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Don D. Ford
Don D. Ford

Biography

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.

Education

  • Baylor University School of Law, Waco, Texas
    • J.D. - 1997
    • Major: Areas of Concentration: Estate Planning & Probate; Business Planning
  • Pepperdine University, Malibu, California
  • Baylor University, Waco, Texas
    • B.B.A. - 1994
    • Major: Accounting

Practice Areas

  • Estate, Trust, and Guardianship Litigation 70%
  • Estate Planning 15%
  • Uncontested Probate and Guardianship 15%

Professional Associations

  • Judicial Branch Certification Commission, Commissioner, 2014 to Present
  • Guardianship Certification Board, Vice Chairman, 2006 to 2014
  • Real Estate, Probate & Trust Law Section, Member, 1999 to Present
  • The Houston Lawyer Magazine, Editorial Board Member, 1999 to 2010
  • Houston Lawyer Referral Service, Board Member and Chair, 1999 to 2011
  • Texas Guardianship Association, Member
  • Oddities and Challenges in Texas Probate, Faculty and Planning Committee
  • Houston Attorneys in Tax and Probate, Member
  • Disability and Elder Law Attorneys' Association, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • American Bar Association, Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section
  • Houston Bar Association, Member
  • Houston Bar Association, Law Practice Management Section
  • Houston Young Lawyers' Association, Member
  • State Bar of Texas, Member
  • Crystal Shores East Homeowners' Association, Member, Board of Directors
  • The Joshua Foundation, Board Member
  • Dallas Bar Association
  • Dallas Bar Association, Probate Section

Bar Admission

  • Texas, 1997

Representative Cases

  • In Re: Peggy Fowler Redding
  • Guyton v. Monteau
  • Dennis Pharris Appeal

Published Works

  • Estate Planning Makes Tax Sense, Turf Magazine, March 2013
  • Your Complete Guide to Leaving an Inheritance for Your Children and Other, Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc., 2008
  • 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 of Myth?, The Houston Chronicle, August 31, 2001
  • Muniment of Title: The Misunderstood Method of Probate, March, 1, 2006
  • A Review of Law Firm Fees & Compensation: Value & Growth Dynamics, The Houston Lawyer Magazine, January/February 2009
  • A Review of How to Build and Manage an Estates Practice, The Houston Lawyer Magazine, July/August 2008
  • The Guardianship Certification Board: A Legislative Attempt to Protect The Elderly, The Houston Lawyer Magazine, May/June 2006
  • 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
  • Guest Editor: Solo and Small Firms Issue; March/April, The Houston Lawyer Magazine 2010
  • Guest Editor, The Debate Over Judicial Selection, The Houston Lawyer Magazine, March/April, 2003
  • Guest Editor, Professionalism, The Houston Lawyer Magazine, January/February, 2002
  • The Continued Debate Over Family Limited Partnerships, The Houston Lawyer Magazine, September/October, 2002
  • Navigating Businesses through the Claims Procedure in Probate Court, Corporate Counsel Review, Journal Published by the South Texas College of Law, Spring, 2005
  • Who's in Charge?, Oddities and Challenges in Texas Probate, November 16, 2004
  • Miscellaneous Odd Issues in Probate, Oddities and Challenges in Texas Probate, November 16, 2004

Languages

  • English

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Estate Planning and Probate, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 2010
  • Judicial Branch Certification Commission, Rules Task Force, 2013
  • Certified Mediator, Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law. Mediation Certification Program completed August 2009
  • Guardianship Certification Board, Appointed by Chief Justice of Texas Supreme Court, Board Member, 2006
  • Ad Litem, Probate Court in Texas

Honors

  • Fellow of the Houston Bar Foundation

Classes & Seminars

  • Trusts and Estates: Business or Calling?, North Texas Probate Bench Bar, 2020
  • Transitioning to the JBCC, Texas Bar Advanced Guardianship, 2014
  • Denton County Bench Bar, Denton County Probate Bar, 2017
  • Numerous Probate & Guardianship Presentations, National Business Institute, 2001 to Present
  • Texas Center for the Judiciary: Civil Justice Conference, April 4, 2017
  • Institute for Paralegal Education, November 7, 2016
  • Denton County Probate Bar, November 4, 2016
  • The Probate Process from Start to Finish, April 29, 2016
  • South Texas College of Law Real Estate Law Conference, June 6, 2014
  • 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
  • Fundamentals of Trust Administration, May 10, 2012
  • Hidalgo County Bar Association Guardianship Course, March 2011
  • Top 10 Estate Planning Techniques, February 19, 2009
  • Probate: Beyond the Basics, June 13 & 20, 2008
  • The Probate Process from Start to Finish, April 17, 2007; April 23, 2008
  • Probate Practice: The Essential Basics, May 19, 2006
  • Oddities and Challenges in Texas Probate Law, November 2004
  • National Business Institute, Member, Faculty and Planning Committee, 2003
  • Alternatives to Guardianships, February 2002

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow, 2011
  • Texas Bar Foundation, Member, Membership Nominating Committee, 2011
  • Houston Bar Foundation, Member, 2006