Bill is an honors graduate of Michigan State University in accounting. While attending law school he worked summers for two of the “Big 8″ accounting firms: Ernst & Ernst and Lybrand, Ross Brothers and Montgomery. After receiving his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1972, Bill practiced as a trial lawyer for the law firm of Steiner, Crum and Baker in Montgomery, Alabama. He obtained his LLM tax degree from the University of Florida Graduate Tax Program in 1975, graduating with highest honors.
His practice as a trusts and estates lawyer with Beggs & Lane began in September 1975. Bill’s primary supervisor and mentor at Beggs & Lane was Mr. E. Dixie Beggs, a well-known and respected trusts and estates lawyer and a former President of the Florida Bar. Bill’s philosophy about the practice of law can be traced directly to the training he received from the partners in Steiner, Crum & Baker (Walter R. Byars and Roland M. Nachman) and his partners in Beggs & Lane (Mr. Beggs and the Hon. C. Roger Vinson – now Senior U. S. District Judge for the Northern District of Florida).
From 1986 to 2013, Bill worked as a solo practitioner in a successful estate planning practice in Pensacola, Florida. We are thrilled to have Bill re-join Beggs & Lane as head of the firm’s Trust, Estate and Tax Section.
Bill is Board Certified in Tax Law by the Florida Board of Legal Specialization and Education. He is also AV rated under Martindale-Hubbell’s peer review rating system.
Bill’s trusts and estates practice is geared to serve high net worth individuals as well as those clients of modest means. In his over four decades of practice, Bill has developed estate plans for well over 7,500 clients. He presently maintains a continuing professional relationship with over 2,500 families, administers on the average over 100 estates per year, and develops between 100 and 200 sophisticated estate plans each year. These estate plans typically involve the preparation of Wills, Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts, Qualified Personal Residence Trusts, Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts, Grantor Retained Unitrusts, Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts, Charitable Lead Trusts, Charitable Remainder Trusts, Private Foundations, Private Operating Foundations and other sophisticated trusts and estates documents.
He advises local charities concerning their operational activities and has prepared a large number of organizational documents for such charities, having prepared many Form 1023’s and associated documents for the qualification of charitable organizations.
Bill prepares and manages through audit and appeal many sophisticated estate and gift tax returns. He has also developed a reputation for resolving post-death estate administration problems, typically the result of poor lifetime estate planning, mistakes by other professionals and/or unique family situations. This includes the use of such post-mortem documents as disclaimers and the use of court approved reconstruction of poorly drafted estate planning documents.
For more information, contact Beggs & Lane at (850) 432-2451.