By: Jeffrey D. Stauffer – Community Relations Director
In April 2017, Elville and Associates announced that Senior Associate, Verena Meiser, was named a Partner at the firm.
Ms. Meiser joined Elville and Associates in September 2014 as a Senior Associate, and since then has played a leading role in the firm’s estate planning, estate and trust administration, and elder law practices.
“I am extremely proud that Verena Meiser is affiliated with Elville and Associates, and even more proud to now call her a Partner,” noted Elville and Associates’ Principal Stephen R. Elville. “Verena’s experience and unique background speak for themselves; but far beyond that, her deep intellect, exceptional kindness and demeanor with clients, tireless work ethic, problem-solving ability, and unwavering belief in the mission and vision of Elville and Associates, represent other tangible and intangible elements she brings to our firm, all of which are invaluable to her colleagues as well as to our clients.”
“My promotion to partner at Elville and Associates means a lot to me,” said Ms. Meiser. “The firm’s vision and mission reflect all that is important to me as a practicing attorney, and I could not wish for a better team of attorneys and staff to work with. The most exciting part about working at Elville and Associates is the firm’s continuous effort to develop leading-edge programs to meet our clients’ evolving legal needs in a rapidly changing world.”
As mentioned in Ms. Meiser’s “Attorney Spotlight” article in Elville and Associates’ most recent newsletter, Ms. Meiser was born in Caracas, Venezuela, to German parents. She came to the United States on a student visa where she went on to attend Bryn Mawr College and Claremont University to receive her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics and applied mathematics, respectively. She then received her Masters of Science degree in computer science from Vanderbilt University, where she then worked at the computer center, first to support the university’s course registration software and then, after she secured a government subcontract through the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, as Managing Editor of the Computational Science & Engineering Project. Said project was a groundbreaking nationwide initiative funded by the United States Department of Energy where Ms. Meiser, using her background in applied mathematics and computer science, worked alongside scientists from various fields to develop a curriculum to teach computational science methodology for graduate and undergraduate students. The project, originally funded for two years, was so successful that it expanded to be worldwide, remained funded for 10 years, and became the first-ever online teaching tool. In 1995, Ms. Meiser presented at Oxford University on the philosophy behind the project.
After the project ended, it was 1999. Ms. Meiser had three children, and she began to think back to ideas she had earlier in life about where she felt life may lead her. She decided it was time for a career change.
“I decided law would be challenging and interesting,” said Ms. Meiser. “And, I actually remember before I went to college – when you think about your future and picture yourself as something – I pictured myself as an estate planner. I always liked to plan, help and organize. I thought that would be a nice professional life. When I came [to the United States] it didn’t happen because I was a foreigner and law was the last thing you’d want to study on a foreign student visa. So, that got pushed off the table very quickly. I didn’t revisit it until law school, [where I found] estate and wealth transfer tax to be the most appealing.”
After graduating from the University of Tennessee with her law degree, Ms. Meiser began clerking for a boutique estate planning firm in Knoxville, Tennessee, and her career in law began.
Transitioning forward a number of years to her career as a Partner at Elville and Associates, Ms. Meiser works in close partnership with her clients in the development of their estate plans. She designs management structures for their children’s and grandchildren’s inheritances that provide asset protection and minimize estate and income taxes. Ms. Meiser also assists Verena Meiser 5 her clients with the actual financial implementation of each estate plan, such as the funding of and alignment of assets. She also advises her clients concerning ways to preserve harmony among beneficiaries and guides her clients through the process of making important decisions regarding the appointment of agents and other fiduciaries to manage her clients’ financial and health care affairs in the event of their incapacity.
“We are helping people so much at a time when they need help. There is a lot of misinformation out there, so helping people get a clear picture of their options and what to do is very satisfying,” said Ms. Meiser. “Getting to know the stories of my clients’ families adds a lot of dimensions to my life, and the depth of my life has increased in getting to know my clients’ experiences.”
Along with her work at Elville and Associates, Ms. Meiser is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association, the Maryland Hispanic Bar Association, the Real Property, Probate and Trusts Section of the American Bar Association, and the Howard County Estate Planning Council. She is also a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners and is a frequent guest presenter at a wide array of venues covering topics in the areas of estate planning and elder law.
Ms. Meiser is also fluent in German and Spanish and welcomes clients who may feel more comfortable in discussing their estate plans in their primary language. She is currently awaiting admission to the California Bar, after which time she will have the ability to assist clients on both east and west coasts.