Melissa F. Busley, Partner

Melissa Busley is an estate planning and tax attorney who enjoys working with individuals, couples and families on their estate plans. Her estate planning practice includes preparation of wills and trusts, advising clients on estate and gift tax matters, trust administration, and charitable gifting. Melissa is experienced in dealing with complex planning and administration issues, including coordinating retirement benefits, seeking court modification and reformation of trusts or trustee instructions on ambiguous trust administration issues.  She understands complex legal matters and how to guide her clients through them.  Melissa places an emphasis on her clients understanding and being comfortable with their planning.  By addressing her client’s planning concerns, Melissa strives to make it easier for their loved ones by ensuring there is a good plan in place.

Melissa also advises tax-exempt organizations on operational matters and tax compliance. She assists new organizations in forming and receiving recognition of tax-exempt status.

Melissa frequently speaks on issues related to estate planning as well as tax-exempt organization matters.

Melissa is also very involved with the Portland Chapter of the American Cancer Society.  A cancer survivor herself, she appreciates the work of the American Cancer Society and has volunteered with the organization since 2007 to work on their local annual fundraising gala the Portland Hope Ball, serving as the Chair of the event in 2012 and 2013. All proceeds from the Portland Hope Ball support the Society’s mission of funding cancer research, education, and support programs.

Melissa is a member of the Wills and Estates team and the Tax team at Dunn Carney.  Prior to joining Dunn Carney in 2007, Melissa practiced in Eugene, Oregon for three years.

In addition to her legal credentials, Melissa is also M.O.M. (mother of multiples).  Melissa loves nothing more than spending time with her twin daughters, Charlotte and Elsie, her husband Sam, and her dog Eva, or enjoying a little quiet time with a good book (especially one by her favorite author, Jane Austen).

Bar Admissions

  • Oregon, 2004
  • Washington, 2009


  • University of Washington School of Law, Graduate Program in Taxation, LL.M., 2004
  • University of Oregon School of Law, J.D., 2003
  • Washington State University, B.A., Political Science, magna cum laude, 2000

Honors and Awards

Washington State University

  • Outstanding Graduating Senior in College of Liberal Arts, 2000
  • Outstanding Sophomore in Political Science Award, 1999
  • Pre-Law Society (1997-1998, Secretary 1998-1999, President 1999-2000)
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society, Golden Key Honor Society, Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society, The Judges Thomas and Marshall Neil Memorial Scholarship recipient, and President’s Honor Roll

University of Oregon

  • Associate Editor of the Oregon Review of International Law (2002-2003)
  • Orlando John Hollis Academic Scholarship

University of Washington

  • CALI Excellence for the Future Award for Taxation of Trusts and Estates
  • CALI Excellence for the Future Award for Taxation of S Corporations

Publications and Presentations

  • Learning the Ropes, Oregon State Bar CLE presentation on nonprofit corporations, November 2014
  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts, Dunn Carney Estate Planning and Administration Seminar Series, May 2012
  • Health Law in Oregon, Chapter 10, Tax Exempt Organizations, Oregon State Bar Legal Publication, 2012
  • Ethical Considerations For Exempt Organizations Practitioners at the Tax Exempt Organizations From Start to Finish Seminar, Oct. 2011
  • Dunn Carney Enews, “Are you spending too much time at your vacation home?  The IRS may think so.”
  • Dunn Carney Enews, “A Charitable Reminder: New Reporting Rule and Other Reminders
  • Numerous speeches for Federal Executive Board and Ann Fagelson Government Seminars titled “Considerations in Estate Planning”, 2009-present
  • Mass Mutual Pearls of Wisdom panelist (speaking on estate planning topics), 2009
  • Oregon Statutory Time Limitations, 4th Edition (July 2010), Contributor

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Cancer Society,  Portland Board of Directors, 2014-present
  • American Cancer Society Portland Hope Ball
    –     Board of Directors 2013-present
    –     Event Chair 2011-2013
    –     Venue Committee Chair 2009-2011
    –     Planning committee member 2008
  • Oregon State Bar
  • Multnomah Bar Association
  • Oregon Women Lawyers
  • Professional Women’s Forum, Eugene Chapter, 2005-07
  • Eugene Estate Planning Council, 2005-2007
  • Eugene Springfield Tax Association, member 2005-2006, board member 2007