Estate Planning / Probate – Walton County Bar Association
Call us: (850) 266-7044

Estate Planning / Probate

Beard, Amelia M. Hallenberg
McCalla Raymer, LLC

Mrs. Beard is the current president of the Walton County Bar Association and also served as the 2017 president.  Her practice includes real estate transactions and litigation, estate planning, business formation and collections.  She is licensed to practice in Florida and Georgia and lives in Freeport, FL with her husband and two sons.

Clark, Lacey Powell
Powell, Powell & Powell
(850) 682-2757

Lacey Powell Clark is the oldest daughter of Gillis E. Powell, Jr., and the granddaughter of our founding partner, Gillis E. Powell, Sr. She grew up in Crestview and graduated from Crestview High School in 1988. She attended Florida State University in Tallahassee and earned a Bachelor of Science degree, Magna Cum Laude, in Criminology in 1991. She earned her law degree (Juris Doctor) from the Florida State University College of Law, with Honors, in 1994.  As a law student at FSU, she received an award for outstanding achievement in Advanced Criminal Procedure.

Mrs. Clark joined the firm in 1994, and became a partner in 2007. She is a member of the Florida Bar, the Okaloosa Bar Association, the Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association, the Okaloosa Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Republican Women of Okaloosa Federated, the Florida Justice Association, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Federalist Society. She is licensed to practice in all state courts in Florida, as well as the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

She is an AV Preeminent rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell, an award signifying that her peers ranked her at the highest level of professional excellence. She has also earned the Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction Award.

Mrs. Clark devotes the majority of her practice to litigation, including all types of civil litigation, insurance claims, auto accidents, criminal defense, real estate, and probate and guardianship matters.  Many of Mrs. Clark’s clients are active duty or retired military service members.  Mrs. Clark is accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to represent veterans in VA benefits claims. She also assists local special forces troops as a volunteer in training scenarios. Her husband, James G. Clark, is also a member of the firm. They have two children.

Powell, Powell & Powell
P. O. Box 277
Crestview, FL  32536

(850) 689-1588
Cordle, Nathan R.
Clark Partington Hart Larry Bond & Stackhouse

Professional Experience:
Nathan believes in client-centered service, and understanding and meeting the unique needs of each individual client. Nathan’s primary focus is commercial and residential real estate transactions, title insurance, and title curative work. Additionally, his practice area includes general real estate law, business and corporate entity formation, and estate planning.

Prior to joining Clark Partington, Nathan served as attorney and manager for Capitol Park Title in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He also worked with Cynthia Lee Almond as an attorney in Tuscaloosa, focusing on real estate law, business law, estate planning, and probate law, and served as an Adjunct Instructor for the Honors College at The University of Alabama. Before becoming an attorney, Nathan worked as a real estate agent. He enjoys utilizing his real estate experience to better meet the needs of his clients and the local real estate community.

Nathan earned his law and undergraduate degrees from The University of Alabama. During law school, Nathan served on the Board of Governors for the American Bar Association, President of the Bench and Bar Legal Honor Society, and Treasurer of the Student Bar Association.

Born and raised in lower Alabama, Nathan grew up with Destin and South Walton as his back yard. He enjoys spending his spare time volunteering in the local community, and soaking in all that the Gulf Coast has to offer.

Certificate in Public Interest Law
Former President of the Bench and Bar Legal Honor Society
Recipient of the Dean’s Community Service Award

Alabama Bar Association
Tuscaloosa Bar Association
American Bar Association

Critzer, S. Scott
The Critzer Law Firm, P. A.

