Celeste C. Lawton

Partner
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

Houston
United States
T:+1 713 651 5278
San Antonio
United States
T:+1 210 224 5575
Houston
United States
T:+1 713 651 5278
San Antonio
United States
T:+1 210 224 5575
Celeste C. Lawton

Celeste C. Lawton

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Biography

Celeste Lawton, a partner in the Houston and San Antonio offices, joined in 2012. Celeste's practice is focused on wealth transfer planning. She assists clients in all aspects of their estate planning, including advising clients with respect to marital property issues, implementing complex transfer tax planning strategies, preparing and filing gift tax returns, creating and reorganizing business entities, and creating private foundations.

Celeste has experience preparing traditional and complex wills, guardianship avoidance documents, and revocable and irrevocable trusts, including intentionally defective grantor trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, life insurance trusts, charitable lead trusts, and charitable remainder trusts. She also has experience preparing non-judicial settlement agreements, receipt and releases related to trust terminations and trustee resignations and complex settlement agreements between divorcing spouses involving various income, gift, and estate tax issues. Further, Celeste has handled all aspects of probate administration and has assisted trust and estate fiduciaries and beneficiaries in the handling of complex trust and estate administration issues, including the management and distribution of trust and estate assets and preparation of estate tax returns.

Celeste is Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (2007).

Previously, Celeste was an associate with a large international legal practice in Philadelphia, and prior that, was an associate for many years, with another large international legal practice in Houston.


Professional experience

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LL.M, in Taxation, New York University School of Law, 2011
JD, magna cum laude, Baylor University School of Law, 2001
BS, magna cum laude, Animal Science, Texas A&M University, 1997

While in law school, Celeste was the Editor in Chief of the Baylor Law Review and a member of two ABA Moot Court teams and the National Moot Court team. She graduated first in her class.

Celeste is licensed to practice in Texas and Pennsylvania.

