Debbie Faulkner, Esq.

Debbie grew up in the East Lake community of Palm Harbor. After attending local public schools for her secondary education, Debbie graduated from St. Petersburg College with her Associate in Arts Degree. From there, she attended Stetson University in DeLand, Florida on a Presidential Scholarship. At 19, Debbie graduated from Stetson cum laude and earned the distinction of being Stetson’s youngest graduate since its founding in 1883. Early in her career, Debbie became interested in law. She attended Cornell Law School – one of the five Ivy League law schools – and became the first person in her family to obtain a graduate-level education. While at Cornell, Debbie served as an Associate Editor for the Legal Information Institute’s liiBulletin, an online subscription service comprised of articles discussing current and pending Supreme Court cases. Debbie was also elevated to Moot Court Board. Upon graduating, Debbie accepted an appellate clerkship with the Court of Appeals of Virginia. After spending a few years working closely with two appellate judges, Debbie returned home to Florida and became an Assistant State Attorney for the 6th Judicial Circuit, serving Pasco and Pinellas counties. There, she investigated and prosecuted various crimes including sexual battery, DUI, assault, domestic violence, battery, and robbery. She litigated several cases to jury verdict and settled over a thousand more prior to trial. In 2012, Debbie returned to school and obtained a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation from Washington University in St. Louis. In the Taxation program, Debbie focused her coursework on sophisticated personal estate and tax planning. In 2013, Debbie was selected by the Tampa Bay Business Journal for the “Up and Comers” Award, an award formerly known as the “40 under 40.” Debbie was selected from over 400 nominees across Tampa Bay for this prestigious business recognition. Also in 2013, Debbie was invited to be a member of Charles Schwab’s Select Investor Group, a national advisory board for Charles Schwab that provides insight for company strategy and outreach.

In 2016, Debbie was recognized as a Florida “Rising Star” Attorney by Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters organization.  This designation is awarded to a mere 2.5% of attorneys statewide.  Debbie was also selected to be a Fellow in the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel’s Florida Fellows Institute, an honor given to only a select few estate planning attorneys statewide. In her spare time, Debbie enjoys spending time with family, traveling, shooting sporting clays, and skydiving.

Publications, Awards, Seminars

  • A Primer on Taxation Considerations in Structuring Real Estate Holdings, Actionline, Florida Bar Real Property Probate & Trust Section’s official Publication, forthcoming Winter 2016
  • 2016 Super Lawyer’s Rising Star – awarded to 2.5% of Florida’s top attorneys
  • 2016-2017 ACTEC Fellow, ACTEC Florida Fellows Institute
  • Asset Protection Update, Florida Bar Asset Protection Committee, Feb. 2016
  • Asset Protection Update, Florida Bar Asset Protection Committee, Nov. 2015
  • Estate Planning for the LGBT Community, Metro Wellness, Ybor City, Apr. 2014
  • Avoiding Digital Deficits in Estate Planning, Res Ipsa Loquitur, January-February ed., 2014
  • Tampa Bay Business Journal “Up & Comer” Award Recipient, Nov. 2013
  • Hot Topics in Tax & Estate Planning for Bankers, Synovus Bank, Palm Harbor, Dec. 2013
  • $5 million Federal Estate Tax Exemption Doesn’t Mean You’re Safe, Co-author, trustbryancave.com, Bryan Cave, 2013
  • Klein & Co. Futures Inc. v. Bd. of Trade City of N.Y., liiBulletin, Legal Information Institute at
    Cornell Law School, 2008
  • Richlin Security Service Co. v. Chertoff, liiBulletin, Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law
    School, 2008

Professional & Community Affiliations

Executive Council, Real Property Probate & Trust Section of the Florida Bar
Real Estate, Structures & Taxation Committee of the Florida Bar
Florida Bar Asset Protection Committee & Speaker
Florida Bar Tax Law Section Member
Chairman, Board of Directors, East Lake Library Foundation, 2013-present
2016-17 Fellow, American College of Trust & Estate Counsel Florida Fellows Institute
2013 Tampa Bay Business Journal Up & Comer
President, Young Professionals Estate Planning Council of Tampa Bay, 2015-present
Virginia State Bar
The Missouri Bar
Morton Plant Mease Planned Giving Council

Education

LL.M. (Master of Laws) in Taxation, Washington University in St. Louis
J.D., Cornell Law School
B.A., Stetson University, cum laude

Licensed to Practice Law
Florida, Missouri, and Virginia, U.S. Tax Court, IRS

Practice Areas

  • Estate Planning: Wills, Trusts & Estates
  • Business – Transactional
  • Tax Planning & Advice
  • Real Estate investor planning
  • IRS Tax Controversy
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Meet Debbie Faulkner