About Us

Your needs drive our services. Our expertise produces unmatched results.

Erin L. Connor

Attorney – Managing Partner

  • Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning
  • Probate and Trust Administration
  • Guardianships and Conservatorships
  • Will Contests and Fiduciary Liability
  • Dispute Resolution
  • High Net Worth Planning and Estate Taxes
  • Business and Real Estate

Three words that describe me: genuine, pragmatic, and hard working

I was born and grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 1993, I earned my bachelor’s degree in Business Management, magna cum laude, from Colorado State University. In 2000, I earned my Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. I am a member of the Larimer County Bar Association and the Colorado Bar Association, Trust, and Estate Section. Now, I am very proud to be the managing partner of this firm. I can’t wait to meet you and introduce you to my great team.

My clients include single adults, business owners, families with young children, retirees, elders, disabled dependents, blended families, and LGBTQ+. My clients may want to preserve a small nest egg for their children or may have substantial wealth that needs to be insulated from taxation and reserved for future generations. Regardless of net worth, or your family situation, I develop straightforward, robust estate plans that are driven by your goals, and are provided for a reasonable fee.

Under my guidance, my staff efficiently and cost effectively help fiduciaries, such as personal representatives, executors, and trustees, carry out their loved ones’ wishes as expressed in their will or by other means. This is known as estate administration or probate. I will help you determine if probate is necessary and, if so, I will provide legal counsel for only those parts that require legal counsel (unbundled services) or throughout the entire process. This can include winding up family businesses, the sale of real estate and transfer of brokerage and other retirement assets.

Sometimes an estate plan is subject to scrutiny – children are disinherited, untrustworthy people take advantage of the elderly, executors become greedy. Regrettably, family feuds are unavoidable at times. I have successfully settled several will contest cases, and protected millions of dollars for the intended beneficiaries. I will help you analyze your issue and whenever possible, strive for speedy and practical resolution.

Before developing my estate planning and probate practice, I practiced law as business lawyer at Holland & Hart LLP; working on complex matters for both public and privately held businesses. I bring that “big firm” experience with me to help you with business formation, contracts, succession planning and complex business matters as they relate to your estate planning and administration.

I am my married, and my husband graduated with a degree from CSU in physics, and worked as an engineer. He has developed extensive curriculum to engage children in the fun and fascination of mechanics and physics. He has now turned his attention to sailing. We have two sons who are graduates of FCHS. You may meet my family helping me at the firm or you may see us cruising town in a vintage VW or convertible beetle. We have a thing for cool VWs.

Stephanie Cotton-Maceta

Attorney

  • Estate and Probate Litigation
  • Will Contents
  • Creditor and Family Claims in Probate
  • Contested and uncontested Guardianships and Conservatorship
  • Omitted Heir, second spouses, and children’s rights in probate
  • Fiduciary Wrongdoing and Defense
  • Asset collection and preservation
  • Life Insurance Disputes

Three words that describe me: kind, persistent and go-getter

I was born in Nebraska but moved to Montana when I was two years old. I went to Spokane, Washington for both undergrad (Whitworth University) and law school (Gonzaga Law University).

I moved to Colorado in 2008 to study for the bar exam and to begin my career as a Colorado State Public Defender. I was a Colorado Public Defender for ten years practicing in Trinidad, Greeley, and Fort Collins. I handled cases from the first appearance through the end of trial. During my career as a Public Defender, I was the lead attorney on over fifty jury trials, including DUI and homicide cases. Community service has always been important to me and for many years I was the Public Defender liaison for the Drug Court and Community Corrections teams.

In August 2019, I opened up Cotton-Maceta Law and obtained a contract with the State of Colorado to advocate for children as a Guardian ad Litem. I helped children on both the civil side, Dependency and Neglect cases, and the criminal side, Delinquency matters.

In August 2021, I began working for Sutherland & Connor, helping with their litigation. In the last two years I have gained the skills and knowledge to be able to help clients with will contests and protective proceedings from start to finish. I love the practice of law, but specifically feel gratified with assisting clients to achieve results that help both them and their family members. Advocating for a client in the courtroom is skill that must be developed over time and experience. I excel at navigating the court system and the rules that govern it. The gravity of the outcome of a protection proceeding has many parallels to my work as a GAL. I have worked in Larimer County for the past seven years and am very familiar with the local bar and bench. I am a member of the Larimer County Bar Association and the Colorado Bar Association, Trust, and Estate Section.

I am married to a native of Brazil who works in International Business, specifically with the selling of meat. We have two children. As a family we love to travel, try different types of foods, and visit all the great parks that Fort Collins has to offer.

Sherry Vanatta

Office Manager

  • Client Communications
  • Probate Administration
  • Billing
  • Scheduling
  • Paralegal

Three words that describe me: dependable, responsive, and helpful

I relocated to this beautiful state twenty-eight years ago from my hometown, Lee’s Summit, MO. Prior to that I attended the University of Missouri, Columbia. After living in Denver for a few years, I met and married my husband and moved to Fort Collins. I try to get back to Missouri to visit my parents as often as possible.

I began my career with Sutherland & Connor in 2016. I enjoy working with our diverse group of clients and helping them to untangle the sometimes-complicated web of estate planning and probate. I have learned so much since beginning here and continue to learn something new every day. I help our team stay on top of tasks and am always striving to make our clients’ experience a positive one.

I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, traveling, shopping and a long line of various household projects. My son attends Colorado University – Boulder. He’s a third generation Buff, following in the footsteps of his grandparents and father. My daughter is a student at Fort Collins High School and very active in theatre. My husband is a criminal defense attorney who has been with the public defender’s office for almost thirty years. He enjoys his time teaching and mentoring the new generation of attorneys that join the system each year.

Kent E. Sutherland

Retired

Kent Sutherland, passed away on January 16, 2024.  A memorial service will be held on Friday, January 26 at 1:00 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Fort Collins, CO. Our appreciation for Kent is beyond measure or words. Our deepest condolences are with his family and everyone honored to know him.

  • Golf
  • Horseback Riding
  • Grandfather
  • Spending time with his wife

Kent E. Sutherland graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and began practicing law with the Denver firm of Davis, Graham & Stubbs in 1982. Kent managed the Fort Collins office of the Norwest Bank Trust Department for several years in the 1990s. Kent practiced law with the Fort Collins firm of Dwyer, Huddleson and Ray before opening his own office in 2003. Since 2008, Kent practiced law with Erin Connor until his retirement at the end of 2022.

Kent has been a member of the Colorado Bar Association for over 40 years, during which time he served one year as the chair of the Colorado Bar’s Trust and Estate section. He has taught law classes at both the University of Denver College of Law and Colorado State University and also presented at numerous seminars for other lawyers in Colorado.

Prior to studying law, he received his master’s in reading education from Colorado State University and graduated with Highest Distinction with a bachelor’s in education from the University of Kansas. Before going to law school, he taught junior high. Kent is a member of the Rotary Club of Fort Collins.

Kent grew up on a family farm in Iowa which he currently manages with his brother. Kent is married and has two adult sons who live in northern Colorado. Kent is enjoying a happy, healthy retirement with his grandchildren.

Learn how our team can assist you.