Maria Moyer’s family heritage looms large in terms of who she is.
Both parents were born in Greece. Her mother came to the states with her family when she was 15. On a trip back to Greece, she met and eventually married Maria’s father. Both were 20 years old at the time. Maria had her first passport as an infant and, growing up, returned to Greece to visit extended family nearly every summer – taking in large swaths of Italy, France and Spain as well.
“I learned early how to connect with different kinds of people. Each island in Greece has its own culture and its own dialect. You learn to tread lightly and realize that, most of the time, you’re going to experience something you’ve never known before.”
At home in Finneytown, her parents spoke only Greek to Maria and her older brother and younger sister. That’s why Maria is fluent in modern Greek. She was married in what she describes as a “big fat Greek wedding.” She was traditional enough (Greek) to take her husband’s name and sufficiently traditional to maintain her maiden name (Kontopos) via her middle initial.
The big influences in her life are her parents. Katerina Kontopos, who was a teacher before she became a stay-at-home mom, was neck deep in her kids’ lives. “I have her caring nature,” Maria says. “Anything I needed, all I had to do was call Mom. She was always the reading mom, the chaperone, whatever the school needed her to be. Greek mothers do everything for their families – that’s the kind of mom she has always been.”
Maria says her father, Pete Kontopos, is the hardest working person she has ever known. He owns a company that specializes in industrial painting. “He would be gone in the morning before I woke up and arrived home after I was in bed. For him, the business was the vehicle to take care of his family. What I take from his example is that, with hard work and dedication, you can accomplish anything.”
She was a tomboy growing up, owing largely to the fact that she wanted to do everything her older brother did. “He would at least let me watch him and his friends play video games. And he played soccer, so I played soccer. I still like to play in the indoor coed leagues.”
A mutual friend introduced Maria to her husband, Gabe, when they were in law school. “That first night, we talked for hours – about our families, about tax law, of all things. People think chivalry is dead, but not with Gabe. He’s always opening my car door. Plus, he plays soccer.”
She brings all of those influences to her work in estate planning at the Firm. “To be great at what I do requires compassion and an ability to make it easy for people to connect with you. I don’t want to be a note taker, with my head down. I want my clients to think of me as a colleague.”
Maria’s practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and estate and trust administration. Maria advises clients on various issues, including construction of wills, trusts and powers of attorney, navigating an estate administration, and protecting family wealth. Maria also advises trustees and executors with regards to best practices on various trust and estate administration issues.
Maria has presented at various professional seminars on topics including estate administration, trust administration, estate planning and guardianships. Maria is also an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where she serves as a teacher for the course on estate planning. In 2019, the Ohio State Bar Association certified Maria as a specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law.
Prior to joining Graydon, Maria worked as an associate attorney in estate planning and estate and trust administration with firms in downtown Cincinnati. She also clerked with an estate planning firm during law school. She is a 2012 graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where she earned her J.D., and a 2009 graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Business, where she earned her BA of Business Administration in Marketing and Entrepreneurship.
Maria was born and raised in Cincinnati and currently resides with her husband, Gabe, on the west side of Cincinnati.