Virtual Breakfast Series—Estate Planning: Early Steering to Avoid Potholes

Virtual Breakfast Series—Estate Planning: Early Steering to Avoid Potholes

Thursday, March 28, 2024 (8:00 AM - 10:00 AM) (CDT)


The perfect time to tackle estate planning is before your family starts a transition of leadership. Join Steve Wells, founding partner of American Food & Vending Corporation, and Robert Hodges, lawyer at BrownWInick Law Firm, for the next installment of the Virtual Breakfast Series on March 28: Estate Planning: Steering Early to Avoid Pot Holes Later. We'll also host an attorney who will discuss specific strategies, changing tax laws, and how to prepare for that. 

Date: Thursday, March 28, 2024
Time: 8-10 AM
Location: Zoom
Format: Q&A with breakout rooms

Steve Wells is a founding partner with his brother Marty in American Food & Vending Corporation. American was founded 32 years ago in their hometown of Syracuse, New York. American operates in over fifty cities across twenty-six states serving tens of thousands of guests every day. American provides dining management services to business and industry, higher education, K-12 private & charter schools, stadiums, and museums. The company also provides refreshment services to these market segments through advanced micro markets, office coffee service, vending, pantry and water filtration and purification services. American is now one of the largest privately held on-site culinary and refreshment service providers in the United States.

Steve received his B.S. from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, and Juris Doctor from Vanderbilt University School of Law.  Upon graduation, Steve worked as a real estate attorney at Fulbright & Jaworski in Dallas, TX and then served as an Assistant Criminal District Attorney in Ft. Worth, TX primarily in jury trial litigation of first-degree violent felonies, including capital murder.  

Steve is active in political affairs. He is currently the elected Treasurer of the New York State Republican Party, and Finance Chair of the Onondaga County Republican Committee. Steve has run for U.S. Congress in NY-22 and NY-24.

Steve is also involved in community, and alumni affairs. His service includes The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (National Council, Congressional Group Leader), The Century Club of Syracuse, Past President and Board of Governors, Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum - Current Board Member, Vanderbilt University Law School, Admissions Interview Program.

Steve is passionate about issues related to family businesses, including Family Enterprise, USA – Current Board Member, Cornell University Smith Family Business Center – Leadership Forum, and Lifetime Member of Young Presidents Organization, including member of YPO Family Business Forum.

He is married to Pamela, Cornell Ag. ’92, founder of a video production company, Small Screen Productions, L.L.C. They reside in Cazenovia, NY and have two children, Jack a sophomore at American University in Washington D.C., and Sam a six-former (senior) at The Hill School in Pottstown, PA.

I am a member at BrownWinick and am the Estate Planning and Fiduciary Litigation Practice Group Co-Chair.  I was raised in small-town Iowa and am proud to call Iowa home. My education, training, and experiences, however, have taken me all over the United States and the world. Some of the experiences that influence the way I see the world and practice law include: being involved in a (non-legal) family business since childhood; owning cattle that grazed on my grandparents' farm through law school; and deploying overseas multiple times as a Judge Advocate in the United States Army. My unique and varied background allows me to attack legal problems from a distinct, sophisticated and yet practical perspective. 

The vast majority of my professional time is spent designing, implementing, or litigating estate planning documents.  As such, I am much less of a generalist and focused on the legal topics where I believe I can add value with my education, training and experience.  I have smart colleagues at BrownWinick who can assist with legal needs outside my core competencies.

I played football at Central College and left Pella in 2003 with a B.A. in Business Management, summa cum laude; the Wall Street Journal Award for being the top business student in the Class of 2003, and the Borgman Award for academic performance as a senior on the football team. After working as a third-party liability insurance adjuster for a number of self-insured trucking firms in Dubuque, Iowa, I returned to school and graduated with honors from Drake University Law School.  While I was at Drake, I was a member of Drake Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. After being admitted to the Iowa Bar, I accepted a commission as a Judge Advocate with the United States Army. Eventually, I deployed to Baghdad, Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom; Port-Au-Prince, Haiti following the 2010 earthquake as part of Operation Unified Response and to southern Afghanistan as a Brigade Judge Advocate in Operation Enduring Freedom. My time in the Army provided a broad background in the practice of law and once-in-a-lifetime responsibility. Since I knew estate planning was in my future, I returned for another year of schooling following my separation from the Army that was focused on taxation and estate planning.  I graduated with distinction from the Georgetown University Law Center with a LLM in 2012. 

I have been recognized by Chambers USA® in the High Net Worth Guide in the area of Private Wealth Law, selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers® in the areas of Closely Held Companies and Family Business Law, Litigation - Trusts and Estates, Tax Law, and Trusts and Estates, and listed in Super Lawyers® in the area of Estate and Probate.

I am active in a number of civic and professional organizations and try to use my training, experience and knowledge to add value to those respective organizations. I am also a frequent speaker on trust, estate planning and business succession-related topics. On a personal note, I am married to another lawyer and my wife and I have one son and one daughter.

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Event Contact
Jayne Kielman
(319) 559-0050
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Thursday, March 28, 2024 (8:00 AM - 10:00 AM) (CDT)
Virtual Breakfast Series
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