Office Bios

Leigh Hilton

Leigh HiltonLeigh Hilton is committed to helping you understand that the foundation of estate planning is not just saving tax dollars, but also appreciating the value of planning for you and your loved ones. Leigh has over 19 years of legal experience in the practice areas of Estate Planning, Elder Law, and Probate. She routinely prepares simple estate plans as well as very complicated Wills and Trusts for high wealth individuals. Leigh is a member of Wealth Counsel and is a distinguished speaker on estate planning, wealth protection, and business planning issues.  She is also an Accredited Estate Planner®. She would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss your estate planning needs.

Leigh was born in Dallas and grew up in Denton. She attended the University of North Texas where she earned a Bachelor of Science, graduating with honors in 1989. She earned her law degree at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, TX, graduating as Summa Cum Laude in 1992. She has been married for 26 years and is the mother of two little boys. Leigh is very active in civic events and is a frequent speaker to various organizations. She’s a member of both the Wealth Counsel and the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys.

Leigh Hilton is proud to provide legal counsel rooted in Christian values.

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Gretchen A. Benolken

Gretchen BenolkenGretchen A. Benolken is an experienced attorney with a great reputation and we are honored to have her join us as Of Counsel in serving our community. Gretchen will be specializing in Probate and Guardianship, for which she is abundantly qualified.

Her education and honors are impressive. She obtained her J.D., with honors, from The University of Texas School of Law in 1985 and her B.A., with high honors, in Government from The University of Texas at Austin in 1981. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

In addition to her remarkable performance in educational pursuits, Gretchen has valuable experience. She was previously employed at Vinson & Elkins in Washington, D.C.; Doke & Riley in Dallas, Texas; Fogle & Benolken, P.C. in Dallas, Texas; and since 1998, she has been here in Denton with Benolken & Everett, P.C.

Ms. Benolken has achieved success in probate, estate, trust, guardianship and fiduciary litigation. She served for several years as the Probate Chair for the Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law Section of the Denton County Bar Association. She also has extensive experience in negotiating and drafting real estate, commercial, and estate planning documents.

Gretchen also has a fine record of contributing to our community. For many years, she served as Co-Chair of the Finance Council of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Denton, where she was also a member of the Steering Committee. She also served for a number of years on the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Denton County.  She is a founding member of the St. Marten de Porres Catholic Church Finance Council.

Gary Crooms

Gary CroomsGary Crooms helps our clients and their families qualify for Medicaid and Veteran’s benefits. He also helps with pre-planning to protect assets in case you need to go into a nursing home or need home health care. He has been helping families qualify for Medicaid and Veteran’s benefits for over twenty years.

Gary Crooms is the Senior Benefits Planner for the firm and has worked in numerous areas of the financial planning industry for more than thirty years, but has concentrated his practice for over twenty years assisting older adults facing long term healthcare issues with eligibility for public benefits such as Medicaid and Veterans benefits.

In 2004, Gary was the first financial planner in the Metroplex to earn the designation of Registered Financial Gerontologist (RFG), with distinction, from the American Institute of Financial Gerontology. He is on the Board of Directors of The Wellness Center for Older Adults in Plano, and serves on the Denton County Geriatric Services Workgroup, which has been designated by proclamation as the planning and steering committee for all aging issues that face Denton County.

Gary resides in Lewisville with his wife of thirty-five years. They are members of First Baptist Church Carrollton where they have worshiped for more than twenty years, and where Gary also serves on the Financial Stewardship Committee.

Tammy Valadez Stark

Tammy ValdezTammy has been Leigh’s assistant since 2008 and is just as committed as Leigh in wanting to help clients with their estate planning needs. She assists Leigh with all of her estate planning cases and manages all of her speaking engagements. If you’re interested in attending one of Leigh’s seminars, Tammy is your connection.

Tammy graduated from Texas Women’s University with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. She has two children, a son and a daughter, and is blessed with two grandchildren.

Need to contact Tammy? Feel free to email her.

 

 

 

James Hilton

James HiltonJames is in charge of the firm’s business development as the Marketing Director. He also happens to be Leigh’s husband and parental partner for their two boys.

James was born in Denton and graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor’s in Business in 1998. He worked for Radio Shack for over 15 years. He enjoys traveling, boating, and spending time with his family. He is also a Deacon of First Baptist Church of Denton.

Leigh Hilton is an ACCREDITED ESTATE PLANNER® based in Denton and serving the DFW Metroplex. Areas of practice include:
Wills, Trusts & Estates | Elder Law | Probate Law | Estate Planning