2020 Legal Elite — Taxes/Estates/Trusts Profile
Christine Nguyen Piersall, Williams Mullen, Norfolk
Title: Partner/chair of Estate Planning: Private Client & Fiduciary Services Practice
Other legal specialties: Business succession, commercial real estate
Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Virginia; law degree, University of Richmond
Spouse: Von L. “Trey” Piersall III
Children: Liliane, 14; Benjamin, 12
First job as a lawyer: Associate at Cooper, Spong & Davis PC
Fan of: Dallas Cowboys
Recently read book: The “Crazy Rich Asians” trilogy by Kevin Kwan
Favorite vacation spot: New Orleans
Career mentors: Albert J. Taylor Jr., Amy G. Pesesky, Joseph A. Di Julio
How has the pandemic shaped timelines for estate planning?
People are nervous about an illness that has the potential to be fatal. There are a lot of clients who are doing estate planning for the first time or reviewing their current plans. The timeline has been moved up. I recommend that if you do not have a plan in place, that you get one done as soon as possible.
What have you seen happen in terms of business succession plans as baby boomers age?
The baby boomers are very organized. I am seeing a lot more planning and preparation for retirement and succession planning. We are seeing more operating agreements to deal with succession, as well as buy-sell agreements. In addition, clients are leaving business assets to specific children/individuals rather than in equal shares to all the children.
What sort of pro bono work does the firm do for estate planning?
Everyone should have an estate plan. However, not everyone can afford an attorney. My partner, Andy Nea, started organizing pro bono clinics to provide estate planning documents for low-income seniors throughout Virginia. During these clinics, Williams Mullen attorneys partner with law students to counsel clients and prepare wills, durable general powers of attorney and advance medical directives.
See more from our 2020 Legal Elite package: