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Local Attorney Information

To assist in locating a local estate planning attorney, the information listed below may be helpful.  While this listing does not represent all attorneys who provide estate planning services in the area, the attorneys included below have indicated five years or more experience in focused estate planning practice and are aware of Southern's Planned Giving voucher process.


Note: Southern does not endorse any one particular attorney and is not responsible for legal advice or services provided by any of the attorneys listed.

Confidential Questionnaire

We recommend completing this confidential questionnaire in preparation for meeting with an attorney. For your protection, the information cannot be electronically saved. The form may be filled out online and printed, or you may print and complete it by hand.











Martin L. Pierce

Phone: 423.648.4303


Address: 4513 Hixson Pike, Suite 109, Chattanooga (Hixson), TN 37343

Martin L. Pierce is a native of Memphis, Tennessee, and received his undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from Tennessee Technological University in 1978. He received that institution's Outstanding Young Alumnus Award in 1988. Martin received his law degree, with honors, from the University of Memphis in 1981, where he was a published member of the University of Memphis Law Review. He is licensed to practice law in Tennessee and Georgia, as well as before the U.S. Tax Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Martin works primarily in the areas of (1) Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Elder Law, Probate, Medicaid & VA Planning, Special Needs Trusts, Conservatorships, Guardianships and Charitable Planning, (2) Business Entity Law, including Corporations, LLCs and Partnerships, Nonprofits, Tax-exempt Organizations, Contracts, Leases and Agreements, (3) Employee Benefits, Retirement Plans, Cafeteria Plans, Health Savings Accounts, COBRA and ERISA, and (4) Tax law matters.

He is a Certified Estate Planning Law Specialist through the ABA-accredited National Association of Estate Planners & Councils and the Tennessee Commission on Specialization (TNSpecialists). He is also a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Among other professional organizations, he is a member of the Chattanooga Estate Planning Council (Past President, 2006-07), the Chattanooga Tax Practitioners (President, 2007-08), and was a Charter Member of the Chattanooga Planned Giving Council. He is also a member of the American Bar Association, and the Georgia, Tennessee and Chattanooga Bar Associations, where he is involved with the Technology, Tax and Probate, and Trust Sections.

Martin is the co-founder of several local ministries and organizations, including First Things First and the IMPACT School at Silverdale Baptist Academy. He has served on the Boards of many ministries and nonprofits, including the Chattanooga Christian School, Chattanooga Resource Foundation (Chattanooga Matters), Bethel Bible Village, Lighthouse Counseling Center, Changing the Future, Student Venture of Chattanooga (a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ), Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Chattanooga, and the Chattanooga Optimist Club. He currently serves on the Boards of Paraclyte Ministries Counseling Resources, LifeLine, and the Chattanooga Generous Community Initiative. Martin also assisted The Next Door when it expanded to Chattanooga, and he is also the Chairman of the Alpha Fund, a component fund of the Chattanooga Christian Community Foundation, a member of the Christian Legal Society, and he is a Budget Coach with Crown Financial Ministries. Martin is a Qualified and a Charter Member of Kingdom Advisors (formerly Christian Financial Professionals Network, CFPN) and founded and has led the Chattanooga Area Kingdom Advisors Group since its inception in 2005.

Martin is a frequent speaker to professional groups, business organizations, civic organizations, churches and other groups on Estate Planning, Elder Law, Charitable and Planned Giving, Employee Benefits, Business entities, tax-exempt entities, nonprofits, stewardship, and financial planning topics. Additionally, he has often written articles for the online newspaper.

Martin is in his 31st year of law practice in Chattanooga, where he began with Stophel, Caldwell & Heggie, P.C., in 1981. He moved to Chambliss & Bahner, PLLC, in 1984 (where he became a Partner in 1987 and where he was the Head of the Firm’s Tax & Estates Section for eight years). In 1997, Stophel & Stophel, P.C., merged with Chambliss & Bahner, forming Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C., where Martin practiced until 2002, when he joined the national law firm of Husch & Eppenberger, LLC (where he was Head of the Estate Planning and Employee Benefits practice areas for the Firm’s three offices in the State of Tennessee). On January 1, 2005, Martin opened his own practice to more personally and cost-effectively serve his clients.

Martin and his wife, Debbie (a CPA), and son, Drew, live in the Chattanooga suburb of Hixson and are members of Harvest Bible Chapel - Chattanooga.


