Dani Smith

Dani assists clients in the development of comprehensive estate plans. She prepares all of the traditional estate and gift planning documents such as wills, trusts, and incapacity-related documents as well as documents for sophisticated planning techniques. Dani represents clients in all phases of probate and trust administration matters including dispute resolution of family conflicts that can arise upon the death or incapacity of a family member.

People often ask Dani how a gal from Dumas, Texas, ended up in Dallas practicing as both an estate planning attorney and a fiduciary and probate litigation counselor. As a summer clerk at BakerHostetler in Orlando while attending law school at the University of Florida, Dani was introduced to the mother of an incapacitated man. He could not walk or talk. The mother cared for him 24 hours a day while also raising an older son. Millions of dollars were held in a court-supervised guardianship due to a medical malpractice recovery. Even so, only minimal funds were distributed to the mother for expenses beyond basic needs. Unable to work outside the home, the mother could barely clothe her older son. Dani worked with her during that summer to establish budgetary needs and develop a case for necessary distributions. After law school, Dani went back to BakerHostetler as an associate attorney and went back to work on the case, ultimately helping secure a court ruling against the guardian to require adequate and reasonable pay for the mother as well funds for additional caretakers. This set in motion Dani’s nurturing and caring approach to the practice of law.

As all Texans tend to do, Dani moved back to Texas. She joined Strasburger & Price, LLP, in 1997. But it was helping that Orlando family that hooked Dani into the estate planning and probate practice field and was her first lesson in the importance and effect that this practice area has on people’s lives.
Dani strives to provide customized legal solutions that will help individuals and families develop an estate plan that takes into consideration not only the estate and gift tax consequences, but also the family dynamics, potential will contests and future creditor protection. In addition to the traditional estate and gift planning documents, she prepares marital deduction trusts, credit shelter trusts, life insurance trusts, special needs trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, installment sales to inter vivos trusts, family limited partnerships, charitable trusts, and marital property agreements. She advises and represents clients on all aspects of an estate administration, trust administration or guardianship administration matter, including any applicable gift or estate tax returns. When a dispute arises upon the death or incapacity of a loved one, she helps her client navigate the legal issues with a focus on resolving the dispute without protracted and expensive litigation. When a tough litigator is needed for a matter, however, Dani doesn’t hesitate to bring in the right litigation attorney to work with her.

Where would you find Dani in her free time? She’ll tell you she’s a loving and devoted mom to her daughter. But ask her daughter, Jenna, who will probably laugh in your face and tell you that you’ll probably have to head out to Arlington and look for her at a Rangers game. Dani’s one and only claim to fame: making it on national TV for a good 15 seconds while at a Texas Rangers v. Boston Red Sox game on a trip to Boston (she was clearly busted as she was on a business trip at the time).

Education, Admissions and Certifications:
  • University of Florida College of Law, J.D. (with honors) 1993
  • Florida Law Review
  • Texas Tech University, B.A. 1985
  • Admitted to the State Bar of Florida by the Supreme Court of Florida, 1993
  • Admitted to the State Bar of Texas by the Supreme Court of Texas, 1997
  • Board Certified Estate Planning and Probate Law – Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • Certified by the State Bar of Texas under Probate Code Section 646 to serve as an Ad Litem in Guardianship Proceedings
Memberships:
  • Texas Super Lawyer, Texas Monthly Magazine, 2003 – 2015
  • Best Lawyers in Dallas by D Magazine, 2011
  • Past Chair of the Probate, Trusts and Estates Section, Dallas Bar Association 2014-2015; Chair Elect 2013 – 2014; Secretary-Treasurer 2012 – 2013
  • Member, Estate Planning and Probate Section, Collin County Bar Association
  • Member, Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section, State Bar of Texas
Honors and Awards:
  • Texas Super Lawyer, Texas Monthly Magazine, 2003 – 2015
  • Best Lawyers in Dallas by D Magazine, 2011
Professional Experience:
  • Solo Practice – 2013-2015
  • Strasburger & Price, LLP, partner – 1997-2013
  • BakerHostetler, associate – 1993-1997
Representative Presentations:
  • Texas Probate Code, Annual Texas Bankers Association Trust School (Dallas, June 2001-2010);
  • Dependent Administration & Heirship, Texas College of Probate Judges Annual Conference (Dallas, Texas, September 2003) and Probate Section, Collin County Bar Association (Allen, August, 2009);
  • Wealth Transfer Updates, Strasburger & Price, LLP, Annual Tax Symposium (2000 -2012)
  • PESI (Half-Moon): The Complete Trust Course (July 2009, September 2010, February 2013); Estate Planning (July 2010, April 2013); Estate and Gift Tax Workshop (July 2011)
  • IRA’s, Other Pensions and Non-Probate Assets; Beneficiary Designations, Solo and Small Firm Section of the Dallas Bar Association (September 2011, August 2013)

Dani Smith's Contact Information

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