MARK O. COSTLEY
With more than 30 years’ experience in private practice, Mark Costley has helped hundreds of North Carolinians with estate planning, living trusts, financial law, probate, and trust administration. Mark’s work involves elements of teaching, strategic analysis and planning, documentation, and assisting clients in implementing their plans. He is devoted to providing the best in planning, efficiency, administration, and asset protection.
Mark was drawn to estate planning and trust law by a passion for helping clients and their families avoid problems and helping them have the necessary tools to preserve their wealth, avoid disputes, prepare for the future, and deal with problems when they do arise. Mark’s practice is built around the needs of clients to deal with their family business matters and personal affairs. He has organized Clarity Legal Group® to focus on giving you not only effective legal assistance, but peace of mind that you have taken care of some of the most important risks that you and your family might face. Mark and his team strive to have strong relationships not only with clients, but also with their families and other professional advisors, to be of the greatest assistance possible when legal counsel is needed.
Mark’s areas of practice include estate planning, trust and estate administration, elder law, planning for children and adults with special needs, business succession planning and estate related business transactions, counseling regarding social entrepreneurship, representation of non-profit organizations, family charitable and philanthropic counseling, and counselling and support regarding fiduciary liability.
Mark received an AB, Magna Cum Laude, from Duke University in 1982, and was awarded his Juris Doctorate in 1985 by the Duke University School of Law. He was an editor of the Duke University Legal Research Program, a member of the law school’s National Moot Court Team, and was selected by his peers to serve as commencement speaker for his law school class. Mr. Costley completes in excess of 36 hours of continuing education in estate planning, taxation and related areas each year. He has served as an instructor of business law at Greensboro College, has been a guest lecturer on business ethics at Texas A & M University, and has presented continuing education papers and presentations to lawyers, CPAs, and financial professionals on subjects including estate planning, trust administration, charitable planning, trust drafting, covenants not to compete, incapacity planning, asset protection, debt collection, and business formation. Mark has given scores of presentations to the public on the subjects of estate, financial planning, asset protection, health care planning, retirement planning, and related topics.
Mark has been engaged in the private practice of law since 1985. After law school, he practiced in his native state of Oklahoma with Crowe & Dunlevy, a large firm in Oklahoma City. He returned to North Carolina, forming his own firm in 1992, before joining Walker, Lambe, Rhudy & Costley, PLLC in 2002, where he served as Managing Partner of the Estate Planning practice for a decade as well as Managing Partner of the firm. In 2017 he put together the team forming the client-centered core of Clarity Legal Group®.
In addition to his law practice, Mark has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Duke University, as Chairman of the Board of the Servant Center, Inc., a non-profit corporation providing health care services for veterans and the homeless, and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Humanities Council. He is a member of the American Bar Association, North Carolina Bar Association, Oklahoma Bar Association, the North Carolina Bar Association Estate and Trust Legislative Committee, and is a past president and current member of the Durham-Orange Estate Planning Council. He is a graduate of Leadership Greensboro, Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, and has served as a Member of the Duke University School of Law, Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Clarity Legal Group®
Life is full of wonder, joy, love — and challenges. Our quality of life is often defined by how well we meet these challenges. Mark formed Clarity Legal Group® with the idea to focus on helping people prepare to meet two challenges which are easier to ignore: incapacity and death. Mark and his team help people prepare for these difficult aspects of life, putting into place the planning, tools and support necessary to protect them and their loved ones from what might go wrong and to help them realize their hopes for what might go well. In so doing, we hope to give our clients peace of mind, and contribute to their legacy of a life well lived.
Everything about the culture at Clarity Legal Group® is geared toward providing clients extraordinary clarity in the face of the unfamiliar details and challenges of preparing for incapacity or death. Our approach takes the uncertainty out of decisions about estate planning and elder law. Before a client engages our services, we will provide clarity about what is needed, what the options are for preparing more fully, how and when the plan will be delivered and implemented, what will be expected of the client during the process, and what clients will pay us. We prepare prospective clients through education in multiple forms, calculated to make the time clients invest with our lawyers productiv,e and the decision to use our services clear and easy.
Mark is married to Margaret Costley, and has two daughters. He is a member of University Presbyterian Church, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is an avid sports fan, and enjoys reading, travel, tennis, politics, gardening, and music. Mark and Margaret love visiting the North Carolina mountains and never pass up a good hike.