MICHAEL J. HOWELL’s Background
Michael is a member of the South Carolina Bar and the Florida Bar. He has been serving Beaufort County residents since 1978. Before that, he worked with a tax litigation firm in Columbia, South Carolina from 1974 until 1978. During that time, he was a law clerk and in addition to doing tax work, also worked on civil and criminal fraud cases, and forensic accountings. He also worked closely with a retired Senior Special Agent with the Internal Revenue Service, who also worked with the firm on cases involving tax fraud.
Two of his bosses were former IRS agents. One was an income tax auditor, and the other was an IRS Estate and Gift Tax Examiner. His third boss was a former United States Attorney for South Carolina, appointed by Richard Nixon. According to Michael, it was the best legal training possible for a law clerk. Ultimately, Michael became an attorney for the firm.
Although some members of the firm were Republicans, the firm represented many prominent Democrats, including state and local officials in Columbia and Washington in various tax matters. While there, Michael learned a lot about politics and taxes, neither of which he particularily likes.
While with the firm, Michael also became an enrolled agent with the IRS, which meant that even before he graduated from law school, he could represent people in IRS audits and related matters, and did so.
In 1978, Michael decided to move to Hilton Head Island with his wife, Mary, who was then pregnant, for a kinder, gentler career. He was employed by the Bank of Beaufort, where he was a Vice President and Trust Officer. As a Trust Officer, Michael was in charge of administering hundreds of estates and trusts. He was also in charge of all tax preparation work for the Trust Department, including income, estate, and gift tax returns. He handled all estate and trust income tax audits, as well as all the bank’s estate tax audits. As part of his job, Michael also valued closely held corporations that were in trusts and estates. He was also on the Investment Advisory Committee, which managed all the investments in the Trust Department.
When Bank of Beaufort merged with First National Bank in 1983, Michael stayed with the bank through the merger, and then went back into the practice of law. He continued to do all tax work for the local branch of the Trust Department until 1985, as part of his law practice. Today, through many mergers, the bank is now Wells Fargo.
The Law Office of Michael J. Howell, P.A. had its origins in 1986 with the firm of Michael J. Howell, Attorney-at-Law, which itself was an off-shoot of a law firm known as Lyman & Howell, P.A., which began in 1983 when Michael left the bank Trust Department. Michael is very proud to say that his former partner is now a Federal judge in California.
From 1989 until 1992, Michael was with the law firm of Palmer, Brooks, Bowen & Howell, P.A. and then Palmer, Brooks & Howell, P.A. It is here that he was able to solely focus his practice on estate planning and probate law.
Michael reopened the firm of Michael J. Howell, Attorney-at-Law in 1992 in the Executive Center on Hilton Head Island. The Executive Center is at 1 Corpus Christi Place, which is just off of New Orleans Road.
Although in a different unit, the firm has been in the Executive Center ever since 1992. In the year 2000, the firm became known by its current name: The Law Office of Michael J. Howell, P.A.