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Don D. Ford III

Don Ford.Board Certified
Don D. Ford III
Managing Partner

Practice Areas

Guardianship Litigation

Probate Litigation

Probate & Guardianship Mediation

Estate Tax & Gift Tax Issues

Probate & Guardianship Administration

Education

Baylor University School of Law (1997)
Juris Doctorate
Areas of Concentration: Estate Planning & Probate, Business Planning
Baylor University School of Business (1994)
Bachelor of Business Administration Accounting

In 2010, Mr. Ford achieved the highest distinction available to an attorney practicing in the area of Estate Planning and Probate in Texas. He has become Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, which is a recognition bestowed on a very few attorneys who have demonstrated special competence in this area of law and who have received recommendations from fellow attorneys and judges with whom they have worked.

In 2009, Mr. Ford completed the required course-work to become certified to serve as a mediator. In pursuit of this distinction, Mr. Ford attended the world-renowned Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, California. He attended this intensive course with the goal of being able to conduct mediations in probate and guardianship cases, as very few mediators in Texas specialize in these areas.

In 2006, Mr. Ford was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas to serve on the Guardianship Certification Board, which is a 15-member board that creates policy and oversees the regulation of private professional guardians in the State of Texas.  At the inaugural meeting of the GCB, Mr. Ford was elected as the Chair of the Rules Committee, where he has served with distinction since that time.

Mr. Ford's recent distinctions are reflective of a dedication to the areas of estate planning, probate, and guardianship that began early in his education.  In law school, Mr. Ford was fortunate to be able to concentrate his education in estate planning and business planning, not unlike a major in undergraduate school. His concentration in estate planning and business planning involved a curriculum designed around an in-depth study of those areas.

Additionally, he was able to regularly work one-on-one with professors in those fields so that before he even graduated from law school he had experience in tax planning and will drafting.

Mr. Ford graduated from Baylor University with degrees in Accounting and Law. He has also completed several post-graduate courses at Baylor in pursuit of a Masters in Taxation.

Following law school, he began his career as a Tax Attorney for a large international accounting and consulting firm, where he assisted clients primarily in the areas of Estate and Gift Tax and Personal Income Tax.

The combination of his tax-related degrees and his experience working as a Tax Attorney have given Mr. Ford a strong background in the areas of Estate Planning and Probate, and he has focused his attention and expertise in these areas ever since.

Mr. Ford devotes his knowledge and experience to maintaining the reputation of Ford+Bergner as a leading estate planning and probate firm in Texas.

Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate

Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 2010-Present

Guardianship Certification Board

Appointed by Chief Justice of Texas Supreme Court
Board Member, 2006-Present

  • Rules Committee (Chairman, 2006-present)
  • Legislative Committee (Member, 2007 Texas Legislative Session)
  • 2007 Texas Exam Writing Committee
Judicial Branch Certification Commission

Rules Task Force
2013 - Present

  • Assisting the Supreme Court of Texas in developing the rules to govern the new Judicial Branch Certification Commission
The Houston Lawyer Magazine

Editorial Board Member, 2000-Present

  • Guest Editor: Solo and Small Firms Issue; March/April 2010
  • Guest Editor: The Debate Over Judicial Selection Issue; March/April 2003
  • Guest Editor: Professionalism Issue; January/February 2002
Houston Lawyer Referral Service

Board of Trustees, Member, 2001-2012

  • Immediate Past President, 2011-2012
  • President, 2010-2011
  • President-Elect, 2009-2010
  • Vice President, 2002-2003, 2008-2009
  • Chair, Suspension and Termination Committee, 2002-2003, 2006-2007
  • Chair, Publicity Committee, 2005-2006
  • Chair, Experienced Panel Standards Committee, 2004-2005 
Texas Bar Foundation

Fellow, 2011-Present

  • Member, Membership Nominating Committee, 2011
Houston Bar Foundation

Member, 2006-Present

Texas Guardianship Association

Member, 2007-Present

Attorneys in Tax and Probate

Member, 2002-Present

Disability and Elder Law Attorneys' Association

Member, 1999-Present

National Business Institute

Member, Faculty and Planning Committee, 2003-Present

Certified Mediator

Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law. Mediation Certification Program completed August 2009

