David leads the delivery of investment, planning, fiduciary, administrative, and family office services to a select group of clients with a special interest in family foundations and family philanthropy.

Previously, David practiced as a tax accountant for six years at regional firms that managed the tax, audit, and general accounting needs of wealthy families and their closely held businesses. He then formed his own tax advisory firm to offer strategic advice and family office services before joining Sentinel Trust.

He is an instructor in Rice University’s financial planning program and teaches income tax strategy to students sitting for the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ exam.

Professional Background:

  • Managing Member, Smith & Zahn CPAs, PLLC, Houston, TX (2013–2014) – Managed a local public accounting firm to serve the tax and accounting needs of high-net-worth individuals and closely held businesses.
  • Tax Accountant, Carolyn Allen CPA, PC, Houston, TX (2010–2013)
  • Staff, Maddox, Thomson, & Associates, PC, Houston, TX (2009–2010)
  • Staff, Weinstein Spira & Company, PC, Houston, TX (2007–2010)

Professional Organizations:

  • Texas State Board of Public Accountancy, Member
  • Houston Estate & Financial Forum, Member
  • Houston Business & Estate Planning Council, Member


University of Houston, BBA, cum laude (2007)



Certified Public Accountant (2009)


Community Involvement:

  • Rice University CFP® Certification Education Program, Instructor
  • Casa de Esperanza Young Professionals, Member
  • Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) Houston, Board Chairman
  • Knights of Columbus, Member

On Watch – September 2018

The latest edition of On Watch is now available for download. This issue features articles about blockchain technology, the role of a foundation trustee, and IRS guidance regarding miscellaneous itemized deductions. Contributors to this issue are Catherine Lee Clarke, CFA, David L. Zahn, CPA, CFP(R), and Leslie Kiefer Amann, JD. To receive email alerts about future issues…

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On Watch – May 2018

The latest edition of On Watch is now available for download. This issue features articles about navigating recent tax reform, the impact of rising interest rates, and wealth planning as a team sport.

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POSTED IN: Estate Planning, Investments, On Watch, Planning

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On Watch – April 2016

In this issue:
“Total Return vs. Income-Oriented Return” by M. Taylor Scott, CFA
“Identity Theft Prevention & Mitigation” by Andrew B. Smith, JD
“Timing Can Be Everything” by David Zahn, CPA, CFP®

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POSTED IN: Administration, Investments, On Watch, Planning


On Watch – September 2015

In this issue:
“Ten Due Diligence Questions for Private Equity Investors” by Dennis Montz, CFA, CAIA
“Choosing Your Retirement State” by Anne-Lise Wiegand, CPA, and David Zahn, CPA, CFP®
“Nurturing Family Togetherness” by Katherine J. Slater, JD

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POSTED IN: Governance, Investments, On Watch, Planning