Reno, NV 89519

Michaelle D. Rafferty


Areas Of Practice: Trusts & Estates, Taxation, Nonprofits & Tax-Exempt Organizations, Business Entities & Transactions

Mrs. Rafferty’s practice focuses on all aspects of estate, income, gift and generation-skipping tax planning, trust and estate administration, estate and gift tax audit, private family trust company formation, and fiduciary litigation for individuals, families, business owners, trust companies, and tax-exempt entities.  Mrs. Rafferty has significant experience in complex trust and estate planning and administration.  She serves as an expert witness in matters of Nevada trust and estate law, and is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) where she serves as a Regent and Nevada State Chair. She is a past-Chairman of the Nevada State Bar’s Probate and Trust Section, and co-chair of the Section’s legislative committee.


  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific: J.D. with great distinction, 1993
  • University of Arizona: B.S., Business Administration, 1989
  • Judicial Law Clerk, Honorable Mills B. Lane III, Department 9 of the Second Judicial Court, Washoe County, Nevada
  • Congressional Intern in Washington D.C., Nevada, Congresswoman Barbara Vucanovich

Bar and Court Admissions

  • All Nevada state courts
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the District of Nevada

Professional Affiliations 

  • Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) - Regent (present); Nevada State Chair (present); State Laws Committee (2023-present); Estate Planning Practice Committee (2017-2023); Fiduciary Litigation Committee (2017-present); Fiduciary Administration Task Force (2022-present)
  • Nevada Supreme Court’s Bench Bar Committee: Supreme Court Appointed Member (2006-present)
  • State Bar of Nevada: Probate and Trust Section - Officer (2014-2019; Chair 2017-19); Legislative Committee for Probate & Trust Section (2008-present); Chair of Local Rules Drafting Committee (2010-2018)
  • American Bar Association: Member, Probate and Property Section
  • Washoe County Bar Association: Member, Taxation, Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Sections
  • Washoe County Probate Bar Association: Founding Member; Executive Officer
  • Northern Nevada Estate Planning Council of Reno
  • Washoe County Bar Association: Executive Board 2006-2007


  • Martindale Hubble: AV Preeminent
  • Best Lawyers In America: Trusts and Estates; Trusts And Estates Litigation (2013-current) 
    • 2023 Lawyer of the Year Awards - Northern Nevada for both Trusts & Estates and Trusts & Estates Litigation
      • 2021 Lawyer of the Year Award - Northern Nevada - Trusts & Estates
      • 2019 Lawyer of the Year Award - Northern Nevada - Trusts & Estates Litigation
      • 2013 Lawyer of the Year Award - Northern Nevada - Trusts & Estates Litigation
    • Chambers National High Net Worth Estate Planner Designation
    • Legal Elite: Nevada Business Weekly
    • University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, Law Review:  Board of Editors (Comment Editor); Award Recipient (“Best Comment Writer” for published writing)
    • Other Legally Related Academic Honors include Traynor Honor Society; American Jurisprudence Awards; Order of the Coif; Top Trial Advocate Award for Moot Court; Phi Delta Phi 

    Community Involvement

    Mrs. Rafferty has been actively involved in the community as a supporter, advisor and/or member of various charitable boards and committees including the University of Nevada Reno Foundation, Community Foundation of Western Nevada, Nevada Women’s Fund, Transforming Youth Recovery, South Reno Babe Ruth, Washoe Little League, and Bishop Manogue Catholic High School Development Committee.   She is a regular volunteer of legal services, providing consultation and seminars on behalf of local non-profits and the legal community in her practice area. Mrs. Rafferty also serves as legal counsel for several charitable private and public foundations and entities within the local Nevada community.   

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