Scott Critzer began working in the construction and real estate business more than 30 years ago, after graduating from Virginia Tech’s top ranked Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He worked first as an engineer for a commercial developer and later as a development project manager. Continuing his education, Scott graduated from Georgia State University College of Law in 1993, and has been a member of the State Bar of Georgia since 1993.  Scott opened his law practice in Atlanta where he worked litigating real estate cases and performed real estate closings.  Scott has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1995 and moved permanently to the Emerald Coast to become Corporate Counsel, and later General Counsel of a title insurance agency in Destin.  Scott is a past President of the Walton County Bar Association, Inc.
In 2008, Scott Critzer renewed his private practice primarily concentrating in the area of real estate law. Since then Scott has provided legal advice to a wide range of corporate and individual clients throughout the Southeastern U.S. in real estate law (including residential and commercial closings, title insurance, short sale negotiations, and escrow services), banking law, commercial litigation, creditor’s rights, business law, probate-trust law and other civil matters.
Scott provides a personal approach to the practice of law, taking time to get to know his clients. He takes pride in being able to explain difficult concepts in easy-to-understand terms in order to empower a client to be fully included in the legal process.

12889 US Highway 98 W Unit 110A
Miramar Beach, FL  32550-3241
Davis, Mark D.
Clark Partington Hart Larry Bond & Stackhouse

rofessional Experience:
Mark Davis has been practicing law in Walton County for 28 years, both in private practice and as In-House counsel for the county.  His practice areas include governmental affairs, real estate, probate and general litigation.

Mark is a current member of the Governmental and Public Policy Advocacy Committee of the Florida Bar and has previously served on the First Circuit Bench Bar Professionalism Committee and chaired The Florida Bar Grievance Committee 1-B, First Circuit.  He is also an active member of the Walton County Bar Association.

Mark is actively involved in the community and was a member of the Walton County School Board for over 20 years.  He is also a past president of the Kiwanis Club, a former volunteer basketball coach and former chair of the Cope Center.  Mark is currently an elder and choir member at First Presbyterian Church of DeFuniak Springs.

Mark is graduate of Florida State University and The Florida State University College of Law.  He has been married to Susan Davis for thirty years and they have one son.

Walton County School Board Member and Chair, 1995-2016
The Florida Bar Grievance Committee 1-B, First Circuit, member
First Circuit Bench Bar Professionalism Committee, Former member
Governmental and Public Policy Advocacy Committee of the Florida Bar, current member
First Presbyterian Church, DeFuniak Springs, Choir member and Elder
Kiwanis Club member and past president, 1996-2013
COPE Center, Former Chair and member
Former volunteer Assistant Basketball Coach, Paxton and Freeport High School

Hawkins, John W.
Matthews & Jones LLP

John Hawkins’ path to the Emerald Coast is familiar to many who now live here full time. John grew up in Dallas, Texas and obtained his education and real world work experience in Texas, but once John experienced the natural beauty of the area and the warmth of its residents, the desire to live here was irresistible.

A graduate of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, with a double major in Finance and Petroleum Land Management, John worked in the oil industry as a landman for a Fortune 500 corporation while obtaining a Masters of Business Administration degree specializing in Management from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. John then became a futures trader for Elf Trading, Inc., the international trading arm of France’s national oil company, Elf Acquitaine, and was involved in risk management and speculative trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the International Petroleum Exchange in London (IPE), and the Singapore International Monetary Exchange (SIMEX), with traders in ETI’s offices in London, Paris, Geneva, Tokyo, and Singapore. During his stint in the international commodities markets John attended the South Texas College of Law in Houston, graduating with a Juris Doctorate degree.

In 1993 John relocated to Destin and opened his solo general practice, broadening his commercial litigation experience to include family law, personal injury, misdemeanor criminal defense and business planning. John has been a member of the American Bar Association since he was a law student, and a member of the Okaloosa-Walton Bar Association since 1993. John is a long standing member of the Estate Planning Council of the Emerald Coast, and served as President  of the EPCEC in 2008.

