Gregory Herman-Giddens, JD, LLM, TEP, CFP®
Greg Herman-Giddens is a problem solver.
Ever since opening his own law firm to focus solely on estate planning and probate work in 1996, Herman-Giddens has relished the daily challenge of figuring out the best solutions for his clients.
“I like the intellectual challenge of my work and the fact that no matter how long I practice I can still increase my knowledge and skill sets that will benefit my clients,” he says. “I just really like being able to solve problems for people.”
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina in 1984 and his juris doctorate from Tulane University Law School in 1988, Herman-Giddens had a general practice at a Durham law firm for a time before he determined that estate planning and probate work was what he most wanted to do. So he enrolled at the University of Miami School of Law and received his LL.M. in Estate Planning in 1993.
He then returned to North Carolina and practiced at a Chapel Hill estate planning firm for two years before he decided he wanted to open his own firm.
From the start, Herman-Giddens has offered a full array of estate planning and related services to clients, including standard estate planning, estate, gift and income tax planning, creation of irrevocable trusts, small business and nonprofit organization formation, and estate and trust administration.
“I feel my job is to educate people and let them choose what they feel works best for their family situation,” he says. “I want to make sure that people are aware that there are things they can do to protect their assets. Some people choose to not implement those strategies, which is fine, but at least they know about their options.”
No matter what service he’s providing, his top priority is always the best interests of the client.
“One thing I value is being responsive to clients,” he says. “I stress that for myself and for my entire firm--that we need to be very prompt in following up with people and trying to get back to people within 24 hours, whether it’s a phone call or email.”
Herman-Giddens also serves as a trustee and particularly enjoys that role in several special-needs trusts — a reflection of his undergraduate background in psychology and his participation in a program to assist young adults with mental illness when he was in law school.
In addition to his busy practice, Herman-Giddens is active in professional activities. He became a Certified Financial Planner in 2007 and attends several continuing legal education programs each year. He’s also become increasingly active as a speaker at continuing education programs for lawyers, paralegals and financial planners.
In addition, Herman-Giddens maintains the North Carolina Estate Planning Blog, which he launched in 2006 as the first estate-planning blog specific to North Carolina. The blog is syndicated, and in 2011 was ranked in the U.S.’s top 25 estate planning, elder law and probate blogs by LexisNexis.
His leisure pursuits include running — he ran a 50-mile race to celebrate his 50th birthday — travel, and cross-country motorcycling.
Practice areas: Estate Planning Law; Probate Law; Estate and Gift Taxation Law; Charitable Giving Law; Guardianship Law; Trust Administration Law; Fiduciary Income Tax Law; Nonprofit Organizations Law; Family Wealth Transfer Law.
Bar admissions: North Carolina (1988); U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina (1988); Florida (1992); U.S. Supreme Court (1998); U.S. Tax Court (2001); Tennessee (2004); Solicitor, England and Wales (2011); New York (2011).
Education: University of North Carolina (B.A., 1984); Tulane University Law School (J.D., 1988); University of Miami School of Law (LL.M., Estate Planning, 1993).
Other qualifications: Certified Financial PlannerTM. NASD Series 6 and 63 licenses, 2001.
Publications: "Charitable Remainder Trusts," Taxation for Accountants, Journal, May 1998. (Also published in Taxation for Lawyers). Author: "New FTC Rules Apply to Estate Planning and Tax Attorneys," North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, June 25, 2001. Author: "529 College Savings Plans offer Numerous Estate Planning Advantages," North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, December 17, 2001. Author: "Every Client Needs an Estate Plan - 10 Reasons Why," North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, September 30, 2002. Author: "IRA Tax Deferral: Trusts, Rollovers, and Distributions" - Estate Planning, 2014. North Carolina Estate Planning Blog, 2006-Present. See Avvo estate planning lawyer profile for a complete list of publications and selected presentations.
Professional memberships and activities: Member, WealthCounsel, LLC; ElderCounsel, LLC, Advisors Forum; Secretary-Treasurer, 2012-2014, President, 2014-2015, 15-B Judicial District Bar; Member, Financial Planning Association; Member, Professional Advisors Committee, Triangle Community Foundation, 1999-2009. Member: Orange County Bar Association, President 2010, Chair - Trusts and Estates Section 2009-present; North Carolina Bar Association (Member: Estate Administration Manual Committee of Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law, 1997-2000; Taxation and Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Sections; Council of Elder Law Section, 1997-2001 (Editor, Newsletter, 2001-2002); Endowment Committee, 1997-2008; Law and Aging Committee of Young Lawyers Division, 1994-1998; Chair, 1996-1997; Division Director, 1997-1998, Young Lawyers Division); and American Bar Association, Member: Taxation and Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Sections; Committees on Standards of Tax Practice and Tax Practice Management of Tax Section, 1995-present; Member, Lifetime and Testamentary Charitable Gift Planning and Planning for Executives and Professionals Committees, of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, 1996-present); Bar Associations: North Carolina State Bar; The Florida Bar (Member: Taxation and Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Sections); Pro Bono Panel Member, North Carolina Center for Non-Profits.
Recent community activities: Member, Board of Directors, Habitat for Humanity for Orange County, 2008-2011; Member, Board of Directors, Chatham County Chamber of Commerce, 2009-2013.