Estate Planning

Estate and Trust Administration

Premarital Agreements


B.A., Case Western Reserve University

J.D., Georgetown University Law Center

LL.M in Taxation, Georgetown University Law Center

Bar Admissions


District of Columbia


Pasternak & Fidis mourns our mentor, colleague, and treasured friend Nancy Fax, who served for many years as our firm’s Managing Partner. She died on June 4, 2018, after a brief struggle with pancreatic cancer. Her memorial service will be held at 1:00 PM on Tuesday, June 26 at the Spanish Ballroom at Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, Maryland. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked Nancy’s friends and colleagues to make a contribution to one of the following organizations:


Nancy was a recognized expert in the field of estates and trusts law, named as the 2017 Trusts and Estates Lawyer of the Year (Washington D.C. Metro Area) by Best Lawyers.  Nancy was also named as a Notable Practitioner by Chambers and Partners, High Net Worth, which ranks the best lawyers in various practice areas.  She was consistently recognized as a top estates and trusts lawyer and financial planner in lists published by the Washingtonian and Bethesda Magazine.  Nancy also received accolades throughout her career from publications that rate the best-regarded estates and trusts lawyers in the D.C. area and the nation, including Super Lawyers.

Nancy was the founder and original author of Maryland Estate Planning and Probate Laws Annotated (2008-2014), published by Thomson Reuters, and was the founder and editor for many years of the District of Columbia Estates, Trusts and Probate Law Digest, published by the District of Columbia Bar.

Nancy was a pillar of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), a highly selective national organization that brings together the top trusts and estates lawyers in the nation.  In addition to serving on the Executive Committee of the Board of Regents of ACTEC, she was a Chair of ACTEC’s State Laws Committee and State Chair for Maryland.  At the time of her death, Nancy was serving on ACTEC’s Financial Management Committee, Sponsorship Advisory Committee, and State Laws Committee.

Over the years, Nancy chaired both the Estate and Trust Law Section of the Maryland State Bar Association and the Estates, Trusts and Probate Law Section of the District of Columbia Bar.

According to the Washingtonian, which named Nancy as one of the top 30 attorneys in the metropolitan area, she had “an uncanny ability to untangle confusing technical matters.  Her understanding of the law and personalized approach … made her a trusted advisor for couples and families planning their estates.”

Nancy devoted her time and talent in serving on local nonprofit boards, including the Greater Washington Community Foundation, Levine Music, and Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Educational Foundation.  At the time of her death, Nancy had recently joined the board of Identity, a Gaithersburg organization focused on helping Latino youth, and she was a mentor with FutureLink.

Impressive as this list of accomplishments may be, it does not do justice to the inspiring, generous, dedicated, exceptional woman that Nancy was.  We know her loving family, her clients, her professional colleagues, and her many, many, many friends miss Nancy terribly, as we all do.  We are blessed and lucky to have had her so much a part of our lives and our work.


  • “Current Local Developments, D.C. Maryland and Virginia,” Advanced Estate Planning Institute, Georgetown University Law Center
  • “Qualified Personal Residence Trusts,” District of Columbia Bar, Section of Taxation, Washington, D.C.
  • “Using and Drafting Trusts in Estate Planning,” Maryland Institute for Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers
  • “Planning for $5 Million to $10 Million Estates,” District of Columbia Bar, Section of Taxation
  • “Uniform Trust Act,” D.C. Estate Planning Council
  • “Practical Drafting Under the New D.C. Uniform Trust Law,” District of Columbia Bar, Section of Estates, Trusts and Probate Law
  • “Estate Planning for the Next Generation(s) of Clients,” Hecklering Institute on Estate Planning
  • “Difficult Clients, Difficult Situations: Practical Ways to Manage Professional Conversations,” American College of Trust & Estate Counsel
  • “Decoupled Estate Tax Exemptions: What’s An Estate Planner To Do?” American College of Trust & Estate Counsel
  • “Ten Things Your State Legislature Should Know About The Uniform Trust Code,” American College of Trust & Estate Counsel
  • “Premarital Agreements: Planning for Death and Divorce,” D.C. Bar (March 2018)


  • Best Lawyers – Trusts & Estates Law (Maryland, 2006-2018)
  • Best Lawyers – Lawyer of the Year in Trust and Estates (Washington, DC, 2017)
  • Chambers & Partners, High Net Worth, Notable Practitioner (Washington, DC, 2016-2018)
  • Super Lawyers – Estate Planning & Probate Law (Washington, DC, 2007-2018)
  • Super Lawyers – Top 50 Women Lawyers (Washington, DC, 2017)
  • Super Lawyers – Top 100 Lawyers (Maryland, 2012-2014, 2017)
  • Super Lawyers – Top 50 Women Lawyers; Estate Planning & Probate (Maryland, 2009, 2012-2017)
  • Washingtonian – Washington’s Best Lawyers for Trusts and Estates; Top Estate Attorneys among DC Financial Advisers
  • Washingtonian – Top 30 Lawyers in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area
  • Washingtonian – Top Financial Planners in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area
  • Bethesda Magazine – Top Wills & Estates Lawyers in Montgomery County
  • ACTEC Observer, Uniform Law Commission, Premarital and Marital Agreements
  • Super Lawyers – Estate Planning & Probate Law (Maryland, 2007-2018)



  • “Community Foundation Donor-Advised Funds: Efficient and Effective Charitable Giving,” Maryland Bar Journal
  • “Practical Drafting Under the Uniform Trust Code,” Wealth Strategies Journal
  • “Beyond Traditional: Domestic Partners Can Use Trusts to Fulfill Their Estate-Planning Needs,” Legal Times
  • Editor, District of Columbia Developments, Washington, DC Estate Planning Council Newsletter, 1995–2003

Blog Posts

April 1, 2013

American Taxpayer Relief Act and Estate Planning

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the “Act”), which includes a variety of changes to the Internal Revenue Code, will affect most American taxpayers.  In this article, we will address the key estate tax, gift tax and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax elements of the legislation.

Prior to passage of the Act, the federal estate tax, gift tax and GST tax laws were scheduled to change dramatically as of January 1, 2013.  For example, although the gift tax exemption was $5,120,000 in 2012, it was scheduled to be reduced to $1,000,000 in 2013. The gift tax rate (for amounts above the exemption) was a flat 35% in 2012, but was scheduled to revert to a graduated tax with a top rate of 55% in 2013…. MORE >