As John and Dana Matthews grew to know and respect each other as colleagues and friends, they shared a vision to create a full service locally based law firm to meet the increasing demand of a rapidly growing Northwest Florida client base, and formed Matthews & Hawkins, P.A. in July, 1998.  Drawing on his practical experience in the business world, John’s practice transformed to concentrate in business planning, estate planning, and litigation of probate and trust matters.  After serving as Managing Partner of the firm for 14 years, in 2012 John decided to become Of Counsel, and now provides private client services in addition to serving as a Florida Supreme Court certified circuit civil mediator and qualified arbitrator.

4475 Legendary Drive
Destin, FL 32541

University of Texas
(B.B.A., 1981);
University of Texas of the Permian Basin
(M.B.A., 1985);
South Texas College of Law
(J.D., 1990)

Practical Experience
Crown Central Petroleum Corporation, 1982-1985
District Land Man;
Crown Central Petroleum Corporation, 1985-1989
Product Trader;
Elf Trading, Inc., 1987-1990
Futures Trader

Bar Admissions
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida;
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas;
U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals

Okaloosa-Walton County Bar Association;
American Bar Association;
State Bar of Texas;
The Florida Bar;
Estate Planning Council of the Emerald Coast
(President, 2008)

Areas of Practice
Asset Protection and Wealth Preservation;
Estate and Trust Planning;
Guardianship and Conservatorships;
Gift and Generation Skipping Tax Planning;
Probate and Post Mortem Estate Tax Planning;
Wills, Trusts, Power of Attorneys and Living Wills;
Complex Commercial Litigation
Helmich, Kevin M.
Beggs & Lane, RLLP
(850) 650-4747

Kevin M. Helmich focuses on Estate Planning and Probate, and also represents approximately 500 closely held corporations and limited liability companies. Corporate services include setting up corporations, annual maintenance, preparation of contracts and related transactional services.

In 1992, Kevin M. Helmich graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Illinois, College of Law. While in law school, he focused his course work with a heavy emphasis in taxation. His final year of law school, Mr. Helmich was the recipient of the J. Nelson Young Award, an award given annually by the University of Illinois to its top law student in the area of taxation. Following graduation, he went to work as a Judicial Clerk for the Honorable Benjamin K. Miller, Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court.

In 1994, Mr. Helmich entered private practice in Springfield, Illinois. Initially, his workload was divided evenly between estate planning and tax free municipal finance. In 1996, Mr. Helmich moved to Florida and focused his practice in the areas of Estate Planning and Probate. In 2000, he received his certification from the Florida Bar Association as a specialist in the field of Wills, Trusts and Estates. Mr. Helmich is a member of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the Florida Bar, and a past committee member of the Wills, Trusts & Estate Section of the American Bar Association.

Address:  4405 Common Drive East, Suite 102
Destin, FL  32541

Beggs & Lane, RLLP
Howell, Jr., William S.
William S. Howell, Jr., P. A.

Litigation Percentage

25% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

Florida, 1984
Colorado, 1995
U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida, 1988


Florida State University College of Law, Tallahassee, Florida – 1983

1727 S County Hwy 393
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

Kerrigan, Jane
Arnett & Kerrigan, PL

husband Mike, to join her mother, Karen Arnett, in the family practice. Now a resident of Grayton Beach, Jane has firmly established herself in the community and has expanded her family to include three young children.
Jane has experience in many facets of the law, but she found her calling when she began assisting individuals and families in planning for their futures and the futures of their children and loved ones. In order to better serve her clients, Jane went back to school to obtain her masters of law in taxation from the University Of Alabama School Of Law. Jane focuses her practice on Estate Planning, Elder Law, Long Term Care, Medicaid, Veterans Benefits, Health Care Directives, Financial Directives, and Asset Protection.
Jane is admitted to practice in Illinois, Indiana, and Florida. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Estate Planning Counsel of the Emerald Coast (Destin), Walton County Bar Association, Wealth Counsel, and Elder Counsel.
Jane is available for speaking engagements for client seminars, community groups, and professional organizations.

