Tax and Wealth Transfer

Gould & Ratner’s Tax and Wealth Transfer Practice is preeminent in Chicago in representing entrepreneurs and multi-generational family businesses. We excel in devising and implementing strategies to address all facets of the business and business owner’s tax, financial and succession planning goals.

Our lawyers are uniquely cross-trained by design and necessity. While our lawyers each maintain areas of technical skills, our role as business advisor requires us to understand and integrate a broad range of tax (income, gift and estate, state and local), business, financial and family issues.

Simply stated, our history of more than 75 years of counseling a wide array of Chicago’s successful family and closely-held businesses provides us with a wealth of insight into the development and implementation of family business succession, as well as tax and financial planning strategies not available elsewhere.

Our Clients, Our Foundation

Gould & Ratner has acted as general counsel for Chicago’s Crown family and as the family office for a number of other prominent Chicago area families for more than 75 years. Our firm is a trusted legal and business advisor to more than 900 wealthy families and their businesses, and we have been fortunate to play a part in the generational transition of a significant number of successful family businesses.

Our Holistic Business Approach

 Our lawyers provide a holistic business advisory approach, acting as counselors, advisors and general counsel to growth-oriented and dynamic businesses. What makes us unique as a firm is the way our lawyers have been trained: Our lawyers have the skill and experience to address issues from a 360-degree perspective. Our clients can consult with any member of their team for an answer to a complex question or problem.

Many sophisticated planning approaches are used to achieve our clients’ goals, including:

  • Business reorganizations
  • Split interest ownership of business and investment assets
  • Family trusts
  • Shareholder or other owner governance agreements
  • Financing of business and investment opportunities
  • Gifts of business interests
  • Generation skipping planning
  • Compensation agreements
  • Philanthropic planning
  • Tax controversy

Valued Members of a Client’s Business and Financial Team

We serve as an extension of our client’s internal business team. While we remain independent, we work closely with a family’s other trusted advisors. However, if our client requires additional resources, we can refer the client to a vast network of highly qualified professionals. Our team of lawyers and professionals bring significant credentials to the table: All of our partners have worked with wealthy individuals and families, and their advisors, for more than 20 years. Several members of our team members also possess additional qualifications, including CPA, CFP® and LL.M. in Taxation.

Representative Matters

  • Advise family and other entrepreneurial businesses on tax efficient ownership structures.
  • Advise multi-generation families and their businesses in developing and implementing strategies to assure transition and continuity of family business activities, long-term wealth transfer and charitable goals.
  • Designed, structured and implemented corporate acquisition transactions, including tax-deferred roll-over of management equity.
  • Assisted with tax structure and related planning for acquisition of major retail and related operations out of bankruptcy.
  • Developed strategies and business organizational structure and related planning for acquisition of major retail and related operations out of bankruptcy.
  • Counsel on transaction design and capital structuring for myriad corporate acquisitions of domestic and foreign operations.
  • Represented subchapter C corporate entity with over $150 million of investment assets to unlock appreciation potential from unfavorable double-taxed corporate structure.
  • Advisor to closely held corporate businesses in design and implementation of various deferred compensation and pseudo-equity plans for key management personnel.
  • Designed and implemented successful strategies for home builders and developers to separate business properties and investment properties to preserve favorable capital gains rate potential, as well as tax-deferred roll-over of recognized gains on disposition of investment properties.
  • Represented multistate retail business in the tax-free spinoff of various real property interests to shareholders.
  • Represented multistate manufacturing business in tax-free spinout of real estate assets.

Tax and Wealth Transfer Team