Mary M. Culley

Attorney in Wilmington, DE

Mary M. Culley has facilitated the decision-making processes of individuals, families, and fiduciaries in Delaware and Pennsylvania in the areas of estate planning, estate and trust administration, and federal and state transfer taxation for over 25 years.

Estate and gift planning comprise a significant portion of Mary's practice. She assists clients with estate plans designed to accomplish their personal goals and preserve wealth by minimizing transfer taxes and probate fees. She designs estate plans with the flexibility to adjust to subsequent changes in the estate tax law and/or the clients' wealth.

Mary has extensive experience representing fiduciaries (executors, administrators, and trustees), and beneficiaries of estates and trusts. With the assistance of experienced paralegals, Mary guides even complex estates through the estate administration process in an efficient and timely manner.

Recent Matters

Counseled clients who appointed agents under powers of attorney and advance directives for health care as to their fiduciary responsibilities and the limits of their authority

Provided "family consultations" to assist the clients with informing interested parties about his or her responsibilities and the limits of the law

Represented clients in the Delaware Court of Chancery in proceedings for the establishment, maintenance, accounting and defense of guardianships

Represented clients in proceedings for the creation of special needs trusts to protect litigation and settlement awards payable to clients with disabilities

Assisted clients in the reformation of decedents' wills and trusts to protect inheritances payable to beneficiaries with special needs as well as maintain the beneficiaries' eligibility to receive needs-based governmental benefits

Professional Affiliations

Delaware Uniform Power of Attorney Act Task Force, 2009-2010
Delaware State Bar Association, Committee on the Law and the Elderly, Secretary, 1997-98
Delaware State Bar Association, Estates and Trusts Section, Chair, 1994-95
Delaware State Bar Association, Women and the Law Section, Chair, 1989-90
American Bar Association
Delaware Pro Bono Inn of Court
Delaware Attorney for the Special Needs Alliance
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys

Community Affiliations

Delaware Volunteer Legal Services, Board of Directors
St. Thomas More Society, Executive Committee, President 2003-2004
Delaware Care Plan, Inc., Board of Directors, Secretary
Children's Beach House, Board of Directors
Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay Council, Inc., Board of Directors, President's Advisory Board, Executive Committee, Chair, Northern Resource Center Task Force
Delaware Community Foundation, Professional Advisory Committee
Delaware Community Foundation, Fund For Women, Founder, Advisory Board, Grants Committee Co-Chair, 2004-2005
Ursuline Academy, Advancement Committee
Forum of Executive Women
International Women's Forum
Waggie's by Maggie and Friends Advisory Board

News & Events

News & Media Mentions

Morris James Leads Delaware Today "Top Lawyers" Edition with 25 Recognitions
October 21, 2014

Mary Culley and Mark Olson scheduled to present Tax, Estate and Financial seminar at CAMP Rehoboth
July 17, 2014

Morris James to Sponsor the Wilmington and Southern Delaware Heart Balls
February 26, 2014

Nine Morris James Attorneys Named as 2013 "Top Lawyers" by their Peers and Readers of Delaware Today Magazine
October 28, 2013
Delaware Today Magazine

20 Attorneys in 23 Practices Recognized by Best Lawyers® 2014
August 15, 2013
Best Lawyers® 2014

Morris James Launches Delaware's First Healthcare Industry Blog
May 15, 2013

20 Morris James Attorneys in 23 Practices Selected for Inclusion in Best Lawyers® 2013
August 30, 2012

Mary M. Culley To Be Honored For Her Service to the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay Council, Inc.
May 17, 2012

17 Morris James Attorneys Named in Best Lawyers® 2012 in 20 Practice Areas
August 31, 2011

Four Morris James Attorneys Selected By Their Peers As "Top Lawyers" in Delaware Today Magazine
October 25, 2010

U.S. News "Best Law Firms" Rankings Recognizes 12 Practice Areas of Morris James
October 15, 2010

17 Morris James Attorneys Selected by Best Lawyers® 2011
August 4, 2010

Best Lawyers® Names 15 Morris James Attorneys and Ranks the Firm #1 in Delaware for Education Law and Elder Law
October 12, 2009

Five Morris James Attorneys Selected By Their Peers As "Top Lawyers" In Delaware Today Magazine
December 8, 2008


What Everyone Needs to Know About Basic Estate Planning, Elder Law Issues and Fiduciary Relations
September 15, 2012

Get Your House in Order! What You Need to Know About Basic Estate Planning, Elder Law Issues and Fiduciary Relations
August 4, 2012

Financial and Legal Considerations When Dealing With A Chronically Ill Family Member
June 9, 2012

Educating the Agent Appointed in a Power of Attorney as to His/Her Fiduciary Responsibilities
April 25, 2012

Pro Bono Best Practices for Law Firms
October 5, 2011

Trusts and Estate Planning
September 16, 2011
The Retired Men's Lunch Club

What Everyone Needs to Know About Basic Estate Planning, Elder Law Issues and Fiduciary Relations
September 15, 2011

Pro Bono Best Practices
September 14, 2011

Estate Planning After the 2010 Tax Act, Still Necessary? Yes!
September 12, 2011

Estate Planning for Families With Children With Special Needs
April 28, 2011

5 Star Communities Continuing Education Seminar for Nurses and Social Workers
April 14, 2011
Wilmington Hospital

Estate Planning
April 14, 2011

The New Delaware Power of Attorney Statute, Advance Directives for Health Care, Guardianships
March 25, 2011

The ABCs of Estate Planning
March 15, 2011

Basics of Special Needs Trusts
March 3, 2011

Basic Trusts for Real People and The Basics of Special Needs Trusts
February 21, 2011

The New Delaware Durable Personal Power of Attorney
February 21, 2011

Delaware Guardianship Procedures
January 18, 2011

Channel 22 "Window on Wilmington"
November 10, 2010

The New Delaware Power of Attorney Statute
September 17, 2010

Getting Your Financial House in Order, Medicaid Considerations and Estate Planning
June 10, 2010

Basic Estate Planning and Issues in Elder Law and Fiduciary Relations
June 9, 2010

Issues in Elder Law
February 1, 2010


Delaware Healthcare Industry Blog


Best Lawyers®, 2008-2015

Delaware Today®, "Top Lawyers" 1996, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008-2012, 2014

Delaware Volunteer Legal Services Pro Bono Honor Roll, 2009

2006 DuPont Women Lawyers' Network, Themis Award, Recipient

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Areas of Law

  • Delaware Advantage Trusts
  • Elder Law and Disability Planning
  • Healthcare Industry Team
  • Personal Tax Advice and Planning
  • Tax, Estates and Business Practice
  • Trusts and Estates


Client Rating

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Experience & Credentials



Admission Details

Admitted in 1985, Delaware
1985, Pennsylvania
United States District Court, District of Delaware
U.S. Tax Court

Law School Attended

Widener University School of Law
Class of 1984
cum laude

Temple University Graduate School
Class of 1988

University Attended

Saint Mary's College for Women
Class of 1968

Birth Information

Born in 1946
Chicago, Illinois, December 12, 1946

Contact Information






Send email to Mary M. Culley

Office Information
Mary M. Culley
 500 Delaware Avenue, Suite 1500,
Wilmington, DE 19801-1494


Morris James LLP (Wilmington, Delaware)

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