Arnett & Kerrigan, PL
O’Rourke, Daniel C.
Matthews & Jones, LLP

Dan O’Rourke has been practicing law in Florida for nearly 20 years and focuses on general civil and commercial litigation in the state and federal trial and appellate courts of northwest Florida. Dan has represented clients in matters ranging from Covenants Not to Compete in the trial court of Walton County to construction liens and contract disputes throughout northwest Florida. He has also represented clients in real estate fraud disputes in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida and claims pursuant to the federal Hyde Amendment (awarding attorney fees to victims of malicious, vexatious, frivolous and bad faith federal criminal prosecutions) before the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. A Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit & Family Mediator, Dan helps clients create practical and livable solutions of their disputes. As a Mediator, Dan works with clients and counsel to resolve a vast array of disputes in circuit-civil and family matters.

The youngest of five children, Dan is a native of Florida and longtime resident of northwest Florida. He is the son of Lt. Col (USAF Ret) Michael J. and Julie M. O’Rourke. After growing up in Fort Walton Beach, he went on to the Universities of Florida and West Florida for his undergraduate education. Dan graduated from Saint Louis University School of Law in 1994 and came home from St. Louis and was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1995.

Dan’s current practice includes circuit-civil and family mediation, civil and commercial litigation, probate, real estate law, creditor’s rights law and construction litigation. His certification includes Florida Supreme Court, Circuit and Family Mediator number 21031FR. Dan, a Knight of Columbus, previously served the community as president of the Okaloosa-Walton Bar Association, an Okaloosa County Planning Commissioner, and Board Member of OASIS (Okaloosa AIDS Support and Informational Services)

12889 US Highway 98 W Unit 110A
Miramar Beach, FL 32550-3241
Pleat, David B.
Pleat & Perry, P. A.
(850) 650-0599

Mr. Pleat, founding partner of Pleat & Perry, P. A., graduated from Duquesne University in 1981 (B.A.).  He attended law school at the University Of Baltimore (J.D. 1985) and was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1985.

Pleat & Perry, P.A. was founded in 1995 with the goal of providing top-quality legal services in many  different areas. Our lawyers’ success has brought us to cases throughout the United States, but we remain primarily in service with offices in Destin and servicing the surrounding communities of Destin including Fort Walton Beach, Panama City, Pensacola, Santa Rosa Beach, Rosemary Beach Florida, Niceville, Crestview, Freeport, Walton County, South Walton, 30A, and others throughout the Florida panhandle.
4477 Legendary Drive, Suite 202
Destin, FL  32541

Pleat, Perry & Ritchie, P. A.
(850) 650-4402
Slaman, Amy P.
Beggs & Lane

Beggs & Lane
4405 Commons Dr E Ste 102
Destin, FL 32541-3538
Young Lawyers Division:
Law School:          University of Miami School of Law, 2011

Real Property, Probate Law

Young Lawyers

Practice Areas:
Estate Planning

Probate and Trust Litigation

Real Estate

Federal Courts:
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida

U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida

Beggs & Lane website
Von Hoene, Susan
Watson, Franklin H.
Watson Sewell, PL

Since 1997, Mr. Watson has practiced law in a boutique law firm environment. His practice is dedicated to business and real estate law, integrated estate planning and their related fields.

His real estate practice includes representation of clients as to a wide variety of transactions such as the purchase, sale, leasing and financing of residential lots, homes, subdivisions, multifamily developments, shopping centers, hotels, resorts and commercial office buildings. He also represents clients in personal property transactions such as those involving the purchase and sale of stock, limited liability membership and partnership interests, negotiable instruments, businesses and business assets. Mr. Watson’s finance experience includes both borrower and lender representation in the initiation, modification, purchase, sale and workout of secured and unsecured loans.

Mr. Watson’s practice in the area of integrated estate planning marries the client’s needs of life planning with death planning in order to protect their estates so as to provide for themselves as well as their loved ones during and after their lifetime.

