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Brenda Jackson-Cooper, Ivins, Phillips & Barker, Chartered Photo

Brenda Jackson-Cooper


Approachable and practical, Brenda uses her legal and interpersonal skills to demystify the estate planning process for clients. Outside the office, Brenda enjoys watching Washington Nationals baseball with Georgie and Willard, the world’s cutest canine baseball fans.


Brenda's clients rely on her for ongoing advice across a broad range of estate, gift and generation-skipping tax planning matters.  In particular, clients appreciate Brenda’s resourcefulness in crafting estate plans that strike an effective balance between minimizing taxes and furthering non-tax goals. Brenda is known for listening carefully to each client’s unique concerns and then using her proficiency with non-judicial trust modification techniques and creative structuring of limited powers of appointment to develop strategies that benefit family members throughout multiple generations. She is described by a fellow advisor as, "a really ‘can-do’ lawyer, who always goes the extra mile and can distill complex technical issues into practical commercial advice." 

As part of her practice, Brenda assists individuals who are neither citizens nor residents of the United States with making tax-advantaged arrangements for family members who are U.S. citizens. In addition, clients who are U.S. citizens or residents with non-U.S. assets rely on Brenda to work with non-U.S. counsel to design and implement integrated estate plans and lifetime giving strategies. 

Brenda also has extensive experience with administering large estates, most of which are multi-jurisdictional in nature. The family members of deceased clients find her approach to estate administration both efficient and supportive and appreciate her willingness to educate them about the process as they go through what very often is a difficult time. 

Prior to joining the firm in 2011, Brenda practiced for nine years in the Estate Planning Group in the Washington, DC office of an AmLaw 100 firm, where she helped many first generation wealth creators navigate the multi-faceted tax and estate planning involved in exiting their closely held businesses. 


Vanderbilt University Law School, 2002, JD

Yale University, 1993, BA

Bar & Court Admissions

District of Columbia

Memberships & Affiliations

American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section

District of Columbia Bar, Estates, Trusts and Probate Law Section

Honors & Awards

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2007 for Wealth Management: Eastern Region

Awarded the 2003 Ally of Justice Award for pro bono work on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign


Representative Matters

  • Participated in the design and implementation of a plan whereby beneficiaries of a terminating GST grandfathered trust transferred trust interests to grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs) in order to leverage the mortality risk associated with the trust termination date.   

  • Assisted a U.S. citizen and his non-citizen spouse with U.S. compliance matters relating to a reorganization of entities holding their non-U.S. personal and real property, followed by a contribution of their shares in the entities to newly created non-U.S. revocable trusts.

  • Engaged in extensive post-mortem planning by structuring and implementing a net gift of marital trust income interests in order to reduce the federal and state estate taxes ultimately payable by the beneficiary’s estate.

  • Funded GRATs, sold discounted family business assets, made judicious use of client’s deceased spouse’s unused exclusion amount (DSUE) and incorporated planning based on the predeceased ancestor rule to substantially reduce the GST tax payable upon client’s death.

News & Events

Speeches & Presentations

  • Will You Be OK When I’m Gone?  An Exploration of Life’s Questions. UBS Private Wealth Management Panel Discussion, Washington, DC, October 27, 2015.
  • Estate Planning for the International Client. DC Bar Estate Planning Tax Series, Washington DC, March 24, 2015, Co-Presenter with Douglas M. Andre (Presentation)
  • Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples After U.S. v. Windsor and Rev. Rul. 2013-17. DC Bar CLE Program, Washington DC, October 17, 2013
  • SC&H Financial Advisors “Establishing Tax Planning Success Post-DOMA” Webinar. Participant in webinar addressing the impact of U.S. v. Windsor and Revenue Ruling 2013-17 on income, gift and estate tax planning for same-sex couples, September 17, 2013
  • Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Life & Estate Planning Symposium. Participant in panel discussion regaring the impact of U.S. v. Windsor on tax and estate planning for LGBT individuals and couples. Washington DC, July 30, 2013
  • Update on Same-Sex Marriage and Domestic Partnerships: What You Need to Know in DC, MD & VA. DC Bar CLE Program, Washington DC, March 19, 2013, Co-Presenter with Kasey Place
  • Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples. DC Bar Taxation Section, Estate Planning Committee Luncheon Program, Washington, DC, March 14, 2013 (Presentation)
  • Update on Same-Sex Marriage and Domestic Partnerships: What You Need to Know in DC, MD & VA. DC Bar CLE Program, Washington, DC, December 5, 2011
  • Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples Residing in the District of Columbia. DC Bar Taxation Section/Estate Planning Committee Luncheon Program, Washington, DC, December 9, 2010
  • Washington Animal Rescue League Estate Planning Seminar. Washington, DC, April 10, 2009
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