A Little About Us

Experienced Representation

When you work with us, you will feel more comfortable about what the future holds.

Markell Estate Planning & Elder Law is a full-service estate planning, probate, and elder law firm serving St. Louis, St. Charles, Lincoln, Greene, and Warren counties in Missouri and the Greater Springfield, Illinois area in Sangamon county.

We believe no one should have to face major life planning decisions alone. Our expertise in
estate planning and elder law issues allows our clients to pass their wealth, legacy, and wisdom
quickly and seamlessly to future generations in the most efficient way possible.

In addition to estate planning, our firm assists elderly clients and their families with Medicaid
divisions of assets, and Medicaid applications for benefits to help pay for or supplement the
expensive cost of long-term care. We work in concert with your existing financial advisor and accountant to make sure that you have a comprehensive plan that address all potential issues that may arise.

Our strong community relationships are invaluable when you need advice on long term care
living placements or in-home care recommendations.

Speak with an accomplished law firm
about your case

Regardless of what brings you to our office, we offer free consultations that will allow us to discuss your unique situation
and analyze all of your options.

Joseph Markell

Joseph M. Markell has been practicing Estate Planning & Elder Law since 2014.


His practice is dedicated to estate planning, Medicaid planning, probate administration, trust
settlement, and trust estate administration. Joe has extensive experience serving high net worth
and elderly clientele.


Joe served four years in combat arms in the United States Army. He went on to found Markell
Estate Planning & Elder Law LC in 2014. He is heavily involved in the community and sits on
the board of directors for several charities.


When Joe is not assisting his clients with their unique legal needs, he enjoys spending time with
his wife and three children where they reside in St. Charles County.

Phil Christofanelli​

After passing the Bar with the 2nd highest score in the state of Missouri, Christofanelli joined Markell Estate Planning and Elder Law as an Associate in 2021.


Phil Christofanelli is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2011 and a Juris Doctorate in 2021. In addition to the practice of law, Christofanelli serves as a Member of the Missouri General Assembly where he represents part of Saint Charles county. 

First elected at age 26 in 2016, Christofanelli was at one time the youngest member of the Missouri State House. He now serves as the Chairman of the Committee on Rules – Legislative Oversight and as a member of the Committees on Education and Litigation Reform. 

He has authorized and enacted numerous pieces of legislation, including HB 349, a landmark education reform bill providing scholarships for low-income and learning disabled K-12 students. 

Curtis Trent

Curtis Trent graduated Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2006 and St. Louis University School of Law with a Juris Doctorate in 2009.  In addition to the practice of law, Trent is a Member of the Missouri General Assembly representing a district in his native Southwest Missouri.


First elected in 2016, Trent currently serves as Chairman of the General Laws Committee and as a member of the Committees on Financial Institutions, Litigation Reform, and Economic Development.  He has worked on legislation including judicial issues, civil service reform, education, and personal privacy protections.  


Curtis is active in his community as a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and in the Church of Christ.

Jennifer Strauss

Jennifer has a Bachelor of Science degree from Webster University with an emphasis in Paralegal Studies. 


Prior to coming to our team, she had 17 years of experience working as a receptionist, legal secretary, and a paralegal in the medical malpractice/litigation defense field. 


Her favorite activity is spending time with her family. She also enjoys candy making, baking, and shopping.

John Tomlinson

A native of Sarasota, Florida, John is sort of a renaissance man or a Jack of all Trades.  His resume ranges from working as a mechanic to speaking on live nationwide television.  For that matter you might have heard him right here in St. Louis on Bott Radio.  You may catch him dumping one of the trash cans, not because he’s paid for it but because he enjoys helping people.  John spent thirteen years in the business world where he functioned as General manager for a large disaster mitigation company.  A trained pastor, he taught at the Bible College of Central Africa, then pursued graduate studies in Jerusalem, Israel. Returning to the United States he completed a Master’s degree.  He has a keen interest in Biblical psychology and has studied it at the graduate and doctoral level. He and his wife Lynne have been married 44 years, have four grown children and seven grandchildren. 

Tara Flores

She is known for her passion for empowering & training people from various walks of life through her hospitality. She is a southern gal from Texas, and she moved to St. Louis in 2019 with her husband to pursue their ministry calling as pastors at First Assembly Church. She is known for her creativity and is keen to solve any problem with precision & efficiency while making anyone feel valued. She is Steve’s proud wife; they’ve been married for 14 years. Tara loves her role as a mother to her two children, whom she adores dearly. Her enjoyable moments in life are spending quality time with her family. Although she is not a beach girl, she enjoys the outdoors, hiking, and traveling, whether on a road trip or flying. She has received her diploma to become a Pastor at Elim Bible Institute and Christ for the Nations. Her hobbies are creative writing/drawing through calligraphy and arts and crafts, and she enjoys cooking. She is known for creating her unique homemade TEXAS style of salsa called “Pepper’s Salsa.” Her life goal is to assist people plan for a better future by planning for it today.



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