Photo of Brett T. Berly

Brett T. Berly



University of Texas School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 2005

University of Texas at Austin, B.A., cum laude, 2001


Listed in Best Lawyers in America, 2018-present

Life Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation

Texas Super Lawyer, 2019-present

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, 2019-present

"Top Lawyer" by Houstonia Magazine, 2019-present

40 Under 40, Houston Business Journal, 2015

Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, 2015

“Top Lawyer” by H Magazine, 2012-2015

Up-and-Coming 100: Texas Rising Stars, 2017- 2019

Rising Star, Estate Planning & Administration, 2012, 2014-2019

Marvin Key Collie Endowed Presidential Scholar in Tax Law, 2004-2005

Research Assistant to the distinguished Professor Stanley M. Johanson, 2004-2005

Bar Admissions


Board Certified Estate Planning and Probate Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization


Brett Berly is a Shareholder in the Firm’s Trusts & Estates section. He focuses his practice on the representation of high net-worth individuals and fiduciaries of trusts and estates with respect to estate planning, probate, estate and trust administration, closely-held business succession planning as well as probate and fiduciary litigation matters. 

As a cancer survivor, Brett brings a unique perspective to his practice, drawing on his personal experience to help structure plans for clients that satisfy both their personal and financial goals and objectives.

Seminars & Presentations

  • What just happened and what do I do now – Transfer planning ideas in uncertain times and how to report them (2021)
  • Storm preppers: estate planning style (2020)
  • When parting isn’t sorrow: A discussion of disclaimers in estate planning (2019)
  • Simplicity – The estate planner’s white whale: Estate planning for the (currently) Non-taxable estate (2018)
  • The heart of darkness: A journey into the GST Jungle (2017)
  • In God we trust; All others must pay cash: Best practices for intra family loans (2017)
  • The proposed §2704 regulations:  Is this Grinch going to steal your Christmas ? (2016)
  • The family game of thrones:  A Planner's guide to drafting effective business succession plans (2015)
  • To Love, Honor and maintain separate property:  an estate planner's guide to protecting a spouse's property rights (2014)
  • You can’t take it with you... but your spouse can!: How portability works and what it means for you and your clients (2014)
  • The rollercoaster has finally stopped!:  Estate planning in 2013 and beyond (2013)
  • The 123s of GST what every practitioner should know about the generation-skipping transfer tax (2012)
  • Focusing on what matters:  Changing laws, family dynamics, and how they impact a successful estate plan (2012)
  • The full monty on closely held business planning:  Creating a plan that covers all angles (2011)
  • Cross border tax issues (2011)
  • The tax that flew over the cuckoo’s nest – sorting through the insanity that is the federal estate tax (2010)
  • Planning pitfalls and possibilities with retirement account beneficiary designations (2010)
  • Is it time to trust your IRA beneficiary designation?  A discussion of the issues related to designating a trust as the beneficiary of your retirement account  (2009)
  • An estate planning potluck! A discussion of legislative developments, recent FLP cases, retirement account planning strategies and alternate valuation issues (2009)
  • So, you live in MONACO?  Asset protection planning for the rest of us (2008)
  • Procrastination – How to guarantee adverse tax consequences for retirement assets at death (2007)
  • Desperate clients:  A selection of estate, gift and Income tax issues for the residents of wisteria lane (2007)
  • What is it worth?  An overview of valuation Issues, applicable statutes of limitation and accuracy related penalties impacting estate and gift returns (2006)

Professional and Charitable Affiliations

  • Camp For All, Member of the Board of Directors and Past Chairman of the Young Professionals Board of Directors
  • Houston Estate and Financial Forum, Director
  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Exam Commission Member - Estate Planning and Probate Law
  • Texas Bar CLE, Estate Planning and Probate Intermediate Course Planning Committee Member, 2016, 2017
  • American Law Institute CLE Estate Planning, Law Advisory Panel Member, 2016 - Present
  • Texas Young Lawyers Association 
  • American Bar Association, Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust
  • State Bar of Texas, Real Estate, Probate and Trusts Section
  • Houston Bar Association, Trusts and Estates Section
  • Adopt an Angel Program, Firm Liaison, 2009 - Present




Seminars & Presentations


Blog Posts