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Thomas J. Houser


Tom is a senior shareholder of the Davis Brown Law Firm.  He is also the chair of the Estate Planning Department. Tom's areas of practice include estate planning, business and succession planning and estate administration and trust estates.

Tom's practice concentrates on crafting comprehensive estate plans that accomplish a client's personal objectives in a tax efficient manner.  He offers advice on methods for distributing wealth to the next generation, transfer techniques for the family business, tools that leverage the transfer tax system, coordinating beneficiary designations with the estate plan, and distributions from qualified plans and IRAs.  He also advises on asset protection matters, pre-marital planning and handles complex estate and trust administration. 



Estate Planning:

  • Advisor to more than 100 physicians, 60 business owners, and 50 executives of Fortune 500 companies on their personal estate plans, succession plans and asset protection concerns.  
  • Advised on wealth transfer techniques including family limited partnerships and Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs) for patriarch of closely held business valued at more than $60 million.
  • Routinely advises mature clients on revocable trust agreements as a probate avoidance technique, federal estate and state inheritance tax minimization and Title XIX qualification issues.  
  • Counsels parents of minor children regarding guardianships, testamentary trusts, special needs trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, advanced directives and beneficiary designations. 

Business and Succession Planning:

  • Advised on the transfer of several family enterprises including an excavation business, a residential appraisal business, a commercial general contractor.  
  • Counseled dozens of farmers on the transfer of their farming operations, including transfers to children active in the business while providing for children not involved in the business.   
  • Reviews, advises and drafts buy/sell agreements, non-compete agreements, covenants not to solicit and non-piracy covenants.   
  • Drafted non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements for senior executives of a large retirement home operation.  
  • Counsels business owners on general business issues including formation, termination, acquisitions, routine asset purchases and sale agreements.


  • Successfully removed an individual trustee from office and forced reimbursement of mismanaged assets.
  • Enjoined the sale of a closely held business and gained the appointment of a receiver in a state court action to judicially dissolve a limited liability company.  
  • Second chair on federal district court commercial litigation case involving a failed construction and demolition recycling system.  
  • Prosecuted and defended several will contest, will construction and contested probate and trust administration actions.