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Local lawyer is tops for estates, magazine says

Robert H. "Bob" Haggard, who practices in the Hendersonville office of the Van Winkle law firm, is featured this month as the top tax and estate-planning lawyer in Business North Carolina's annual survey of the profession.

The magazine named the "Legal Elite" winners after it invited 20,000 active members of the state Bar to vote through the magazine's website. The theme of this year's recognitions was the top attorneys' first jobs.
HaggardRobert H. HaggardIn a Q&A, Haggard described his first job as "a prestigious position in the kitchen at Camp Sequoyah near Weaverville, serving campers and washing pots and pans."
He listed sailing, boating, service projects, antique tractors and college football as his passions. His hero? Ronald Reagan.
Born Aug. 12,1949, in Alexandria, Va., he earned a bachelor's degree from Davidson College and law degree from Florida State University. A memorable case involved "the validity of a will executed by a man who had been administered a frontal lobotomy," he told the magazine. "A hint regarding the outcome: The frontal lobes are the site of all volitional behavior."
Haggard's father, a meteorologist, was transferred by the National Weather Service to the Asheville weather records center when Haggard was in the sixth grade. He grew up in Asheville and worked at Van Winkle's home office in Asheville until the firm sent him to Hendersonville to "establish a beachhead."
"I'm reminded of Uncle Remus whenever I think of that: throw me in the briar patch," he said.
He became well known among the 1,300 specialists in trusts and estate planning through State Bar service.
"I served a couple of years ago as the chair of the Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association and since then I've been on the Board of Governors of the Bar Association."
Among his service projects was his role in helping to expand HonorAir from Henderson County to Asheville.
"I was coming in as president of the Asheville Rotary Club when Jeff Miller was winding up the flights in Henderson County and getting frustrated that he could find no one to pick it up in Buncombe County," he said.
Haggard, an U.S. Army veteran who served as a JAG Corps captain, took the baton, persuading Rotary Clubs throughout Western North Carolina to sign on as sponsors.
"We did 14 HonorAir flights," he said.