Mr. Watson has supervised in the development of over thirty-five residential and commercial developments, providing legal representation in the acquisition, retention and financing of large tracts of land for the development of master planned communities, the disposition of finished lots to end users, investors and merchant builders, and has represented many clients in the development of apartment, office, retail, and hotel properties.  He also represents landlords and tenants in lease transactions involving residential and commercial space.
University of Alabama School of Law, Juris Doctorate
Concentration: Real Estate and Banking

University of Alabama Manderson Graduate School of Business
Masters of Business Administration
Concentration: Finance

Davidson College, Bachelor of Arts
Concentration: History & Philosophy
Professional Experience:
Watson Sewell, LLC, Attorneys at Law, ATTORNEY
Seagrove Beach, Panama City Beach and Miramar Beach, Florida

Franklin H. Watson, P.A., Attorneys at Law, President
Seagrove Beach and Miramar Beach, Florida

Seagrove Beach and Miramar Beach, Florida

1st National Bank & Trust, Board of Directors
Ft. Walton Beach, Florida

W. Wade Wallace P.A., Attorney at Law, Attorney
Destin, Florida
F.N. Wolf & Co., Inc., Account Executive (Stock Broker – SERIES 7 & 63 Licenses)
Charlotte, North Carolina

Alabama Small Business Development Center, Management Consultant
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Marvin’s Building Materials & Home Centers, Human Resources Consultant
Trussville, Alabama

The University of Alabama Executive MBA Program, Graduate Assistant
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

The University of Alabama Department of Economics,
Finance, and Legal Studies, Graduate Research Assistant
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Johnstone Adams Bailey Gordon and Harris, Attorneys, Law Clerk
Mobile, Alabama

Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office, Law Clerk
Charlotte, North Carolina
Licenses & Memberships:
Florida License to Practice Law
Alabama License to Practice Law
Florida Real Estate Agent License
Florida Bar Elder Law Section
Florida Bar Environmental Land Use Law Section
Florida Bar Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section
National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) Series 7 General Securities Representative (inactive)
Series 63 Uniform Securities Agent State Law License (inactive)

Watson Sewell, PL
5410 E County Highway 30A Ste 202
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459-6589

Watson Sewell, PL's Website
Weinstock, Michael D.
Michael D. Weinstock, P. A.

795 East John Sims Pkwy.
Niceville, FL 32578

Michael D. Weinstock, P. A.
Wheeler, Andrew D.
Matthews & Jones LLP

Andrew D. Wheeler attended the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, and graduated with a Juris Doctorate of law in 2002. Over the past twelve years, Andrew has represented over 2,000 clients in cases involving family law and probate litigation, and counseled clients on elder law rights, long-term care planning and general estate planning. Andrew believes clients desire representation from attorneys who have a thorough understanding of their specific legal issues. Therefore, after beginning his career as a general practitioner, Andrew focused his career on these specific areas of law. He continues to concentrate on those areas today.

Andrew regularly interacts with the public by speaking to groups of people on elder law topics, including long-term care planning and techniques to avoid probate litigation. In 2012, Andrew began teaching seminars on adoption law through the National Business Institute, providing guidance to other attorneys on proper procedures to secure adoptions of children.

While attending law school, Andrew was active in numerous legal writing opportunities, won awards for legal writing and was selected as a member of the Cumberland Law Review. Andrew was then accepted to the Cumberland Study Abroad Program and attended Durham University in Durham, England. While completing a variety of courses that focused on transactional law and business principles, Andrew worked as a research assistant and intern for Chief Magistrate Judge John Ott in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. Upon graduation from law school, Andrew independently owned and operated a solo law firm, The Wheeler Firm, LLC, for ten years before joining with Matthews & Jones, LLP.

Andrew is married to Regina Wheeler, with whom he has a son, and the family resides in Miramar Beach, Florida. Andrew serves on the Board of Directors for the Kiwanis Club of Destin and is active in the local chambers of commerce.
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!