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Estate Planning Attorneys

The Collins Firm Attorneys

We believe we have the finest team of estate planning attorneys in the Washington DC area and with Michael Collins at the helm, he and his team of attorneys have been counseling clients for over five decades.

Michael T. Collins, Esq. with The Collins Firm

Michael T. Collins

Michael T. Collins, Esq. has been a member of the Bar for over fifty years, and drafted his first Revocable Living Trust in 1966. Since then he has been through bull markets, bear markets, good times and bad. He has seen tremendous change in the laws of estate and trust taxation, coped with probate systems on both coasts, and through the years has guided his clients through a wide array of planning challenges.

As a husband, father and grandfather himself, Mr. Collins is well acquainted with the problems and opportunities presented in providing security and protection for spouses, children and grandchildren. Having suffered with his own father through a difficult final illness, he is particularly sensitive to the concerns we all share about the medical problems of aging, both for ourselves and our loved ones.

Mr. Collins is a member of the Bars of Virginia, Maryland and California, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States, the Federal Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and of the Southern District of California. He is a member of the Senior Lawyers Section of the Virginia Bar and of the Section on Wills, Trusts, and Estates of the Bars of Virginia and Maryland, as well as the prestigious Wealth Counsel Association of Estate and Trust Attorneys. He has taught and lectured on estate planning and real estate topics from the University of California to audiences in Northern Virginia and Maryland. Mr. Collins and his son James Collins now host the popular "Legally Speaking" radio program Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. on WMAL 105.9 FM in Washington, D.C. or at He has appeared frequently on both local and national TV shows devoted to estate planning.

Mr. Collins obtained his B.S. in Engineering Science from the University of Notre Dame in 1961, and his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center in 1964, where he served as an Editor of the Georgetown Law Journal.

James J. Collins with The Collins Firm

James J. Collins

James J. Collins, Esq. has been an estate attorney for over two decades. For the past twelve years, he has headed the Estate Administration Department of The Collins Firm, in which capacity he has counselled over 4,000 families involved in winding up the affairs of deceased clients of the firm. He is admitted to the Bars of Maryland and Virginia, having obtained his B.A. from Mary Washington College, and his J.D. from the University of Richmond, where he earned honors for his work in Professional Responsibility and Elder Law. He is also the author of an award-winning monograph, "A Crash Course in Retirement Plan Distribution Rules for the Estate Planning Attorney”. Mr. Collins is a member of the Wills, Trusts, and Estates Section of the Virginia Bar and of the Estate and Trust Law Section of the Maryland State Bar Association. He gives lectures on estate planning to lay persons and to organizations such as INOVA and the FDIC, and is a regular guest host of the "Legally Speaking” radio show on WMAL.

Louis E. Johannes with The Collins Firm

Louis E. Johannes

Louis E. Johannes, Esq. has a diverse background as an estate planner, business lawyer and published author. A graduate of Catholic University School of Law, with a Masters degree from George Washington University, Mr. Johannes was associated with both a large national firm in Washington and a small suburban office in Pennsylvania before affiliating with The Collins Firm. He is a member of the Maryland and Pennsylvania Bars.

Damian J. O’Connor with The Collins Firm

Damian J. O’Connor

Damian J. O’Connor, Esq. possesses a distinguished legal pedigree. One of ten children whose father and two brothers are attorneys, he is a University of Virginia graduate with a J. D. from Hofstra University School of Law. Mr. O’Connor has concentrated throughout his career in property law and estate planning and administration. He is a member of the Bars of Maryland and Virginia, enrolled in the Trusts and Estate Section of the latter.

Phillip J. Kenny with The Collins Firm

Phillip J. Kenny

Phillip J. Kenny, Esq., JD, CFP, a member of the Maryland, Virginia and DC Bars, has served over ten thousand clients for The Collins Firm and is one of the most experienced estate planners in the metropolitan area. Mr. Kenny earned a B.S. in Biology from Marquette University, an M.A. in Economics from Fordham University, and his J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. Mr. Kenny is a member of the Trusts and Estates Sections of the Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia Bars, and of the American Bar Association Section on Real Property, Probate and Trust Law. He is a frequent guest host of Mr. Collins’ radio program on WMAL, “Legally Speaking”. Mr. Kenny is also a Certified Financial Planner, focusing on the estate-planning and tax aspects of the planning process.

Daniel G. Kaplan with The Collins Firm

Daniel G. Kaplan

Daniel G. Kaplan, Esq. has written extensively about estate and retirement planning issues for national publications. With a Bachelor’s degree from The University of Maryland and a J.D. and a Master of Laws in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center, Mr. Kaplan is an expert in compensation, benefits and tax issues. He has drafted over ten thousand estate plans for clients of the firm. He is a member of the Bars of the District of Columbia and Maryland.

Melissa L. McLaughlin with The Collins Firm

Melissa L. McLaughlin

Melissa L. McLaughlin, Esq. earned her J.D. at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where she was Managing Editor of the Law Review, and her Master of Laws in Taxation and Certification in Estate Planning at Georgetown University Law Center. With a B.S. in Economics cum laude from the University of Arizona and a Certification in English Language Teaching from Cambridge University, she is especially qualified as the principal drafter of documents for the firm. She is a member of the Virginia Bar whose legal background includes several years of private practice as well as an honors internship with the FBI’s Office of the General Counsel and service with the Public Defender’s office in San Diego, California.

Elizabeth M. Walsh with The Collins Firm

Elizabeth M. Walsh

Elizabeth Martell Walsh, Esq. earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia, where she served on the Editorial Board of the Virginia Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. She holds an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, from which she also graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Foreign Service. Mrs. Walsh clerked for the Honorable James C. Cacheris of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and was an associate with a major law firm in Washington, D.C. She is a member of the Bars of Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Tara Moriarty Schiller with The Collins Firm

Tara Moriarty Schiller

Tara Moriarty Schiller, Esq. a cum laude graduate of Wellesley College, earned her J.D. at Georgetown University Law Center. Upon graduation she served as law clerk to the Honorable John H. Suda of the D.C. Superior Court, after which she was associated with major firms in Washington and London, England between 1995 and 2001. Mrs. Schiller is a member of the Bars of Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Joseph D. Roberts with The Collins Firm

Joseph D. Roberts

Joseph D. Roberts, Esq., with a J.D. from George Washington University, is a senior attorney of counsel to The Collins Firm after a distinguished career practicing before both federal and state courts, including arguing numerous cases before the Supreme Court of Virginia. He has lectured widely to fellow professionals, served as a counselor for the Virginia Insurance Advocacy program, and is a volunteer in the Virginia Guardianship Association and for the Arlington County Agency on Aging. He is a member of the Bars of Virginia and the United States Supreme Court.