VOL. 118 | NO. 10 | Thursday, January 15, 2004
-Tell me about your educational background
McDaniel Leads National Estate Planning Group
The Daily News
A. Stephen Steve McDaniel, senior partner with Memphis law
firm Williams, McDaniel, Wolfe & Womack, is 2004 president of the National
Association of Estate Planners and Councils, which promotes cooperation among
lawyers, accountants, trust officers, financial planners and life insurance
agents who provide estate planning services. McDaniel earned a law degree from
the University of Memphis in 1973.
Q. Tell me about your career background and your
I worked for the IRS as an attorney from 1973
through 1975. I joined Bob Williams and Robert Benham (now a probate
judge) in 1975. We now have 13 attorneys, and seven do almost nothing but
estate planning and probate.
Q. Tell me about your work with the NAEPC.
It is a great organization that tries to educate the
public and support quality estate planners. There are a lot of
less-than-honest people taking advantage of the public's lack of good
information. They sell boilerplate trusts and other products to the public
using fear of probate and taxes.
As president, I'll try to promote our organization to the
public and other estate planning organizations around the country. I'll try to
promote the use of Accredited Estate Planners to the public.
Q. Describe the association's presence in Memphis and the
work it does here.
The Memphis estate planning council goes back about 35
years. It has about 140 members from the various professions, and it is a good
group. It helps us get to know each other and hopefully better work together. Estate
planning is a team effort no one person has all the answers. By working
together for the client, the client benefits from the advice of the various
Q. What led you to a career in law?
Long story. It was 69, I was teaching eighth
grade, trying to get into the Navy and stay out of the Army. I failed
the draft physical and I needed something to do, so I started law school
at night. Four years later I was (a lawyer).
Q. What is most rewarding/challenging about your area of
The most rewarding part is watching a plan come together
and work. It is a feel-good practice, especially when it works.
The most challenging part is dealing with a dysfunctional
family following death, especially those who learned the word greed. Often
the grief-stricken son or daughter only wants to know two things: How much
do I inherit and how soon do I get it? It really hurts to see families
fight, and poorly prepared documents make for really, really good fights. We
try to make it harder for them to fight by doing clear and readable documents.
Name: Steve McDaniel
Position: Senior partner
Company: Williams, McDaniel, Wolfe & Womack
Basics: McDaniel, who joined his firm in 1975, is
president of a national, multi-disciplinary association for estate planning
Estate planning is a team effort no one person has all
the answers. By working together for the client, the client benefits from the
advise of the various professionals.