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Phil is a seasoned attorney with a strong business law background. He began his legal career as an associate attorney at Hill, Ward & Henderson, P.A. in Tampa. He practiced in the areas of bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, construction law, and complex commercial litigation.

Phil then served as a federal judicial law clerk at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida for over five years, during which time he clerked for the Honorable Catherine P. McEwen and the Honorable Caryl E. Delano. As a law clerk, Phil gained invaluable insight into the judicial decision making process.

Phil then decided to focus his practice on taxation and estate planning matters. He graduated first in his class from the prestigious University of Florida Graduate Tax Program, the nation’s # 1 public university advanced tax law program. After earning his LL.M. in Taxation, Phil joined the Johnson Pope family. Mr. Nodhturft’s primary areas of practice are estate planning, including gift, estate, and generation skipping tax planning for high net-worth clients, and estate and trust administration. As an estate planning attorney, he advises individuals, families, and business owners on strategies to achieve the conservation and transfer of wealth in the most tax-efficient manner. His practice includes advising on charitable giving options and strategies, business succession planning, family wealth planning, and asset protection strategies. As an estates and trusts administration attorney, Mr. Nodhturft also represents fiduciaries and surviving family members and beneficiaries in the probate estate and trust administration process. Phil has also served in the past as an adjunct professor of estate planning at USF.

Distinctions & Memberships 

  • Admitted to The Florida Bar, 2008
  • St. Petersburg Bar Association
  • Suncoast Estate Planning Council
  • Member of Tax Law section of The Florida Bar
  • University of Florida Law Review, Notes & Comments Editor
  • Order of the Coif, an honor for those graduating in the top 10% of their class
  • Recognized as the top student and book award recipient in the following courses:
    • Taxation of Gratuitous Transfers
    • Civil Tax Procedure
    • Estate Planning
  • Jesuit Alumni Council
  • Humane Society of Tampa Bay, Planned Giving Advisory Council
  • Humane Society of Tampa Bay, Board of Directors
  • The Best Lawyers in America© “Ones to Watch” 2021, 2022


  • University of Florida, LL.M. in Taxation, 2017
  • University of Florida, J.D. magna cum laude, 2008
  • Dartmouth College, A.B. cum laude, 2005

When He’s Not Working Hard for Clients

Having met in Gainesville during their first year of law school, Phil and his wife Melissa are avid Gator fans—in all kinds of weather. Although unconfirmed, Phil may be the only person who can claim to have experienced a national championship while a student at UF in the three major sports: football, basketball, and baseball. As a Tampa native, Phil is also a passionate follower of Tampa Bay’s professional sports teams and a proud supporter of Tampa Bay’s booming craft beer industry.


A firm member since 1977, Bruce has extensive experience in planning for the sale and purchases of businesses. He also developed a special expertise in complex estate planning, purchases and sales of businesses and tax controversy matters. His clientele includes successful businesspersons, professionals, closely–held businesses, charitable organizations and individuals with special tax planning or estate planning needs. Bruce is a former chairman of The Florida Bar Tax Section and a former chairman of the Pinellas County Estate Planning Council.

The Secret of His Success

Enjoy what you do. Enjoy your clients. And try to learn something new and better every day.

Distinctions & Memberships 

  • Admitted to The Florida Bar – 1972
  • Member of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
  • Member of the American College of American Tax Counsel
  • Member of the American Law Institute
  • Member of the American Bar Foundation
  • Former chairman of the Board of Trustees of Morton Plant Mease Hospitals
  • Former chairman of the Morton Plant Hospital Foundation
  • Former chairman of the Pinellas County Trustees of the Tampa-Orlando Pinellas Jewish Foundation
  • Former chairman of the University of Florida Levin College of Law Board of Trustees
  • Clearwater Bar Association Member
  • American Bar Association Member
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (35 years), listed under Taxation and Trusts and Estates
  • Voted “Mr. Clearwater”
  • Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite Hall of Fame


  • University of Florida B.S. B.A., with honors – 1969, J.D., with honors – 1972
  • New York University LL.M., in Taxation – 1973

When He’s Not Working Hard For Clients 

Bruce spends his time golfing, fishing, and hanging out with friends and family.


Brandon D. Bellew, a partner at Johnson Pope Bokor Ruppel & Burns, LLP, provides outstanding representation in the areas of trust, estate and guardianship litigation and has done so during his entire career. He represents clients throughout Florida in all types and phases of contested issues relating to trusts, estates and guardianships.

He frequently writes articles and lectures on trust, estate and guardianship litigation topics. He is very active in the Florida Bar’s Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section where he serves on its Executive Council, is active on the Trust Law, Probate Law and Procedure and Probate & Trust litigation committees and currently serves as a Vice Chair of the Guardianship, Power of Attorney and Advanced Directives Committee. Brandon is also currently serving as the President of the Clearwater Bar Association, 2018-2019.

Brandon has been recognized for his professional accomplishments by being named Best Lawyers® 2019 Litigation Clearwater – Trusts and Estates – “Lawyer of the Year”, listed in The Best Lawyers® in America for Litigation- Trusts and Estates (2018, 2019), recognized as a Rising Star in the practice area of Estate and Trust Litigation by Super Lawyers (2010, 2015-2018) and by earning an Avvo “Superb” 10.0 rating.

Brandon’s cases are often highly emotional and sensitive because they involve family disputes relating to the recent death or incapacity of a loved one. He approaches his cases with a problem solver mindset. While he is an experienced trial attorney and aggressively pursues his clients’ desired outcomes, he believes that most cases should be resolved outside of the courtroom because often, that is the most efficient and cost-effective way to give his clients the best results possible.

When Brandon is not practicing law, he spends his time with his family and coaching youth basketball and flag football. 


  • The Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of the Year” 2019 for Clearwater – Trusts and Estates
  • The Best Lawyers in America® for Litigation- Trusts and Estates, Since 2018
  • Super Lawyers Rising Star (2015-2018) Estate and Trust Litigation
  • Graduate of the Florida Fellows Institute of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (2017)
  • Avvo “Superb” 10.0 rating.
  • Leadership Pinellas Class of 2013


  • The Florida Bar’s Probate Rules Committee, 2018- present
  • President of the Clearwater Bar Association, 2018- 2019
  • President Elect of the Clearwater Bar Association, 2017- 2018
  • Clearwater Bar Association Board of Directors, 2013-2016
  • Chair of the Clearwater Bar Probate and Guardianship Section, 2014-2016
  • Vice Chair, Guardianship, Power of Attorney and Advanced Directives Committee of the Florida Bar’s Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, 2017- present
  • Former Chair of Sixth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee 6E
  • Admitted to The Florida Bar in 2006
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida (2006)
  • The Florida Bar (Real Property, Probate and Trust Section)
  • Executive Council of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the Florida Bar
  • Clearwater and St. Petersburg Bar Association (Probate and Real Property)
  • American Bar Association


  • Head Coach of back to back East Lake Flag Football 5th and 6th Grade Division Spring League champions
  • Head Coach for Safety Harbor Recreation Basketball League, 11 to 13-year-old division, 2018 Summer League champions
  • Former youth basketball coach, Sun Coast YMCA
  • Member of the Board of the Dunedin Fine Arts Center Planned Giving Committee


  • University of South Florida B.A. 2003
  • Stetson University J.D., 2006; M.B.A., 2006



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