Principal Attorney


Ms. Merilyn M. Steele began practicing accounting in 1982 in the tax department with Kenneth Leventhal & Co. which specialized in real estate (a Big 8 firm) which has since merged with Ernst & Young, LLP (a Big 4 Accounting firm). There she obtained her Certified Public Accountant professional license, which is maintained, but inactive.

After 10 years of practicing in the accounting field, Ms. Steele returned to law school in 1992. While interning at a regional law firm in Newport Beach, California in their business and estate planning department, she received her law degree, license to practice law and transitioned to the practice of law in 1996. During the last approximately 25 plus years of practicing law, Ms. Steele has gained extensive experience in the areas of estate planning, business succession planning, corporate, tax and real estate matters as well as pre-and post-deathtrust administration. This includes both domestic and some international tax/legal planning.

Originally from Indiana, Ms. Steele is almost a California native having received her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (emphasis in Accounting) in 1982 from Cal State University Fullerton. She obtained her CPA license 2 years later in1984. In May of 1996 she received her Juris Doctorate Degree, Cum Laude, from Simon Greenleaf University of Anaheim (now Trinity Law School, Santa Ana, California). During law school, Ms. Steele was voted as Law Student of the Year and was a semi-finalist in the California Moot Court Competition. She was admitted to the State Bar of California in December of 1996.

Ms. Steele is a member of the following professional organizations:

  • State Bar of California – Active Licensee 1996 – Present
  • California Board of Accountancy-Active Licensee Since1982, Inactive since 2016 – Present
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) with T.E.P. Designation
    ▪International estate planning organization based in London (21K Members + 96 Countries)
  • North County State Bar Association – San Diego, California
  • North County Estate Planning Council – San Diego, California
  • Christian Legal Society -National (Trusts & Estate Section Member)
  • Christian Legal Society -San Diego Chapter (Co-Founder, BoardMember,Treasurer)
  • Refuge for Women - So Cal, Non Profit Organization - Advisory Board Member
  • Christian Legal Aid Foundation d.b.a. Christian Legal Aid Office of Orange County (Co-Founder & former President)
  • ProVisors –Carmel Valley Torrey View Group (Executive Council)▪Former Member/Executive Council (currently on hiatus)
  • PEPNET (Pepperdine Center for Estate & GiftPlanning)
    ▪(Leadership Circle) –Malibu, California - Former Member
  • Tri-City Planned Giving Council (Former Member, Speaker)

Refuge for Women provides long term safe housing for victims of human trafficking. The locations of the safe houses are unpublished, providing the opportunity for residents to be free of fear. Each resident is accepted, loved and given a pathway to a better life.

Learn more and Donate at www.rfwsocal.org

Our Firm

Our Firm includes a team of Attorney(s), paralegal, legal administrative and support staff and professional consultants to serve you. We consider them all our "Team Members".

Merilyn Steele and Family

Ms. Steele lives in Carlsbad, California with her husband Ken L. Steele of 39 years. He is in Executive Management Aerospace Engineering and serves as Director of Business Development with Deployable Space Systems (DSS) based in Santa Barbara, CA.

Their son Tyler Steele (35), a Construction Engineer is a Senior Project Manager (MBA) with Balfour Beaty, Commercial Construction Company. Tyler is married to Elizabeth (33), an 8th Grade teacher serving Double Peak Middle School. They live in South Oceanside with our 2 grandchildren, Nolan (5) and Stella (2).

Their daughter Kelly Steele Carlson(32) is a Georgetown, Finance graduate/Soccer-Scholar Athlete serving at North Coast Calvary Chapel (NCCC) as Director of Missions, Community Outreach, and Impact. Kelly is working toward her Master of Justice & Advocacy at Fuller Theological Seminary. We welcomed her husband Joseph M. Carlson (35) M.Div. into the Family in May of 2020. Joseph hails from Seattle Washington and is the Production Manager at NCCC and Lead Editor for Nations Media, Non Profit Organizations.