Mark Noel comes from the rural outskirts of Harrodsburg in central Kentucky. He was a boy before high-speed internet and spent his early years exploring in the outdoors. He looks back on it as an innocent place in a much more innocent time. In the summers, he’d often leave in the morning and not get home until dinnertime.
His father was self-employed, and he taught Mark the value of hard work. His mother was an English teacher at Mercer County High School, and Mark was one of her students. She had a rich collection of American and international classics. He used to pull works from authors such as Emerson, Camus, Thoreau, Dickens, de Tocqueville, and Twain down from the shelves and spend hours poring through them.
He is drawn to national parks, especially the ones out West. Just prior to coming on board with the Firm, he took some time to hike in and around Glacier National Park in Montana. He’s been to Yellowstone a few times, as well as Arches National Park in Utah, Denali in Alaska, the Badlands in South Dakota and the Grand Canyon -- the more scenic and out of the way, the better. He gravitates to places where the locals advise carrying bear spray, although he has not yet encountered any bears.
“The appeal is just seeing those beautiful places that, for the most part, have been unaltered by human contact. You’re generally seeing the landscape in the same way it looked to the first humans who encountered it. Those are unique places. Everything is huge – huge sky, huge mountains, huge rivers.”
One thing about Mark is that he can take a joke. He likes to check out stand-up comedians and has been to dozens of shows. He puts himself in harm’s way, seeking out seats in the front row, which is the turf comics mine for heckling sitting ducks. “I’ve done that a lot – I think it’s important to be able to laugh at yourself. We must take our work very seriously, but we shouldn’t always take ourselves so seriously.”
He is also a big fan of and something of an authority on University of Kentucky basketball, horse racing, and bourbon, having grown up not far from many of the distilleries. Mark tries to take in a few UK basketball games each year, and he particularly enjoys road games where he can experience unfamiliar cities. His tastes in music run toward what is often described as Americana, exemplified by the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, Ryan Bingham and Hayes Carll. He appreciates talented songwriters. It’s all about the lyrics, he says – that’s what matters to me.
Mark considers himself an open book. He’s willing to talk about anything with most people, as long as he believes the other person is genuine. “As an estate planner, I must ask clients to be extremely open and honest regarding their values, wishes, and concerns. I think it’s important that I’m willing to do the same,” he says.
“I’d like to leave people with the impression that I’m a guy who’s interesting and approachable, someone they’d like to get to know better and someone who is interested in learning more about them.”
When Mark joined Graydon in 2016, he was already an accomplished trust and estate attorney with significant experience helping clients plan for the future. Mark focuses his practice on designing and implementing estate plans to fulfill clients’ wishes, preserve and protect their assets, and minimize or eliminate the impact of tax laws on the transfer of wealth. To accomplish these goals, Mark often works collaboratively with clients’ other trusted advisors, including accountants, financial advisors, and insurance professionals.
Mark’s practice also includes helping clients execute various strategies to accomplish their charitable goals in a tax efficient manner. He has extensive experience in advising trustees and executors regarding their legal obligations and best practices with respect to trust and estate administration. Drawing on his previous experience as a litigation attorney, Mark also represents clients in disputes involving wills and trusts and in matters relating to the construction, modification, or reformation of trusts.
Mark has spoken at multiple professional seminars in Ohio and Kentucky regarding various trust and estate law topics. His prior speaking engagements include Ohio State Bar Association seminars and the Cincinnati Bar Association’s Advanced Estate Planning Institute. Mark’s work has been published in the Probate Law Journal of Ohio and the Kentucky Law Journal. He is a contributing author of Kentucky Estate Administration, 5th ed. (UK/CLE) (2014). Mark is also an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where he serves as a teacher for the course on estate planning.