Q&A with Mark Noel
Mark Noel joined Porter Wright in March 2021 as a partner in the firm's Tax, Estate Planning and Personal Wealth practice group. He brings more than a decade of experience helping clients create estate plans that not only carry out their wishes, but also protect and preserve their assets for generations to come.
What influenced your decision to become a lawyer?
I have always enjoyed reading, studying and learning. As a lawyer, you never stop learning. Pursuing such a profession appealed to me for that reason.
What led you to practice in the area of tax, estate planning and personal wealth?
I have been interested in finance since a young age. I also enjoy helping people. Being an estate planner allows me to use my legal training in a constructive manner to help my clients transfer their wealth.
What is the most common advice you give to your clients?
To structure the inheritance or gifting they provide to their beneficiaries through specifically designed trusts. Trusts are very powerful. Many clients are aware of certain tax savings certain trusts can provide. They also know how trusts may help provide for an individual who lacks ability or experience in managing wealth. However, many clients are surprised to learn about the additional asset protection and divorce protection that certain trusts can provide for their beneficiaries. Structuring inheritances through trusts and beneficiaries (with certain exceptions) only taking trust distributions on an as needed basis, in my view, decreases the likelihood of family wealth being diminished due to taxes, beneficiary inability or disability, beneficiary creditors, beneficiary divorce, or other reasons. My clients are also often surprised to learn how much control their beneficiaries can have over these trusts while still maintaining these benefits. There have been changes or clarifications in the law over the past couple decades that allow us to design trusts to be much more flexible than they were long ago.
What are your hobbies or interests?
I enjoy traveling, but my idea of a vacation may differ from many other people. I love the American West, and my trips to National Parks in Alaska, Montana and Wyoming are among my favorites. Hiking remote trails in these parks is a very peaceful way for me to unwind and relax. I’ve hiked several trails in which the National Park rangers advise carrying bear spray (although, fortunately for me, I have not had to use it). My job is very demanding mentally, but not physically. So for a change of pace, hiking scenic trails is generally more appealing to me than relaxing on a beach.
What is your favorite video conferencing blooper?
My favorite one is the one that made the news regarding a lawyer who had some sort of filter on his video conferencing that made him appear to be a talking cat. Despite the obvious embarrassment that must have caused him, I admire the fact that he was prepared to move forward with the court hearing! Fortunately for me, I have yet to have a very memorable blooper personally over the past year of conducting many work video conferences. A contractor showing up very early to install some flooring at my home while I was on a work video conference is the only issue I can recall. If that remains my largest personal video conferencing faux pas for a long time to come, that will be fine with me!