Richard C. Mills III
University of Florida (B.A., Criminology; minor in Business Administration, 2014)
University of Florida, Fredric G. Levin College of Law (LL.M., Taxation, 2018)
University of Florida, Fredric G. Levin College of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2017)
Associations / Memberships
University of Florida Advisor Network
Tax Section of the Florida Bar
Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section of the Florida Bar
Eighth Judicial Bar Association
Gainesville Estate Planning Council
Eighth Circuit Probate Section
Certificate in Estate Planning
Tax Moot Court, President
The Association for Tax Law, President
Criminology and Law Honors Society
Virgil Hawkins Pre-Law Society
Not only am I a Gainesville native, I am also a Triple Gator, earning my undergraduate, law, and master’s in tax law degrees at the University of Florida. While earning my law degree, I also took part in the Estate Planning Certificate Program. That is probably a good reason why I am the youngest ever member of the Advisor Network of the University of Florida!
In law school, I was president of the tax moot court team, the association for tax law, and VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance). While serving as president of the tax moot court team, I had the privilege of taking part in a couple of competitions including a Securities and Exchange alternative dispute resolution competition at St. John’s Law School in NYC, and also an international tax law competition in Leuven, Belgium, competing against teams from all around the world.
When I create an estate plan, the first thing I do is get to know the client. A properly drafted estate plan is not a “one-size-fits-all” process, but is instead a carefully formulated process based on numerous elements such as an individual’s assets, goals, and family. Keep in mind, estate planning encompasses a wide array of legal topics such as: asset protection, retirement planning, business succession planning, tax planning, and much more. My job is to tie all of those elements together into a cohesive and customized plan focused on each client’s needs.
While a properly drafted estate plan provides peace of mind to an individual, nothing can truly prepare anyone for the passing of a loved one. When I administer an estate or trust, I do what I can to ease the pain associated with the passing of a loved one by ensuring that the deceased individual’s assets are properly distributed to their beneficiaries, while also providing closure. It is a privilege to provide this service to family and friends of a deceased loved one.
As we all know, some things do not go as planned and disputes involving an estate or trust may arise. At this time, a client may have just lost a loved one so the last thing they desire is to take part in litigation. However, sometimes litigation is necessary in order to protect an individual’s interests. That is where I step in – to make sure an individual’s rights are not infringed upon. The pain of losing a loved one is unbearable. I empathize with clients and aim to relieve their pain by being the best advocate for them that I can.
The people that I work with on guardianship cases are an inspiration to me as those cases are an example that there is always someone looking out for another’s best interests. It takes a special person to step forward, make a sacrifice, and be there for a susceptible individual. Whether a person undertakes the role as guardian of another out of love or human decency, it is a pleasure to support and facilitate such individual’s altruistic efforts.
Guardianships are filed for both minors and incapacitated persons. If a person is not able to take care of themselves or their property, a guardian needs to be appointed to ensure that the incapacitated individual is looked after. It is my job to facilitate this and ensure the interests of that person are placed first. Guardianships for minors involve a few different circumstances, two being the inheritance of assets or through the award of money from a lawsuit. In FL, a minor must have a guardianship if the minor is to receive property in excess of $15,000.
What sets me apart isn’t necessarily what I learned in a classroom or a courtroom, but it is my ability to empathize with clients. At the same time, I am able to take a step back and take the emotion out of decision-making because I can look at a situation through an objective lens. When I combine objectivity with empathy, I am able to be the best advocate for my clients. That is probably why the best compliment I can receive for my work is hearing the gratitude from a client once a case is resolved. That is when I know I have done my job.
Being outside with my family and dogs, paddleboarding down the Santa Fe River or in the ocean, or playing sports/staying active are a few of the things I enjoy doing in my free time. Health and wellness is very important to me. Had I not become an attorney, I probably would have been either a physician or a trainer of some sort. I also volunteer coach my son Cade’s sports teams: soccer, basketball, and flag football.