Boutin Jones INC., Attorneys at Law

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Donna L. Courville

Donna L. Courville / Of Counsel

Detailed Practice Description

Donna Courville specializes in estate planning for individuals who want to transfer their wealth to their families, transition family businesses or leave charitable legacies. She focuses on tax planning to minimize estate, gift and income taxes and planning for blended families. Donna has extensive expertise in post-death trust and estate administration, preparation of federal estate tax and gift tax returns and representation of fiduciaries and beneficiaries in connection with probate litigation. In addition, she assists clients in audit controversies with the Internal Revenue Service regarding federal estate tax returns.

Donna was previously a Senior Attorney at McDonough Holland & Allen PC. Prior to moving to Sacramento, Donna was a partner with McCleskey, Harriger, Brazill & Graf L.L.P., in Lubbock, Texas. Donna is also currently an adjunct professor for Texas Tech University School of Law teaching guardianship law and previously teaching marital property and estate administration courses.

One of the most rewarding parts of the work I do is helping people give a portion of their estate to charity. It also engages the next generation in thinking of others. I almost always mention charitable giving when I meet with a client. It’s not just for the ‘Bill Gates’ of the world.

The Basics

I help people with estate planning and transitioning their assets to families or charities. I help them in both the planning stage and when someone passes away.

Delivering for Clients

I’ve done estate planning in my career for an estate of over $80 million. While my typical workload includes estates ranging from $1 million to $10 million, I think having handled very large estates gives me an advantage with managing estates of all sizes.

I really enjoy being active in my community and at places like my church. I have a son with autism and I’m always looking for ways to enjoy life through his eyes. We hike, go for yogurt, ride our bikes.  I actively look for things we can do together that we have in common and can build on.

  • Practices
  • Estate Planning; Probate; and Trust Administration
  • Tax
  • Education
  • Texas Tech University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 1994
  • Texas Tech University, B.B.A., Accounting, 1988
  • Honors
  • Northern California Super Lawyer, 2018
  • Bridge Builder Award, Sacramento Region Community Foundation, 2013-2018
  • Sacramento Business Journal Best of the Bar, 2016, 2018
  • Sacramento Magazine Top Lawyer, 2016 – 2018
  • Recipient, Don Poole Award, Sacramento Region Community Foundation, 2015. Awarded for significant contributions to philanthropy in the region, the award was created to honor the advisor who embodies commitment to charitable causes, devotion to educating clients about charitable giving, and mentoring fellow advisors to support clients’ philanthropy.
  • Bar Admissions
  • California
  • Texas
  • Certified Public Accountant (Texas)
  • Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • Professional Associations and Memberships
  • Member, Sacramento Estate Planning Council
  • Past Chair, Sacramento County Bar Association, Probate and Estate Planning Section
  • Member, State Bar of California, Trusts and Estates Section
  • Member, State Bar of Texas, Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section
  • Former Board Member, Texas Tech University School of Law Foundation
  • Former Board Member and Treasurer, Lubbock Area Community Foundation
  • Former Member, State Bar of Texas , Advertising Review Committee
  • Former Member and Treasurer, Lubbock County Bar Association
  • Former Member and President, South Plains Trust & Estate Council
  • Community
  • Chair, Sacramento Region Community Foundation Board and Member
  • Advisory Board Member, Pride Industries Foundation
  • Secretary and Member, Board of Trustees, Meristem
  • Steering Committee and Member, Philanthropic Advisors’ Forum of Greater Sacramento


Articles and Presentations



Probate Academy for Judges, Texas Association of Counties, Speaker


Sacramento County Bar Association Tax Symposium, Speaker


Probate Academy for Judges, Texas Association of Counties, Speaker


Dispute Resolution Center, Guardianship Symposium, Moderator and Speaker


Texas Tech University School of Law, Marital Property, Guardianships and Estates courses, Adjunct Professor


Texas Association of Counties, Judicial Education Sessions, Speaker


State Bar of Texas, Advanced Guardianship Seminar, Speaker

Representative Experience

Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Administration

In less than three years from decedent’s death, probated estate in excess of $80 million, prepared federal estate tax return and Texas inheritance tax return, negotiated and settled audit with Internal Revenue Service and distributed and closed estate on behalf of Executor.

Drafted, negotiated and obtained court approval of a family settlement agreement involving an estate exceeding $4 million, including multiple tax planning trusts some of which were modified and involved ownership of more than 60 individual rental properties, commercial properties and ranches.

Represented conservator (and later executor) on behalf of the conservatee (decedent) in preserving remainder of estate for the conservatee’s long term care after the conservatee was defrauded of $650,000 in a pay telephone lease scam. Assisted in litigation pursuing lawsuit against salesmen.

Represented family in business succession planning and estate planning. Worked closely with family’s other professional advisors as part of a team to meet the clients’ needs.

Business Succession Planning

Represented family-owned grocery business in conversion from a corporation to a limited partnership for franchise tax benefits. Worked closely with national accounting firm as part of the family’s team of advisors to complete the conversion.