“My goal is to explain complex and advanced concepts in a way that is easy for my clients to understand. I want them to feel comfortable that the estate plan we prepare for them will accomplish their goals and protect their interests.”

Michelle Chapin

Principal (She/Her)

301-654-0165 FAX

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Michelle Chapin, a member of the firm’s Estate Planning, Estate & Trust Administration, Tax and Corporate practice groups, advises individuals, families and small business owners regarding their estate and gift planning needs. Recognized as a Top Trusts and Estates Lawyer in Washingtonian magazine, Michelle excels at providing clients with easy to understand explanations of intricate legal and tax matters. She works closely with her clients to create comprehensive and customized estate and business succession plans to achieve their tax and non-tax wealth preservation objectives. She also helps clients implement lifetime gifting and post-mortem wealth transfer strategies and counsels fiduciaries on estate and trust administration matters. Michelle focuses a part of her practice on estate planning for clients with international issues, including estate, gift and other tax concerns of non-U.S. citizens, U.S. citizens with non-U.S. citizen spouses, and U.S. citizens owning property abroad. When she's not being interviewed by the Wall Street Journal or speaking to various groups in the DC metropolitan area, Michelle enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and 2 children.

Prior to joining Paley Rothman, Michelle practiced for several years at a law firm in Northern Virginia where she assisted clients with gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax planning as well as probate. 

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Bar Admissions
  • Maryland

  • District of Columbia

  • Virginia

  • United States Supreme Court

  • LL.M. in Taxation, With Distinction, Dean’s List, Georgetown University Law Center, 2011

  • Certificate in Estate Planning, With Distinction, Dean’s List, Georgetown University Law Center, 2011

  • J.D., American University, Washington College of Law, 2005

  • B.A., With Honors, University of Florida, 2002

Accolades & Awards
  • "Top Financial Professional," Bethesda Magazine (2022)

  • Maryland Super Lawyers (2022-2023)

  • Best Lawyers in America - Best Lawyers (2020-2023)
         - Trusts and Estates

  • "Top Financial Advisers - Estate Attorneys," - Washingtonian magazine (2019, 2021, 2022)

  • "Top Attorneys," - Bethesda Magazine ​(2019, 2021)
         - Trusts and Estates

  • "Top Lawyers" - Washingtonian magazine (2018, 2020, 2022)

  • “Top Estate Lawyers (Rising Stars)” - Bethesda Magazine (2018)

  • “Washington’s Best Lawyers,” Trusts and Estates, Washingtonian magazine (2017)

  • Best Law Firms – U.S. News & Best Lawyers 
             - Tier 2 National Ranking for Trusts & Estates
             - Tier 1 Metropolitan (D.C. area) Ranking for Trusts & Estates

  • Maryland Super Lawyers "Rising Stars" (2014-2020)

  • Washington D.C. Super Lawyers "Rising Stars" (2014-2020)

  • Graduate of Class I of the ACTEC Mid-Atlantic Fellows Institute (2019-2020)

  • AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated

In The News
Recent Publications
Civic & Community Involvement
  • Washington D.C. Estate Planning Council
    - Director (2022- Present)
         - Professional Development Committee - Co-Chair (2019-present)
         - Program Committee - Co-Chair (2016-2019)
         - Golf Tournament Committee (2014-2016)

  • International Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP-USA)
         - Member

  • Fairfax County Bar Association

  • Montgomery County Bar Association

  • Serves as a mentor for law school students at Georgetown University Law Center and American University Washington College of Law looking to develop an estate planning practice

Speeches and Presentations
Media Commentary