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Carolyn Collins Ostrom






Attorney and founder, Collins Ostrom PLLC, Austin, Texas

January 2007– Present

Attorney, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, Austin, Texas

1989 – 2006




Helping business owners, executives, professionals, couples, and individuals to design wealth transfer and succession plans that minimize gift, estate, inheritance and generation-skipping taxes;


Preparing pre- and post-marital property agreements addressing community and separate property issues and potential claims;


Advising fiduciaries regarding duties and potential liabilities;


Establishing family limited partnerships and limited liability companies, and providing ongoing legal advice to support their administrations;


Working with business owners to create management and ownership succession plans;


Facilitating lifetime and testamentary charitable giving;


Devising strategies to fund the costs of education for family members and to assist them during their formative years;


Coordinating and conducting family meetings with the appropriate business advisors to facilitate wealth education among family members and to provide a forum for informed discussion of wealth management;


Counseling clients on medical and health care arrangements for themselves and family members;


Representing clients in connection with probate and estate administration;


Serving as the “family office” for the former CEO of a Fortune 500 Company.



Supreme Court of the State of Texas

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit




Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization




J.D., The University of Texas at Austin School of Law, 1989

B.A. in English, The University of Texas at Austin, 1985




Austin Bar Association Estate Planning and Probate Section, Treasurer 2015–2016, Board Member 2014 –present

Estate Planning Council of Central Texas

State Bar of Texas Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Section

Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation

State Bar College




Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas—Volunteer Attorney, 1989–present


All Saints' Episcopal Church

  • ​Member, 1999–present

  • Endowment Committee

    • Chair, 2016–2017

    • Treasurer, 2015–2016

    • Secretary, 2014–2015

    • Member, 2012–2017

  • Vestry

    • Senior Warden, 2011–2012

    • Member, 2009–2012

    • Clerk, 2004–2005


All Saints' Episcopal Day School

  • President, Board of Trustees, 2005–2007

  • Trustee, 2004–2008 

  • Head Support Committee, 2007–2009


Casis Elementary School

  • Past Volunteer/Author Visit Co-Chair, Casis Cares, Read Aloud


Junior League of Austin

  • Sustainer, 2005–present

  • Member, 1990–2005

  • Project Chair, 1991–1992, 1997–1998


Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin

  • Past Volunteer/assisted with pasteurization and packaging of milk for premature babies who cannot tolerate formula,


Paramount Theatre

  • Gala Chair, 1997

  • Board Member, 1991–2000


Business Committee For the Arts

  • Arts Week Chair, 1992

  • Past Member


Hospice Austin

  • Past Volunteer/Developed and implemented first bereavement camp for children who had lost parents or siblings


AIDS Services of Austin

  • Past Volunteer/Coordinated food drives for Pantry


Christopher House

  • Past Volunteer/Read to and visited with patients, assisted in office


West Austin Caregivers

  • Past Volunteer/Took elderly and homebound clients to appointments and to run errands


Ronald McDonald House

  • Past Volunteer/Wrote articles for newsletter



A message from Carolyn:


Planning your affairs for the future is an intensely personal process. As such, it is important to work with someone you can confide in and trust to create the best plan for you and your family. I see my job as listening to my clients’ needs, explaining options for meeting those needs, working with clients to pick the best plans for their needs, making sure they understand those plans, and helping them execute their plans. In the rush to complete documents and serve more clients, I have seen some estate planning lawyers skip one or more of those steps, resulting in unhappy clients who are frustrated with the whole estate planning process. I once read an article* about clients who spend lots of money on estate plans that they never end up executing. Studies show that the planning was derailed because it did not meet the clients’ objectives and most families felt uncomfortable with the attorney they had retained. The lawyers often did a poor job of explaining the legal concepts involved and how the plan met the clients’ needs. Additionally, the lawyers were perceived as arrogant! It’s no surprise that the client relationship and the estate plan went awry. I also help clients through the probate process when a loved one passes away. Obviously, that can be a challenging time for clients, so I try to make the process as clear and easy as possible. Unless clients have already been through the probate process with another family member, they are often anxious about how to proceed and unsure of what is involved. My goal is to make the estate planning process, as well as the probate process, comfortable and accessible from start to finish.


*“Split Decision” by Russ Alan Prince and Hannah Shaw Grove, Worth magazine, October 2007, p. 82.

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