My single greatest passion in the practice of law is learning about the in’s and out’s of my clients’ businesses so that we can collectively balance the legal with the practical, finding ways that my clients can be best protected and mitigate risk while also opening doors to growth and revenue production. Building a strong partnership bolstered by trust, understanding, and exceptional care and service is something I strive for in my practice every day and something that I feel brings true value to the clients I have the honor of representing.
Cassandra advises clients in a variety of industries on corporate matters. As a self-proclaimed “death and deals lawyer,” Cassandra focuses on counseling clients through transactions from start to finish, while also maintaining a unique niche practice in the often-complex realm of death law.
On the mergers and acquisitions front, Cassandra regularly advises clients in the sale and purchase of both assets and equity. She has handled transactions of all shapes and sizes, from smaller closely-held entities to massive $1 billion buy-outs.
In the real estate arena, Cassandra regularly represents clients in the sale and purchase of commercial, agricultural, and residential property as well as in the negotiation of complex commercial and agricultural leases. She also has extensive experience in bank finance and lending matters, representing financial institutions with the issuance of secured loans and credit facilities attached to real property collateral.
Cassandra provides day-to-day operational advice to business owners, negotiating contracts, assisting with entity formation and corporate governance matters, as well as corporate succession planning matters.
In the death space, Cassandra provides operational advice to financial institutions regarding which parties may take possession of deceased customers’ funds and other property and assists with the development of funeral home and cemetery property. She also has extensive experience in probate administration and estate and wealth planning.
Cassandra is a certified Guardian Ad Litem and Attorney Ad Litem, regularly accepting appointments to represent incapacitated adults in guardianship proceedings, unknown heirs in heirship proceedings, and minor children in personal injury proceedings. When she’s not practicing law, Cassandra dedicates herself to the community, including volunteering as staff of the Special Olympics of Texas. She is a member of the Christian Legal Society and also serves as Head Coach of the Saint Vincent de Paul Lady Tigers Softball team in Houston. Cassandra is a member of and an active participant in the LGBTQIA community and enjoys finding opportunities to get involved and give back in the Houston area and beyond. In her spare time, you may catch Cassandra enjoying live music or on any vessel surrounded by water, preferably with a fishing pole in hand, but always with her two furry companions, Tucker and Gill.
- South Texas College of Law, J.D., 2014
- Emory University, B.A., 2010
- United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
Areas of Practice
- Best Lawyers® Ones to Watch – Real Estate Law, 2024
- Texas Rising Stars® (by Thomson Reuters) Estate and Probate 2020, 2022, 2023
Professional Affiliations & Memberships
- Certified Mediator, Texas
- Certified Guardian Ad Litem, Texas
- Certified Attorney Ad Litem, Texas
- Houston Bar Association, Special Olympics Committee
- Special Olympics of Texas
- Christian Legal Society
Research Assistant to Professor Josh Blackman for Unprecedented: The Constitutional Challenge to Obamacare, 2013
- Regularly represents a multinational industrial and manufacturing conglomerate on issues pertaining to the perfection and enforcement of liens and improvement of standard contracts in order to maximize opportunities for securing payment.
- Represented specialty retail chain company offering storage and organization products and custom closets with the negotiation of subcontract agreements against general contractors for the use of client’s proprietary closet product.
- Assisted with the establishment and development of a mobile app that provides a publication platform and delivers content to readers. Representation included the formation of associated entities, issuance of ownership interest in exchange for start-up services, negotiating vendor and supplier contracts, and launching of the platform to success.
- Serves as outside general counsel to a franchisor of a multi-location basketball-themed sports bar concept, preparing franchise documentation and assisting with various matters relating to vendor contracts, employment law, corporate governance, real estate, intellectual property, and litigation.
- Serves as outside general counsel to the owner of a multi-location golf simulator and restaurant and bar concept, assisting with various matters relating to vendor contracts, employment law, corporate governance, real estate, intellectual property, and litigation.
- Serves as outside general counsel to a franchisee of a multi-location trampoline park concept, preparing franchise documentation and assisting with various matters relating to vendor contracts, employment law, corporate governance, real estate, intellectual property, and litigation.
- Represented a Texas-based, ESOP-owned software system company in a $1 billion acquisition by a California-based private equity firm.
- Represented a Texas-based clinical research organization in an equity sale to a UK-based competitor.
- Represented the owner of an RV park and marina in its equity sale to a private equity firm.
- Represented the largest natural stone importer in the United States in three acquisitions.
- Represented a franchisee of an outsourced IT concept with three locations in Texas on each acquisition.
- Represents the largest funeral home and cemetery owner and operator in North America in acquisitions of real property for funeral home and cemetery use, as well as in the negotiation of vendor and supplier contracts and general corporate services needs.
- Represents a private equity firm in acquisitions of real property for restoration and establishment of conservation easements thereupon.
- Represents a multinational company providing pipeline services pertaining to the perfection and enforcement of liens.
- Represents a multitude of non-profit organizations as outside pro bono general counsel in the negotiation of vendor and supplier contracts as well as general corporate services needs.
