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Michael L. Graham

Chairman, Co-Founder, and Co-Author of Wealth Transfer Planning™

Picture: Michael L. Graham

Michael L. Graham

Michael L. Graham is Chairman of InterActive Legal and practicing law with the Houser Firm in Dallas, Texas.

I believe the work we are doing at InterActive Legal will last beyond my lifetime. Steve Jobs is quoted as saying that he wanted to "make a dent in the universe." While InterActive Legal may not be Apple (yet), I understand Jobs' desire to make a lasting impact.

We are at the threshold of massive change in almost every aspect of the practice of law. Technology, artificial intelligence, big data, and intelligence assistance are our daily fare. We understand our client's need for a flexible, intuitive platform with absolute excellence in function and design. Our partnership with IBM Watson, and our development of an IBM Watson application for seniors, gives us a unique perspective on the future of the practice of law and it is thrilling.

Our commitment is to serve and is evident in everything we do. From personalized online training to specialized CLE to annual symposiums with blockbuster lineups, we serve those who serve. This commitment was established by our founder, Jonathan Blattmachr, and continues today at each and every level of our company.

Now I would like to add a bit of provenance to this biography. I have been continuously Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for 40 years. At the tender age of 30, I became a full partner in one of the largest, most respected law firms in the US, Baker & Botts. I was honored by the invitation to become a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel at age 34, and later to have been chosen to be an Academician of the International Academy of Trust and Estate Lawyers. I strongly believe that every lawyer must give back to the practice of law. I have served as Chair of the Texas Bar Association's Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, the Houston Bar Association's Probate Section, and the Dallas Bar Association's Probate Section. Other professional contributions include Supervisory Council Member of the American Bar Association's Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section and President of the Texas Academy of Probate and Trust Lawyers.

It is my personal mission to provide excellence in the practice of law and best practices for other attorneys. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work at and achieve these goals through my practice at the Houser Law Firm and at InterActive Legal. This calling, involving my personal practice of faith through the recognition, respect, and love of others, is my heritage and passion. In my current law practice, which coexists with my service to InterActive Legal, I limit my focus to matters involving business and estate planning, administration of estates and trusts, and fiduciary based litigation. I have practiced at both large, international firms and small boutique firms over the last 44 years. I received my J.D., cum laude, from Baylor School of Law (1972), and my BBA from Baylor University (1971). I loved law school, and I love the law.

Events

Preview of Upcoming 47th Annual Notre Dame Tax and Estate Planning Institute

This will be a fast-paced review of a wide range of practical planning ideas including: Freeze planning for GST exposed trusts and QTIP trusts; Installment sales to non-grantor trusts; Mathematics of charitable planning; Creative planning considering the changing political landscape; Beneficial interests in trusts and dissolution of marriage; Strategies to avoid ethical issues in estate planning; Diversity, equity, and inclusion-practical tips; SLAT tips; ERC and PPP; Agreements that protect clients and advisors: inheritance agreements, siblings agreements, and agreements with caretakers; and more.

Digital Assets Revisited: Preparing for the Tsunami

Digital assets have been on the radar of estate planners for many years, but their scope has recently expanded – exponentially.

The pandemic forced more people online than ever before, and each account, domain name, and other online presence may need to be addressed in some way when a client dies, or becomes incapacitated. Attorneys who both plan estates and administer them therefore need to understand the underlying issues related to different types of digital property.

Join us as experts in the area of digital assets cover the issues you should address with every client, and discuss helpful tools that may also assist with handling digital assets for your clients. The presenters will discuss:

  • The digitization of estate planning
  • How attorneys must adapt to new technology, or face being left behind
  • Digital asset problems in estate administration and how to handle them
  • How to handle digital assets when planning an estate – what to ask and what to look for
  • Why a standard provision in a Will or Trust may not be enough
  • Best practices
  • And more

Don’t miss this timely discussion of a topic that most of us may feel we have adequately covered, but actually may need to address in much more detail.

Digital Assets Revisited

Please Note: ILS subscribers have complimentary access to this video in the ILS Webinar Library. One more reason to become a subscriber

Single Clients: Planning Considerations

Too often planning articles and conferences use a “Cleaver family” as the touchstone for planning. The reality is that intact married family units constitute a small percentage of the population. Further, a tremendous percentage of the population is single and the proportion of the population that is single has grown substantially over the decades and that trend may continue. Over 50% of the population, about 125 million adults are single. That has increased dramatically from 1950 when the percentage was less than half that amount, 22%. Tax laws often favor married couples. Consider the unlimited estate tax marital deduction for US citizen spouses. The new proposals for deemed realization have an exclusion for US spouses that is not available to the heirs of a single client. Spousal rights of election protect a spouse from disinheritance. In contrast an unmarried partner may have little or no protection. How should documents be drafted differently? How might tax and other planning change? This webinar will provide a review of many of the nuances of planning for the single client.


Life and Death Planning for Retirement Benefits

Digital Subscription | by Natalie Choate

For more information, visit RetirementBenefitsPlanning

InterActive Legal

Contact InterActive Legal

InterActive Legal

930 South Harbor City Blvd, Ste 505
Melbourne, FL 32901