Practice Areas


Practice Areas


Since 1989, the legal practice of Michele O’Brien has focused on goal oriented Estate Planning strategies; these strategies include Preparation of Wills and Trusts for management, general and estate tax planning, charitable gifting or other disposition planning. General federal estate-tax minimization and other loss of estate value is reviewed together with management of these factors. Methods to reduce estate shrinkage and manage an estate are tailored to meet personal objectives in different circumstances.

Incorporated into estate planning, is planning for persons who have Special Needs. This Special Needs planning extends to personal management, estate protection and management and may include Guardianship (of the person and/or the Estate) proceedings, if warranted.

Another critical area in Special Needs Planning is the necessity for the special needs person to attain or maintain eligibility for government “needs tested” programs (as well as general property management). This eligibility can be accomplished either through proper advance planning or creating a “First Party Special Needs Trust” (Trust approval required by SSA or authorized Texas agency).

From 1984 through 1993, Ms. O’Brien practiced as a civil trial attorney in business/commercial matters and consumer disputes. From this experience she began serving as a neutral in disputes as a mediator and arbitrator (see below).

Business Planning, Structure, Organization and Management is coordinated in the estate planning review or as a separate consideration.


Alternative Dispute Resolution

Since 1989, Ms. O’Brien has served in over 2,000 mediations and has been sole or panelist arbitrator in over 500 arbitrations. Matters included construction disputes involving federal, state and county government, contract and commercial matters, securities, employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, DTPA claims, personal injury, wrongful death, medical, insurance, labor and legal malpractice and probate disputes. Arbitration panelist: American Arbitration Association (commerical cases) NASD (investments, securities)


Alternative Dispute Resolution Training

AAA Large Complex Case Panel / Chair Workshop, Phoenix, Arizona; AAA Commercial Arbitrator Training Workshop, Orlando, 10/98; Association of Attorney Mediators, Advanced Mediation Training, 1992-94, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2003; Texas Association of Mediators, Advanced Mediation Training, 1995, 1998; Faculty, Houston Bar Association, Peer Mediation Project, 1994-95; Faculty, AAA Mediation Training, 1992-94; AAA Securities Arbitrator Training, Houston, 1993; AAA Advanced Arbitrator Training, 1992; AAA Basic Arbitrator Training, 1992; AMI Institute, Mediation Training, 1991; A.A. White Dispute Resolution Institute, Mediation Training, 1991.

Estate Planning

Estate Planning involves looking at the ‘big picture’ and breaking it into manageable components, coordinating the parts so that the total plan can meet your goals.

Wills and Probate

This area can be complex due to family relations that do not get easier over time. Use of Wills and Trusts afford the opportuntity to place into operation a plan for avoiding potential financial disputes.

Additional Practice Areas

  • Trusts
  • Asset Protection
  • Corporations
  • Estate Administration
  • Family Business Entities
  • Financial Planning
  • Business Organization
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