  • Texas State Bar
  • Chambers High Net Worth Guide, Texas Private Wealth Law, Chambers & Partners, 2017 - 2019
  • Chambers High Net Worth Guide, Texas Private Wealth Law - Up and Coming, Chambers & Partners, 2016
  • Texas Super Lawyer, Estate and Probate, Thomson Reuters, 2013 - 2018
  • Texas Rising Star, Thomson Reuters, 2006 - 2007, 2009 - 2010
  • Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers, 2018-2019
  • Comments to US Department of Treasury and IRS regarding Burden Estimate Regarding Form 8971 - Information Regarding Beneficiaries Acquiring Property from Decedent, on behalf of the State Bar of Texas, Tax Section, December 1, 2017
  • Comments to US Department of Treasury and IRS regarding Proposed Regulations Implementing Centralized Partnership Audit Regime, on behalf of the State Bar of Texas, Tax Section, August 11, 2017
  • Comments to US Department of Treasury and IRS regarding Proposed Regulations under Sections 2704 and 6035, on behalf of the State Bar of Texas, Tax Section, August 7, 2017
  • Comments to US Department of Treasury and IRS regarding Proposed 2704 Regulations, on behalf of the State Bar of Texas, Tax Section, November 2, 2016 
  • Comments to US Department of Treasury and IRS regarding Form 706-GS(D), on behalf of the State Bar of Texas, Tax Section, May 17, 2016
  • Comments to US Department of Treasury and IRS regarding Form 706-GS(D), on behalf of the State Bar of Texas, Tax Section, May 31, 2013
  • Co-author, "Between Obamacare and the Bush Tax Cuts, Taxes Will Increase in 2013, But How Much? Can Planning Help?," Fulbright Briefing, August 27, 2012
  • "Negligent Misrepresentation: Liability for Texas Attorneys - McCamish, Martin, Brown & Loeffler v. F.E. Applying Interests," Baylor Law Review, 1999
  • "Common Errors in Gift Tax Returns," Wednesday Tax Forum, Houston, Texas, August 28, 2018.
  • "GST Inclusion Ratios and Applicable Fractions for Estate Planners: Rules, Exceptions and Tax Calculations," Strafford Publication Inc., web seminar, November 11, 2017.
  • "Botox® Treatment for Gift Tax Returns – When the Wrinkles Need Straightening Out," Houston Bar Association, Tax Section, Houston Texas, May 18, 2017.
  • Testimony before US Department of Treasury and IRS regarding Proposed2704 Regulations, on behalf of State Bar of Texas, Tax Section, December 1, 2016.
  • "Botched Gift Tax Returns – Now What?," Heart of Texas Estate Planning Council, Estate Planning Seminar, Waco, Texas, May 17, 2016.
  • "Community Property Law and Tax Issues," State Bar of Texas, Tax Law in a Day, Houston, Texas, February 11, 2016.
  • "Gift Tax Returns: Finding and Fixing Problems," Austin Bar Association, Estate Planning and Probate Section, Austin, Texas, January 15, 2016. 
  • "Gift Tax Returns: Finding and Fixing Problems," State Bar of Texas, 33rd Annual Advanced Tax Law Course, Houston, Texas, October 29, 2015. 
  • "Gift Tax Returns: Finding and Fixing Problems," State Bar of Texas, Advance Estate Planning and Probate Course, Dallas, Texas, June 11, 2015.
  • Co-panelist, "Cradle to Grave - The Impact of Family on the Business," State Bar of Texas, Essentials of Business Law Course 2015, Dallas, Texas, March 13, 2015.
  • "Community Property Law and Tax Issues," State Bar of Texas, Tax Law in a Day, Dallas, Texas, February 6, 2015. 
  • "The Anatomy of a Will," South Texas College of Law, 29th Annual Wills and Probate Institute, Houston, Texas, September 18, 2014 (with Elizabeth Leicht). 
  • Co-panelist, "Estate Planning with Life Insurance: Uses, Benefits & Traps for the Unwary," The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Houston, Texas, June 19, 2014 .
  • "Estate Planning Building Blocks," Texas A&M Foundation: Women, Wealth & Wisdom, College Station, Texas, May 16, 2014.
  • "Trust Decanting," Houston Bar Association: Probate, Trusts and Estates Section, Houston, Texas, January 22, 2014.
  • "Estate Planning and Asset Protection Basics," Wells Fargo Advisors, Houston, Texas, January 16, 2014.
  • Co-panelist, "Decanting With No Sour Grapes," State Bar of Texas, 24th Annual Estate Planning and Probate Drafting, Houston, Texas, October 24, 2013.
  • "Trust Decanting," South Texas College of Law, 28th Annual Wills and Probate Institute, Houston, Texas, September 20, 2013.
  • "Community Property Law and Tax Issues," State Bar of Texas, Advanced Tax Law Course, Houston, Texas, August 14, 2013 (with Elizabeth Copeland).
  • "Estate Planning Basics: Preparing for Incapacity and Death," Garcia Hamilton & Associates, L.P., Houston, Texas, June 18, 2013.
  • "Asset Protection and Estate Planning with Life Insurance," New York Life, Houston, Texas, May 29, 2013.
  • Co-panelist, "FATCA for Trusts and Estates: What Fiduciaries and Beneficiaries Need to Know," Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. web seminar, May 23, 2013.
  • Co-panelist, "Current Estate Planning Topics," The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Houston, Texas, September 27, 2012.
  • American Bar Association
    • Real Property, Probate and Trust Section
  • State Bar of Texas
    • Section of Taxation, Estate and Gift Tax Committee Co-Chair (2015-2019), Chair (2014-15), Vice Chair (2012-2014)
    • Advanced Tax Law Planning Committee (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
    • 24th Annual Estate Planning and Probate Drafting Course Committee (2013)
    • 39th Annual Advanced Estate Planning & Probate Course Planning Committee (2015)
  • Houston Bar Association
  • Estate Forum
  • Houston Estate Planners Association
  • Houston Business & Estate Planning Council
  • Houston Estate and Financial Forum
  • Texas Aggie Bar Association
  • Attorneys in Tax and Probate
  • Texas A&M Foundation Planned Giving Council
  • Junior League of Houston
  • Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo - Rodeo Operations Committee