Estate Planning Makes Tax Sense

by Jackie Ingles
Turf Magazine, March 2013
(Quote from Don D. Ford III)

Your Complete Guide to Leaving an Inheritance for Your Children and Others

by Michael A. Valles
Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc., 2008
(pp. 20-22, written by Don D. Ford III)

Fundamental Issues to Understand Before Accepting a Guardianship Litigation Engagement

The Advocate Litigation Magazine
State Bar of Texas Litigation Section, Fall 2009

Estate Tax Repeal: Miracle or Myth?

The Houston Chronicle
August 31, 2001

A Review of Law Firm Fees & Compensation: Value & Growth Dynamics

by Edward Poll
The Houston Lawyer Magazine
January/February 2009

A Review of How to Build and Manage an Estates Practice

by Daniel B. Evans
The Houston Lawyer Magazine
July/August 2008

When Jurisdiction and Venue Clash in Probate Court

The Houston Lawyer Magazine
May/June 2005

A Spotlight on the HBA Elder Law Committee

The Houston Lawyer Magazine
January/February 2005

Who Can Change an Incompetent Person’s Domicile?

The Houston Lawyer Magazine
September/October 2003

The Debate Over Judicial Selection

Guest Editor
The Houston Lawyer Magazine
March/April, 2003

The Continued Debate Over Family Limited Partnerships

The Houston Lawyer Magazine
September/October 2002

Professionalism

The Houston Lawyer Magazine
January/February, 2002

Texas Center for the Judiciary: Civil Justice Conference

April 4, 2017

  • Improving Court Processes & Practices in Guardianship Cases
Institute for Paralegal Education

November 7, 2016

  • The Probate Process from Start to Finish for Paralegals
Denton County Probate Bar

November 4, 2016

  • Intestacy in Blended Families
The Probate Process from Start to Finish

April 29, 2016

South Texas College of Law Real Estate Law Conference

June 6, 2014

  • Probate Issues in Real Estate
The Probate Process from Start to Finish for Paralegals

November 13, 2013

Estate Planning from A to Z

October 30-31, 2013

The Probate Process from Start to Finish

April 17, 2013

  • Administering the Estate Effectively
  • Uncovering the Laws of Intestacy and How They May Apply
  • Putting the Case to Rest: Closing the Estate
Fundamentals of Trust Administration

May 10, 2012

  • Overcoming Ethical Challenges
  • Essential Steps in Trust Termination
Hidalgo County Bar Association Guardianship Course

March 2011

  • Fundamentals of Guardianship Litigation with an Emphasis on Discovery
Top 10 Estate Planning Techniques

February 19, 2009

  • Testamentary Trusts (Bypass and QTIP)
  • Business Entities (An Overview of the Basics)
  • Revocable Living Trusts vs. Traditional Wills
Probate: Beyond the Basics

June 13 & 20, 2008

  • Tips for Avoiding Liability Issues You May Face in Closing
  • Preparing for Challenging Litigation Issues in Probate Proceedings
The Probate Process from Start to Finish

April 17, 2007; April 23, 2008

  • The Laws of Intestacy and How They May Apply
  • Litigating the Case in Probate Course
  • Putting the Case to Rest:  Closing the Estate
Probate Practice: The Essential Basics

May 19, 2006

  • Basic Tax Matters
  • Common Probate Problems and How to Solve Them
Oddities and Challenges in Texas Probate Law

November 2004

  • Who's in Charge?  Issues Affecting Personal Representatives
  • Miscellaneous Odd and Challenging Issues in Probate
Alternatives to Guardianships

February 2002

  • Houston Bar Association's Probate Court Ad Litem Certification Course
700 Louisiana Street
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Houston, TX 77002
T: 713-260-3926
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33rd Floor
Dallas, TX 75202
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Austin, TX 78701
T: 713-260-3926
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