, 2018
  • “Fiduciary Duties,” State Bar of Texas Advanced Estate Planning Strategies Course, Santa Fe, New Mexico, April 13, 2018
  • “Estate and Gift Tax Implications with an Agent’s Power to Make Gifts under the New Texas Durable Power of Attorney Statute,” Co-Author, Texas Tax Lawyer, Volume 45, No. 1, Fall 2017
  • Comments to US Department of Treasury and IRS regarding various estate and gift tax related matters, on behalf of the State Bar of Texas, Tax Section, June through December 2017
  • “Revving up your Revocable Trust,” State Bar of Texas 41st Annual Advanced Estate Planning and Probate Course, Houston, Texas, June 7, 2017
  • “Recent Developments in Estate and Gift Tax for the Tax Practitioner,” co-presenter, Dallas Bar Association Tax Section, February 6, 2017
  • Testimony before US Department of Treasury and IRS regarding Proposed 2704 Regulations, on behalf of the State Bar of Texas, Tax Section, December 1, 2016
  • Comments to US Department of Treasury and IRS regarding Proposed 2704 Regulations, on behalf of the State Bar of Texas, Tax Section, November 2, 2016
  • “Estate and Gift Tax Updates,” State Bar of Texas, Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section Reporter, Volume 55, Number 1 – present
  • Comments to US Department of Treasury and IRS regarding Proposed 6035 Regulations, on behalf of the State Bar of Texas, Tax Section, June 17, 2016
  • “Preserving the Family Vacation Home – and Family Harmony,” Dallas Bar Association Headnotes, Volume 40, Number 12, December 2015
  • “Drafting CLTs – What You Can and Can’t Do,” State Bar of Texas 26th Annual Estate Planning & Probate Drafting Course, Houston, Texas, October 8, 2015
  • “Skipping Your Way Through GST Tax Returns,” authored paper presented at the Dallas Society of CPAs Convergence 2015, Dallas, Texas, May 8, 2015

Community Service & Personal Interests

  • Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, Cooking With Loving Hands Volunteer
  • Make a Wish Foundation Wish Night Volunteer
  • Enjoys attending Aggie football and baseball games, running, and designing jewelry