Donna S. Spurlock


Husch Blackwell LLP

Phone: 423.757.5938


Address: Dome Building, Chattanooga, TN

Donna’s practice focuses on providing counsel to clients in all phases of estate planning and estate and trust administration, which includes structuring and drafting sophisticated estate planning for individuals, business succession planning for closely held businesses, creation and maintenance of limited partnerships and limited liability companies, preparation of buy-sell agreements, employment agreements and other business agreements, structuring lifetime giving plans, planning for charitable giving, and addressing Elder Law issues.  Donna also provides counsel to tax exempt organizations and assists clients in creating new charitable organizations and qualifying them for tax exempt status.

Donna regularly counsels clients with respect to the unique rules associated with disposition of tax deferred retirement accounts as part of the individual’s overall estate plan. In addition to analytic and technical legal skills, she brings to her clients the heart of a former teacher to enable clients to understand and address their individual estate planning needs. Donna also has experience assisting organizations with the creation of tax exempt entities, obtaining tax exemption status and addressing various concerns and challenges of tax exempt entities.

Donna has practiced as a licensed attorney in Tennessee for over 24 years. Prior to that time Donna practiced as a Registered Nurse and taught nursing in a liberal arts college setting to nursing students for 12 years. Donna’s teaching and nursing experience have given her valuable insights and skills in dealing with clients concerning end of life issues.

Donna has made presentations to students, as well as community and civic groups, on various aspects of estate planning.

Professional Af´Čüliations
American Bar Association
Tennessee Bar Association
Chattanooga Bar Association
Chattanooga Tax Practitioners

Practice Areas
Estate Planning, Trusts & Estates
Closely Held Business
Tax Exempt Organizations

Vanderbilt University, 1988
Order of the Coif
Vanderbilt Law Review

M.N., Pediatric Nursing
University of Florida, 1975

B.S., Nursing
Southern Adventist University, summa cum laude, 1972



Randall D. Van Dolson

Phone: 423.645.3478


Fax: 423.472.8945

Address: 6074 East Brainerd Road, Suite 200, Chattanooga, TN 37421

For nearly three decades Randall D. Van Dolson practiced law with several large international and regional law firms. Recently, he has created his own boutique firm focusing on estate planning, probate, charitable gift planning, tax-exempt/nonprofit organizations, general tax matters and business entities. 

After receiving a B.A. degree from Loyola University in 1970 and an M.A. degree in history from UCLA in 1972, Mr. Van Dolson attended the University of Southern California Law Center, received his J.D., with honors, from the University of Maryland in 1977, and earned a Master’s Degree (LL.M) in Taxation from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1983.

Mr. Van Dolson, whose articles have appeared in such national professional journals as Estate Planning, Trusts & Estates, and Probate & Property, lectures at various tax conferences including the Southern Federal Tax Institute, the Duke University Estate Planning Conference, the Tennessee Federal Tax Institute, the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants Federal Tax Conference, the Georgia Federal Tax Conference, the University of Alabama Annual Federal Tax Clinic, the University of Tennessee’s Singleton Wolfe Federal Tax Conference, and annual meetings of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.

A former President of the Greater Chattanooga Planned Giving Council, Mr. Van Dolson is a past chair of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Tax, Probate and Trust Law Section, and is the current chair of the Trusts and Estates Section of the Chattanooga Bar Association.

Mr. Van Dolson is a Fellow of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), a professional association consisting of approximately 2,700 lawyers from throughout the United States. Fellows of the College are selected by their peers on the basis of professional reputation and ability in the fields of trusts and estates and on the basis of having made substantial contributions to these fields through lecturing, writing, teaching, and bar activities. Fellowship in ACTEC is widely considered to be the highest honor accorded to an estate planning attorney.

Mr. Van Dolson also is listed in The Best Lawyers in America® (trusts and estates), and has been awarded the highest possible rating for legal ability and ethical standards – “AV” – from Martindale-Hubbell, the world’s leading guide to the legal profession. The AV rating by Martindale-Hubbell and selection for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® are based on confidential evaluations of other lawyers. By a vote of regional lawyers, Mr. Van Dolson also has been selected to be listed in Mid-South Super Lawyers since 2006. The Van Dolson Law Firm is listed in the top tier of U.S. News and World Report – Best Law Firms.

Appointed by the governor of the State of Maryland as a member of the Task Force on Long Term Planning for Disabled Persons, Mr. Van Dolson was one of the principal authors of Maryland’s statutory Discretionary Trust Act, a first-of-its-kind statutory trust that provides for a disabled child’s supplementary needs while preserving the child’s need-based government program support.



NOTE: The above attorney information has been provided for information and selection purposes only. It does not serve as Southern’s personal endorsement to utilize the services of any one particular attorney.