Michael T. Clear


As a Partner in the firm's Private Client Services Department, Michael regularly counsels clients on the far-reaching financial implications of estate planning, estate and trust administration, probate litigation, and business succession planning. Yet he is also a trained counselor with insight into the family dynamics these matters can effect. Known for his empathy and good humor, he helps clients take prudent action in the face of indecision, hopefully resolving contested issues before litigation.

Michael's estate planning practice includes assisting individuals and families in tax-efficient and practical estate and gift planning, including the preparation of wills, revocable living trusts, insurance trusts, and entities to own special family assets such as vacation homes and collections.

He guides fiduciaries and beneficiaries through estate settlement and trust administration matters. His estate and trust administration practice often dovetails with his probate litigation experience, where he advises clients in will and trust construction cases, contested accountings, fiduciary removal proceedings, payment of unpaid claims, and conservatorship and guardianship matters.

Michael also assists business owners with succession planning, by presenting to family groups on business/estate planning matters and by preparing business entities, shareholders' agreements, buy-sell agreements, and grantor-retained annuity trusts. He often facilitates the sale or purchase of business assets.

Michael has recently

  • Helped improve the trustee/beneficiary relationship for a $60 million family trust, increasing distribution frequency and securing a large distribution for beneficiaries.
  • Facilitated the smooth transition of trustees for another trust, and secured court approval of a new distribution plan.
  • Presented on family governance and buy-sell agreements to a multi-generation-owned family business.
  • Counseled numerous clients about the implications of new tax reform legislation.

Michael is a Co-chair of the Probate and Estates Section of the Fairfield County Bar Association and the President of the Fairfield Chapter of the Exit Planning Exchange (CT XPX). He is a frequent speaker on trust and estate strategies at bar association and continuing education events.

Michael received his J.D. magna cum laude from the Quinnipiac University School of Law, where he served as Executive Managing Editor of the Quinnipiac Probate Law Journal. At graduation, he was the recipient of the Academic Excellence Award, Superior Classroom Performance Award, and CATIC Foundation Award. He received numerous academic excellence awards during law school.

Michael received his B.A. in political science from the University of Richmond. He holds a M.Ed. focusing on college student personnel from the University of Maryland. A former Division I college baseball player, Michael coaches in the Fairfield American Little League and continues to play baseball and golf when possible. Michael lives in Fairfield, Connecticut with his wife Melissa and three children.


  • Quinnipiac University School of Law  (J.D., 2005)
    • magna cum laude
  • University of Maryland  (M. Ed., 2000)
  • University of Richmond  (B.A., 1998)
    • Political Science

Bar Admissions

  • Connecticut

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Connecticut Bar Association
  • Connecticut Chapter of the Exit Planning Exchange (CT XPX)
    • Board of Directors
  • Fairfield County Bar Association
    • Co-Chair, Probate and Estates Section