Liza Farrow-Gillespie

Liza Farrow-GIllespie | Farrow-Gillespie & Heath LLP | Dallas, TX

Business and Corporate Law
Estate Planning and Asset Protection
Nonprofit Organizations
Elder Law

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Liza Farrow-Gillespie practices wealth preservation law – an area that encompasses privately held businesses and investment, estate planning and probate, elderlaw, taxation, asset protection, and charitable foundations. She is a passionate advocate for strategic legal planning to protect multi-generational assets, minimize tax burden, protect quality of life, prevent expensive litigation and maximize governmental benefits, while accomplishing an individual’s or family’s entrepreneurial and philanthropic goals.  Representing multiple generations of some of Dallas’s most revered families, Ms. Farrow-Gillespie conducts due diligence on private equity investments and provides counsel in advantageous structuring of deals, acquisitions, and business formation.

Ms. Farrow-Gillespie has won numerous awards for her work.  For the past several years, she has been named to the list of Best Lawyers in Dallas by D Magazine; and to the list of Texas Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters service) by Texas Monthly.  Liza has also been named a “Five-Star Professional” in estate planning by Texas Monthly in every year since 2013. She was the subject of a December 2013 profile in the business section of the Dallas Morning News, and of a March 2015 profile in the Texas Bar Journal. Ms. Farrow-Gillespie is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.  Her 18-attorney law firm has been named as a “Best Law Firm” in America (small firm category) by U.S. News & World Report.

Before founding the law firm of Farrow-Gillespie & Heath LLP in June 2007, Liza served as permanent briefing attorney for the late United States District Judge Barefoot Sanders, Northern District of Texas.  Ms. Farrow-Gillespie is a former associate with Cohan Simpson Cowlishaw and Wulff LLP, now merged with Jackson Walker LLP; and is a 1992 honors graduate of the University of Texas School of Law (Dean’s Award; Order of the Coif; Executive Editor of the Texas Law Review).  She is a guest lecturer in advanced business law at SMU University and is a frequent speaker on wealth preservation topics.

An avid blue-water sailor, Liza completed a six-year sailing circumnavigation with her husband in 2005.  Prior to law school, Ms. Farrow-Gillespie was a professional musician in Los Angeles, and is a member of the Screen Actors Guild.  She still performs from time to time, most recently with the LCD Jazz Trio in Dallas.  Liza serves on the board of directors of No Child in Pain Foundation, and she is a Trustee of the Dallas Opera.  She is a member of the portfolio board of Texas Women Ventures Fund.

Ms. Farrow-Gillespie has been married since 1984 to Alan Farrow-Gillespie, M.D., a pediatric anesthesiologist at Children’s Medical Center Dallas, and Professor of Anesthesiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

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Practice Areas

  • Privately Held Business Formation, Structuring, Transactions, and Succession Planning
  • Estate Planning – Wills and Trusts
  • Tax Planning
  • Investment Structuring and Due Diligence
  • Asset Protection Planning
  • Elderlaw and Guardianship
  • Nonprofit Organizations

Education

  • J.D., with honors, University of Texas School of Law, 1992
    • Order of the Coif
    • Texas Law Review, executive editor
    • Dean’s Award, Constitutional Law
  • B.B.A. in Accounting, University of Texas at Austin, 1989
    • Kappa Alpha Theta

Past Experience

  • Briefing Attorney, Hon. Barefoot Sanders (deceased), United States District Court, Northern District of Texas
  • Cohan Simpson Cowlishaw Aranza & Wulff

Representative Experience

  • Forms and provides legal counsel to family-owned businesses
  • Forms and provides legal counsel to investment holding companies for private individuals
  • Creates strategies for asset protection for individuals and companies with high liability risk
  • Forms and administers Family Limited Partnerships and LLCs to eliminate or reduce gift and estate taxation
  • Provides complex estate planning and transfer taxation counsel for individuals and families
  • Forms, administers, and obtains tax-exempt status for family foundations and nonprofit organizations
  • Prepares IRA trusts to extend tax-deferrals and shelter assets from creditors and waste
  • Prepares Insurance Trusts to shelter proceeds from estate taxation
  • Forms Living Trusts to avoid probate
  • Provides trust administration and trustee counsel
  • Prepares and administers special needs trusts for wards (minors, autistic children, adults with disabilities)
  • Prepares business succession plans
  • Represents individuals in negotiations and disputes with the Internal Revenue Service regarding international account disclosure (FBAR), gift and estate tax returns, trust tax returns, tax liens, and other matters
  • Assists families in planning for long-term government benefits, including Medicaid
  • Highly experienced in all probate proceedings, including contested matters
  • Represents individuals and families in elderlaw litigation proceedings
  • Represents individuals and families in will contests
  • Represents individuals and families in guardianship proceedings
  • Represents individuals and families in will probate and heirships
  • Serves as attorney ad litem and guardian ad litem, appointed by the probate and Dallas civil courts
  • Serves as Receiver, appointed by the Dallas County district courts as fiduciary to oversee operations of going concerns pending disputes among owners or between owners and lenders

Publications and Presentations

  • “Risky Business: How to Manage Your Personal and Professional Liability Exposure,” Annual Meeting, Texas Society of Anesthesiologists, September 2016
  • “Practical Aspects of Entity Choice and Formation of Family-Owned Businesses,” Advanced Business Law, SMU Cox School of Business, lecturer 2013, 2014, 2015
  • “Voyage of a Lifetime,” Turtle Creek Breakfast Club, Highland Park Country Club, 2015
  • “Professional Liability Management and Asset Protection Strategies,” Annual Meeting, Texas Society of Anesthesiologists, September 2015
  •  “Business Succession Planning for Privately Held Companies,” Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce, April 2013
  • Panel member, “Probate Proceedings,” Dallas Bar Association CLE, November 2012
  • “Guardianships: Procedural and Evidentiary Issues,” NBI Institute, August 2011

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • Dallas Bar Association
  • Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA
  • Trustee, The Dallas Opera
  • Portfolio Board, Texas Women Ventures Fund