Estate Planning and Wealth Transfer
Gould & Ratner provides sophisticated estate planning and wealth transfer services for wealthy individuals and their families. Using a multifaceted approach to tax planning, family business succession and intergenerational wealth, we provide counsel on:
- Family trusts
- Gifts of business interests
- Generation-skipping trusts
- Family business succession planning
- Philanthropic planning
- Tax review, compliance and controversy
- Client information management
We have represented Chicago’s Crown family and other preeminent families and multigenerational businesses for more than 75 years. Today, we guide nearly 1,000 families, many with estates comprised largely of privately held businesses and illiquid assets. We help clients address their tax, wealth and succession planning wishes to sustain their current lifestyles and future generations.
Wealth Protection and Asset Preservation
We offer coordinated and practical tax and estate planning strategies, merging personal and business imperatives that preserve wealth, maintain harmony and achieve individual and family goals.
When there is a need to balance competing needs among family members of the same and future generations, we serve as steady and experienced counsel to resolve the most sensitive conflicts and find the optimal path forward.
Regulatory and Tax Compliance Counsel
A strong understanding of complex tax structures is critical to preserving a legacy for future generations. Gould & Ratner’s estate planning attorneys build deep relationships with clients and their affiliated professionals. We also leverage the resources of colleagues in our tax, corporate, real estate and related services to craft estate plans and business arrangements. The resulting trust and estate plans meet our clients’ present and ongoing personal and business needs, while minimizing the tax liabilities and risks inherent in the transfer of wealth.
Intergenerational wealth management is a focus, as we consider all the nuances of complex gift, estate and income tax challenges. Attorneys in our tax planning and compliance group turn to our tax controversy group to minimize the risk of litigation and handle disputes when they arise.
Trust and Estate Litigation
Our attorneys recognize that disputes involving trusts and estates present special challenges. Our estate planning and tax attorneys guide our clients through difficult situations that may include high financial stakes, complex family dynamics and unique procedural legal and tax issues.
When litigation is unavoidable, our litigators are familiar not only with the law and the courts, but with applicable trust and fiduciary law. With assistance from our estate planning, wealth transfer and tax practices, our litigators represent clients in a range of matters involving issues such as:
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Charitable trusts and foundations disputes
- Contesting of wills
- Equitable deviation of trust terms
- Investment decisions and results challenges
- Petitions for instructions involving wills and trusts
- Removal of trustee
- Transfer of trust assets
- Undue influence
- 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.
- Represented high net worth individuals in negotiating premarital agreements to protect family owned business assets and children from prior marriages.
- Represented trustees in resolving disputes with beneficiaries.
- Advisor to family businesses seeking to minimize the onerous C-Corporate taxation without incurring the traditional costs associated with the corporate liquidation process.
- Potential Changes Coming to Grantor Trust Rules , October 6, 2021
- Low Interest Rates May Provide Planning Opportunity , April 17, 2020
- A Guide to Electronic Witnessing and Notarization , April 3, 2020
- New Year Brings New Rules for Retirement Accounts , January 2, 2020
- Illinois Appeals Court Holds Taxation of Trust Established by Illinois Grantor Unconstitutional , GR Client Update , December 2013
- The Uncertain Fate of Estate and Gift Taxes , July 2010
- Business Seller's Due Diligence , GR Review , December 2007
- Eight Gould & Ratner Lawyers Named Illinois Super Lawyers and Rising Stars for 2022, January 28, 2022
- Seven Gould & Ratner Attorneys Elevated to Partner, December 1, 2021
- Gould & Ratner Named to 2022 U.S. News Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” List, Best Lawyers and U.S. News & World Report, November 4, 2021
- Gould & Ratner Named to 2022 U.S. News Best Lawyers and “Ones to Watch” Lists, August 20, 2021
- Amy Blumenthal and Ilana Bley Recognized in Best Lawyers' “Women in the Law” Business Edition for 2021, Best Lawyers, June 4, 2021
- The Natural Segue Between Tax Compliance and Estate Planning: Jennifer Tolsky Promoted to Partner at Gould & Ratner, May 8, 2019
- Jennifer Tolsky Named Partner at Gould & Ratner, April 25, 2019
- Ilana Schwartz Bley Joins Gould & Ratner, November 19, 2017
- The Future of Family Offices: Regulation and the Right Location, Bloomberg.com, December 18, 2016
- Lawyers Leave Home to Seek an Opportunity, Find It in Israel, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, January 5, 2011
- Jennifer Tolsky Spoke at an IICLE Webcast, March 24, 2021
- Gould & Ratner Sponsored the Chicago Estate Planning Council's March 2021 Workshop, March 4, 2021
- Ilana Bley Moderated a CEPC Fundamentals Course, February 17, 2021
- Ilana Schwartz Bley Participated in a CEPC Panel at the John Marshall Law School, April 17, 2019
- Does Your Estate Plan Talk With Your Investment Plan?, March 7, 2019