Mark R. Caldwell was born on June 29, 1979 at Beaufort Naval Hospital in Beaufort, South Carolina where his father flew F-4 Phantoms at the nearby Marine Corps air station (although his mother had the more difficult job of raising three children). After having lived in South Carolina, North Carolina, Hawaii, and California he returned to North Texas and attended Eastfield Community College before transferring to Southern Methodist University, where he earned a full academic scholarship. One year later, he attended the London School of Economics as a General Course Student. Mark earned his law degree from New England School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts in 2005. He entered private practice as a litigator in a boutique probate and trust firm, representing executors, guardians, and beneficiaries in complex estate and trust litigation. He has also represented fiduciaries in all phases of estate, trust, and guardianship administration. Mark enjoys the investigatory aspects of estate and trust litigation, including reviewing and analyzing medical, financial, and suspicious property records and transactions. Mark is committed to developing and maintaining strong, personal relationships with his clients. He endeavors to offer smart, pragmatic and cost-effective legal advice. Mark believes that the strongest winning position is one that is simple, direct, and understandable and he realizes that estate and guardianship litigation often involves substantial damage to family relationships. While he strives to advocate strong, aggressive positions for clients, Mark also strives to resolve disputes in an ethical and reasonable manner that, if desired, does not preclude the opportunity for reconciliation. Mark is married and has three children. He enjoys spending time with his family, living an active life-style and traveling.
- Obtained favorable jury verdict for lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence in hotly contested will contest and favorable jury verdict for lack of contractual capacity and breach of fiduciary duty in same lawsuit regarding certain non-probate beneficiary designations.
- Recovered significant settlement in case involving fraud on the community and breach of fiduciary duty through the use of a power of attorney.
- Obtained favorable jury verdict in a guardianship case involving an elderly ward.
- Successfully defeated claim that will was executed without testamentary capacity on summary judgment.
- Routinely obtains temporary injunctions and temporary guardianships to halt rogue attorneys-in-fact from abusing their powers of attorney.
- Obtained partial summary judgment against Trustee for breach of fiduciary duty involving the failure to account.
- Represents guardians, executors, and administrators in all phases of guardianship and estate administration.
- Routinely serves as attorney ad litem and guardian ad litem in guardianship cases.
- Routinely serves as temporary guardian in contested guardianship cases and as
temporary administrator and administrator in decedents’ estates.
- Successfully obtained ancillary estate administration in California to collect and administer assets and claims due and owing to Texas estate.
- Successfully transferred guardianships to and from California.
Public Speaking & Publications
- Co-Author: National College of Probate Judges: “Constitutional Considerations When Restricting Access to the Proposed Ward in Contested Guardianship Proceedings” – Spring Journal (2017).
- Co-Author / Speaker: State Bar of Texas: “What’s New in Guardianship” – Advanced Guardianship Law Course (2017).
- Co-Author/Speaker: State Bar of Texas: “The Shortest Route to Victory: Summary Judgment Practice in Probate and Trust Litigation” – 40th Annual Advanced Estate Planning and Probate Course (2016).
- Co-Author/Speaker: Dallas County Bar Association, Probate, Trust and Estates Section: “Trends in Litigating and Administering Guardianships” (2016).
- Author/Speaker: State Bar of Texas: “Injunctive Relief–The Lethal Preemptive Strike in Probate, Trust and Guardianship Litigation” – 39th Annual Advanced Estate Planning and Probate Course (2015).
- Co-Author/Speaker: State Bar of Texas: “Elder Exploitation” – Advanced Guardianship Law (2015).
- Co-Author/Speaker: Travis County Bar Association: “Winning the Battle & the War: A Remedies–Centered Approach to Litigation Involving Durable Powers of Attorney” (2015).
- Co-authored, Properly Performing Annual Accounts in Guardianships and Management Trusts Where One or Both Spouses are Incompetent, Real Estate, Probate, & Trust Law Reporter, Volume 52, No. 4 (2014).
- Served as Moderator for the Guardianship and Ad litem Attorney Certification Course, sponsored by the Dallas Bar Association Probate, Trusts & Estate Section, Dallas County Probate Courts and the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program to train lawyers in the representation of guardians of indigent wards, and the role and responsibilities of the Attorney ad litem (2014).
- Winning the Battle and the War; A Remedies—Centered Approach to Litigation Involving Durable Powers of Attorney; 64 Bay. L. Rev. 435 (Spring 2012).
- Author/Speaker: “An Introduction to Guardianships” – Texas Department of Assistive & Rehabilitative Services (DARS), Dallas, Texas (Fall 2010; Spring 2011).
- Co-authored and presented article, “Proof of Facts and Common Evidentiary Problems Encountered in Contested Probate Proceedings,” at the Seventh Probate Litigation Seminar, sponsored by the Tarrant County Probate Bar Association (September 2010).
- Author, A Good Deed Repaid: Awarding Attorney’s Fees in Contested Guardianship Proceedings; 51 S. Tex. L. Rev. 439 (Winter 2009).
Community and Bar Association Involvement
- State Bar of Texas; Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section, Guardianship Committee; Member (2015-2016)
- Dallas Bar Association; Probate and Trust Section Member; Trial Skills Section Member
- Dallas Bar Association; Probate and Trust Section; Council Member
- Dallas Association of Young Lawyers; Elder Law Section Member
- Board of Directors, St. Thomas More Society
- Dallas Bar Mentor Program; Participated as Mentee; Mentor, Edward V. Smith III
- Board of Directors and Vice President, City of Sachse Economic Development Corporation (2010-2014)
- Member, Charter Review Commission, City of Sachse, Texas (2012-2013)
- Organized and leads an ongoing monthly probate study group featuring prominent guest speakers and court staff
Certifications, Awards and Recognition
- Board Certified Estate Planning and Probate Law – Texas Board of Legal Specialization
- Named Rising Star by Texas Super Lawyers (2014, 2015, and 2016)
- General Course, The London School of Economics, London, England (2001-2002)
- B.A., magna cum laude, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas (2002)
- J.D., New England Law | Boston, Boston, Massachusetts (2005)