The Caton Law Firm PLLC
206 S. Tennessee, PO Box 387 McKinney, TX 75070 - Phone.972.562.0777 - Fax.972.562.0780

The Attorneys Associated with Our Firm

Karen C. Caton

McKinney, Texas
(972) 562-0777
(972) 562-0780

I specialize in estate planning, probate, asset protection and related tax and business planning. I endeavor to identify the objectives of the client and match the plan to the person. One size does not fit all. In a relatively informal environment, as compared to downtown firms, we strive to provide high quality service, at a reasonable cost, within an appropriate time-frame. One important objective is to educate clients so that they understand what they are doing, and why they are doing it. Our clients generally express appreciation for clear, understandable information, recommendations and instruction. The firm will work closely with your CPA, financial planner, insurance professional and any other investment advisor to assure that all members of your planning team are working together in an integrated and consistent manner.

ESTATE PLANNING . Typical estate planning techniques include Wills and Living Trusts that may utilize a credit shelter exemption (A-B) trust, marital deduction (QTIP or POA) trust, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) trusts; Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs) and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs); Life insurance trusts; Other Intervivos trusts established as Educational Trusts, 2503(c) Trusts, and GST Trusts; Business transition through use of a Private Annuity, traditional sale to children or gifting plan; Qualified Personal Residence Trusts, Grantor Retained Interest Trusts (GRATs, GRITs and GRUTs) and Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs).

PROBATE . Although we try to utilize non-probate or nominal probate techniques when possible, the firm does handle a variety of probate and trust estate matters, including selected probate litigation cases.

ASSET PROTECTION . The asset protection services offered by the firm include lawful planning and restructure of investment allocation to maximize use of the Texas exemption statutes, evaluation of insurance and retirement requirements, and formation of various trusts, partnerships (including FLPs) and other entities as needed to maximize the preservation of the family assets for the family and minimize the liability of family members. This firm does not do off-shore trusts.

TAX and BUSINESS PLANNING . The firm assists many professional and business clients in evaluating from time to time their income tax status and reviewing methods for decreasing their income tax burden. Techniques may include deduction maximization, lawful reallocation of income among family members, eliminating unnecessary payroll tax expense, retirement planning and use of various entities, including partnerships, corporations, and LLCs. Related business planning includes buy-sell planning between owners and their families, liability minimization, reorganization and sale of business.

ELDER LAW . The elder law services include basic estate planning, management planning, long-term care counseling, and medicaid planning, including eligibility requirements, Qualified Income Trusts (Miller Trusts) and gifting rules and alternatives to long term care.

ATTORNEY-MEDIATOR . Ms. Caton is a trained attorney-mediator, emphasizing mediation in the context of the probate courts and civil business litigation.

SPECIAL SERVICE Appointments as successor administrator, guardian and trustee by various courts to investigate and resolve problems when the personal representatives have failed to report to the Court. Advisor and Pro Bono representation for volunteer guardian program, designed to coordinate lay persons to serve as guardians for the elderly when no family members are available to serve.

Select pro bono service for charitable organizations, including new church charters and organization structures for other non-profit organizations.

Areas of Practice

  • Probate & Estate Administration
  • Estate Planning
  • Business & Commercial Law
  • Business Organizations
  • Taxation Law
  • Elder Law
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Commercial Real Estate Transactions
  • Tax-Deferred Exchanges for Real Estate

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Estate Planning and Probate Law, Texas State Board of Legal Specialization

Bar Admissions

  • Texas, 1983
  • Oklahoma, 1983
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Oklahoma
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Oklahoma
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court


  • The University of Texas School of Law, Austin, Texas
    • Doctor of Jurisprudence - 1982
    • Honors: With Honors
    • Honors: Outstanding Editor Award, Texas Law Review (1982)
    • Honors: Mesa Petroleum Academic Excellence Scholarship (1981)
    • Law Review: Texas Law Review, Member, Board of Editors and Note Editor, 1982
  • University of Houston, Houston, Texas
    • B.A., Bachelor of Arts - Political Science summa cum laude - 1980
    • Honors: Highest Honors
    • Honors: Outstanding Graduating Senior in Social Sciences
    • Honors: Academic Scholarship

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Estate Planning Council of North Texas, Member, Former Trustee
  • Texas State Bar College, Member
  • Texas Bar Foundation, Sustaining Fellow
  • Collin County Bar Association, Member
  • Plano Bar Association, Member
  • State Bar of Texas, Member
  • Oklahoma Bar Association, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • State Bar of Texas, Sections of Probate, Real Estate, Business and Litigation, Member
  • McKinney Education Foundation, Board of Trustees, Member, 1994 - 1997
  • McKinney Education Foundation, President, 1998 - 1999
  • McKinney Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors, Member, 1996 - 1997
  • Conner Harrington Republican Women's Club, Member
  • Habitat for Humanity--Carpenter's Club, Member
  • First Baptist Church, Sunday School Director, 1990 - 1992
  • American Red Cross, Collin County Chapter, Board of Directors, 1987 - 1989
  • American Cancer Society, North Collin County Chapter, Board of Directors and Treasurer, 1985 - 1988
  • Daughters of the American Revolution, Secretary, 1985 - 1987
  • Leadership McKinney - Class of 1995

Past Employment Positions

  • Connor & Winters, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Associate, 1983 - 1984
  • University of Texas School of Law, Austin, Texas, Research Assistant
  • University of Houston, Research Assistant, Political Science
  • University of Houston, Teaching Assistant, Political Science

Previous Names

  • Karen C. Cathey