- Represents American industrial service provider in the negotiation of vendor and supplier contracts as well as general corporate services needs.
- Represents several energy technology companies in the negotiation of vendor and supplier contracts as well as general corporate services needs.
- Represents one of the largest maintained and operated crane service providers in North America in the negotiation of vendor and supplier contracts as well as general corporate services needs.
- Represented American fast-food restaurant chain in work relating to the perfection and enforcement of UCC liens.
- Represented Japanese multinational electronics conglomerate with the negotiation of AIA contracts for two major renovation projects in Houston-based offices.
- Represented American fashion designer based in Austin, Texas in the negotiation of vendor booth contract for South by Southwest Conference and Festival.
Death, Estates, & Trusts:
- Routine analysis of bank and probate documentation (g., Muniments of Title, Small Estate Affidavits, and Judgments Declaring Heirship) associated with claims made for funds held in deceased customers’ accounts, providing assistance to banks in the following unique situations:
- where there was a partial intestacy left by a Will and a determination of heirship is necessary to dispose of a partial intestacy but where claimants argue they are simply entitled because they are the “last men standing”;
- where state law changes the outcome as to who is entitled to funds, despite language contained in a Will, like where co-owners of an account pass away within the statutory survival period or where anti-lapse is triggered;
- where a Will indicates that a distribution should be offset for some reason, but the offset is to be satisfied utilizing assets other than the account at issue;
- where a Will is a “pour-over Will” and distribution is being requested by an individual as opposed to the Trustee who is the only party legally allowed to take possession of the funds;
- where a person self-identifies as the personal representative of a decedent’s estate when there is no administration pending and no personal representative appointed;
- where the account at issue is a business account rather than a personal bank account affected by a decedent’s estate;
- where statutory discrepancies relating to Small Estate Affidavits, which do not make it clear whether bank should pay funds to distributees and leave debts up to distributees to be paid or whether bank should retain funds to cover debts;
- where a Small Estate Affidavit was improperly utilized despite the fact that the asset threshold was too high;
- where Affidavits of Heirship are attempted to be utilized in exchange for distribution of funds held in accounts situated in states where such Affidavits are insufficient to support such a claim or request;
- where it was discovered that accounts were subject to non-probate pay on death or right of survivorship transfer instructions only after request for evaluation of claim (that was ultimately coming from a source not entitled to take possession of the funds);
- where there was a need to verify age of claimant in circumstances where the Will provides that funds should be held in trust if beneficiary is under a certain age;
- where there was a need to verify relationships in circumstances where Texas revocation by divorce statutes might apply; and
- where there were issues arising due to powers of attorney being utilized in the context of collection.
- Representation of bank in interpleader proceedings in circumstances where there arises a reasonable anticipation of rival claims to funds held in deceased customers’ accounts, seeking a discharge from liability, extrication from any contested proceedings, and recovery of attorneys’ fees.
- Preparation of Distribution, Release, and Indemnity Agreements in circumstances where distribution is not clear cut but where a business solution makes sense for distribution of funds held in deceased customers’ accounts.
- Representation of bank in probate and guardianship proceedings in show cause and turnover matters.
- Representation of bank in interpretation and recommendation for acceptance or denial of powers of attorney and preparation of documentation to absolve bank of liability for acceptance of the same.
- Representation of bank in interpretation and recommendation for acceptance or denial of instructions from trustees on trust accounts and preparation of documentation to absolve bank of liability for acceptance of the same.
- Evaluation of bank’s intended digital account opening policies and recommendation as to best practices with respect to the same according to the state law on point.
- Preparation of form correspondence (for both loans and deposit accounts) to bank customers and loved ones of deceased account holders expressing condolences and providing an overview of documentation and information that will need to be presented to the bank in order to process any request for any change to any existing account or for distribution of funds held in an account.
- Preparation of a resource guide that can be available publicly or that can be available by way of attachment to the aforementioned form correspondence, which outlines steps necessary to be taken when an account holder passes away, numbers and emails to contact, special information and issues relating to specific types of accounts, and actions that may be taken by the bank in response to learning of the demise of any bank customer.
- Preparation of state-specific deceased customer policy manuals for internal use in evaluating who may be entitled to funds held in deceased customers’ accounts (beginning with states in which customers reside presently and expanding to all 50 states according to the bank’s needs).
- Preparation of letters of instruction for use in securing affirmative instruction from claimants as to the method of delivery of account funds as well as release and indemnity protections for the bank.
- Preparation of comprehensive as well as condensed “one-pager” state-by-state power of attorney guide for use and acceptance of powers of attorney on deposit accounts.
- Creation of generic, global guide and analytical framework for bank’s use organization-wide relating to the review and evaluation of power of attorney documents tendered in furtherance of loan transactions or with respect to deposit accounts.
- Development of comprehensive state-by-state guides to address state issues relating to probate and review of requests to distribute deceased customers' accounts.
- Creation of generic, global checklist of documents and information to be gathered prior to a request for legal to review bank and probate documentation relating to a deceased customer's estate in order to ascertain who is entitled to funds held in the deceased customer's account(s).