Jeffrey  D. Watters

Clients appreciate my ability to empathize during a highly emotional time in their lives. I understand that it’s never just about money for them. It’s also about making sure their loved one’s final wishes are properly fulfilled. I focus on getting to the bottom of complex issues and finding creative solutions that will achieve the end results my clients deserve.

Jeff Watters focuses on trusts and estates litigation and administration matters for clients throughout Texas. His litigation practice is largely devoted to resolving fiduciary duty claims arising from the administration of trusts and estates, a unique and challenging area of law where significant dollar amounts are typically at stake and no two cases are ever alike. He also takes lead on a variety of traditional trust and estate litigation matters, including will contests, will interpretation suits and accounting disputes, from the filing of the petition all the way to the Texas Supreme Court. Jeff is Board Certified in Estate Planning & Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

In addition, Jeff serves as an advisor to executors and trustees on the entire range of estate-related issues, including guidance on the legal and ethical components of administration, making timely filings with the court, maximizing tax efficiency, and handling modification proceedings when necessary.

Jeff has significant experience in other complex litigation matters as well. He has successfully defended numerous taxpayers in federal estate, gift and income tax litigation and controversies, including disputes and litigation with the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service.

Representative Experience

Tax Litigation

  • Obtained Ninth Circuit affirmance of Tax Court decision for taxpayer in case of first impression involving gift/sale of LLC units to family and charity using a dollar value formula based on values as “finally determined for federal gift tax purposes.” (Petter v. Comm’r, 653 F.3d 1012 (9th Cir. 2011))

Fiduciary Litigation

  • Represented trust beneficiaries in a breach of fiduciary suit against the trustee. District Court rendered a final judgment in favor of our clients, confirming removal of the trustee and restoring to the trust hundreds of thousands of dollars in wrongful distributions and expenses.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of The Jake and Nina Kamin Foundation regarding construction of the provisions of Mr. Kamin’s will. (In the Estate of Jake Kamin, Deceased, Probate Court No. 2 of Harris County Texas, Cause No. 399,104-401)
Thought Leadership / News
March 26, 2024 
 Speeches and Presentations
Married or Roommates: Common Law Marriage Claims in Estates

Estate Planning Council of Central Texas 

July 21, 2023 
 Speeches and Presentations
Exploring the Fields of Law

Harris County Attorney’s Summer Legal Academy

June 6, 2023 
 Speeches and Presentations
Overview and Primer of Causes of Actions and Frequent Remedies in Trust Cases

State Bar of Texas - Intermediate Estate Planning & Probate Course 

May 18, 2023 
 Speeches and Presentations
Lessons Learned in Fiduciary Litigation

Texas Bankers Convention

  • Named "Best Probate Attorney" in OutSmart Magazine's Gayest and Greatest Awards (2022)
  • Named "Favorite Male Attorney" in OutSmart Magazine's Gayest and Greatest Awards (2021)
  • Named a Rising Star by Texas Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters company) as published in Texas Monthly and Texas Super Lawyers magazines (2024)
  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in Woodward/White, Inc.'s The Best Lawyers in America in the field of Trusts & Estates Litigation (2021 - 2024)
  • Named a Houstonia Magazine Top Lawyer in Houston (2019 - 2020, 2022 - 2023)
Organizational Involvement
  • State Bar of Texas
    • Real Estate, Probate & Trust Law (REPTL) Section 
      • REPTL Section Leadership Academy (2018-2019)
      • Fiduciary Litigation Committee
    • LGBT Law Section 
  • Houston Bar Association
    • LGBTQ+ Committee
    • Probate, Trusts & Estates Section
      • Family/Probate Bench Bar Conference Committee (2021-2022)
    • Diversity and Inclusion Committee Member 
  • Houston Estate & Financial Forum
  • Houston Estate Planning Association
  • Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Texas Bar College
  • Lambda Legal's Houston Leadership Council
    • Co-Chair (2021-present)
  • J.D., magna cum laude, Baylor University School of Law, Senior Executive Editor, Baylor Law Review (2008)
  • B.S., with distinction, Business Administration, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2005)
  • B.A., with distinction, Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2005)
Judicial Clerkships
  • Justice Don Willett, Texas Supreme Court (2008 - 2009)
Bar Admission
  • Texas
Court Admissions
  • United States District Court, Southern District of Texas
  • United States District Court, District of Colorado
  • United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • United States Tax Court
When I Feel Most At Home
  • Lifting weights or moving to the beat at a Zumba class
  • Playing softball with his team in the Montrose Softball League
  • Attending a show at the Hobby Center (Hamilton is indeed worth the hype)
  • Rocking out at a Taylor Swift concert