After moving to Naples in 1996, Pieter Van Dien entered private practice with the law firm of Cardillo, Keith & Bonaquist and handled the firm's transactional work including estate planning, probate, real estate and entity formation and sales. Several years later, Pieter transitioned to the law firm of Goodlette, Coleman & Johnson where he worked primarily in real estate law. While at that firm, Pieter met several officers in Northern Trust's estate department and became interested in Northern's estate operations. When an opening arose in the department, Pieter applied for the position and joined the company in 2002.
While with Northern Trust, Pieter participated in the administration of numerous estates and postmortem trust settlements ranging from simple estates to highly-complex settlements involving probate, irrevocable trusts and multiple layers of beneficiary distributions, many times to continuing trusts for subsequent generations. In directing these administrations, Pieter's duties included the execution of probate pleadings, review of fiduciary, gift and estate tax returns, establishment of resulting trusts, distributions to estate and trust beneficiaries, defense of tax audits, and closing probate administrations.
Over his years with Northern, Pieter rose from Vice President to Senior Vice President and Manager of estate settlement operations in Lee and Collier counties. During that time, Pieter saw the unfortunate results of poor planning, at times not conducted or completed due to cost concerns, and the resulting problems after death leading to delayed settlements and unnecessary expenses. Pieter recognized a need for estate planning and settlement services offered at reasonable rates for clients with more modest estates. After nearly ten years with Northern Trust, Pieter decided those needs could best be met through a solo law practice focused on estate planning and probate administration and left Northern Trust to found the Law Office of Pieter Van Dien, P.A.
Community Involvement & Awards
Since settling in Naples in 1996, Pieter Van Dien has taken an active role in the local community. After serving on the board of the Collier County Humane Society from 1997 to 2000, he began a decade long commitment to Collier County's legal community starting with a board position with the Young Lawyers Section of the Collier County Bar. In 2002 Pieter served as President of the section and the following year was elected to the Board of Directors of the Collier County Bar Association, ultimately serving as President of the Bar's Foundation in 2009 and as President of the Bar Association in 2010. In recognition of his efforts to meet the legal needs of indigent residents, Pieter received a Leadership Award from the Legal Aid Service of Collier County in 2010. Prior to that, he received Gulfshore Business Magazine's "Forty Under Forty" award in 2008.
Pieter holds an "AV-Preeminent" Peer Review Rating from Martindale - Hubbell in the areas of Trusts & Estates, Taxation and Wills & Probate. In 2013, Pieter was honored as a top lawyer in the practice area of Trusts & Estates by The American Lawyer magazine. In 2015, Pieter was invited to participate in the innaugural class of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel's (ACTEC) Florida Fellows Institute. Pieter successfully graduated from the program in May of 2016 after six intensive study sessions taught exclusively by members of ACTEC.
Publications & Presentations
Pieter Van Dien has contributed to his community and profession through educational presentations and published works. In 2013 Pieter Van Dien served as the editor of Volume 13 of West’s Florida Practice Series: Florida Estate Planning (2013-2016 editions) regarding estate and gift tax. Given the numerous estate and gift tax changes that became effective in 2013, this effort required rewriting substantial portions of the text. In 2013, Pieter presented a nationally broadcast seminar for the National Business Institute titled Discovering Assets in Estate Administration. Pieter has also conducted educational seminars regarding the pros and cons of revocable trust planning in Florida and, in keeping with his interests, seminars addressing estate planning considerations for car collectors and the car collecting hobby.
Pieter completed his undergraduate degree at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, graduating cum laude in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in Government. He attended law school at the University of Richmond T.C. Williams School of Law, graduating in 1996 in the top quarter of his class.
Demographics & Interests
Pieter Van Dien grew up in the Washington DC area and moved to Naples with his wife, Lisa Van Dien (formerly Lisa Barnett), in 1996 after both met at the University of Richmond School of Law. Pieter and Lisa currently live in Naples with their daughter and two dogs. Together they enjoy Florida's fine weather with long evening walks, frequent trips to the beach, and bike rides around town. Pieter continues to pursue a lifelong interest in all things with wheels including bicycles, scooters, motorcycles, and cars. He is a former regional head of the BMW Car Club of America for the Naples area and former President of the CAM Followers Association supporting the Collier automotive collection and The Revs Institute.