Michael H. Godwin


Trusts and Estates | Tax-Exempt Organizations

Mike Godwin’s practice is concentrated in the areas of wealth and transfer tax planning, fiduciary advice, trust and estate disputes and working with owners of closely-held businesses and their families on succession planning matters.

In helping clients pass family wealth to their chosen beneficiaries in the most tax-efficient manner, Mr. Godwin's focus is to find practical solutions that are appropriate for the family in question. He strives to take into account non-tax factors such as the need for asset protection, concerns about future marital issues and family dynamics. This work often involves designing and drafting Wills and Living Trusts, as well as  implementing more sophisticated techniques such as generation-skipping trusts, grantor retained interest trusts, sales to defective grantor trusts, life insurance trusts, transferring discounted interests in business entities and working with limited liability companies, partnerships and Subchapter S corporations.

In the areas of fiduciary law, Mr. Godwin regularly advises trust beneficiaries, as well as trust companies, as to their rights and duties under trust agreements. He is experienced in trusts and estates disputes and often provides support and advice in trusts and estates litigation.

The modification and termination of trusts is another area in which Mr. Godwin has broad experience. He is often consulted on trust modification and termination questions and frequently helps clients modify or terminate trusts through court proceedings, non-judicial settlements and trust decanting.

For a number of years, Mr. Godwin has been active on the Legislative Committee of the Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association and has been on the drafting committees for the North Carolina Uniform Trust Code and the statutes dealing with trustee compensation and the elective share.

Mr. Godwin is certified by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission as a Superior Court Mediator.

Mr. Godwin is married to Nancy, has two grown sons and three grandchildren. He enjoys golf and following college sports.

Best Lawyers Award Badge                                                                                                                                     


University of North Carolina, A.B., 1971, Phi Beta Kappa

University of North Carolina, J.D., with honors, 1974, North Carolina Law Review

Bar Admissions
North Carolina
Professional Activities

Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the North Carolina State Board of Legal Specialization

North Carolina Bar Association, Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section, past Chair; Legislative Committee, past Chair

Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, past State Chair

Greensboro Estate Planning Council, past President

Society of Financial Service Professionals

Community and Civic Activities

Greensboro Rotary Club

UNCG Spartan Club Executive Committee

Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, Development Committee

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Visitors

Guilford Technical Community College Foundation, Inc., Board of Directors

UNC Law Foundation, Inc., Board of Directors

StepUp Greensboro, Board of Directors

Elder, First Presbyterian Church

Former legal counsel, Goodwill Industries Rehabilitation Center

Former member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Professional Advisors Committee, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro

Former member of the Board of Directors, UNCG Excellence Foundation

Former member of the Board of Directors, Greensboro Cerebral Palsy and Orthopedic School

Awards and Publications

Woodward/White, Inc., The Best Lawyers in America, Greensboro Trusts and Estates Law, "Lawyer of the Year", 2012, 2020

Woodward/White, Inc., The Best Lawyers in America, trusts and estates, 2007-2023

Business North Carolina, Legal Elite, Hall of Fame, tax/estate planning since 2010

Business North Carolina, Legal Elite, tax/estate planning, 2003-2010

North Carolina Super Lawyers, Top 100 Lawyers, estate planning and probate, 2006, 2010-2012, 2015

North Carolina Super Lawyers, estate planning and probate, 2006-2022

Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated