K. Kelly Nottage

Leaders in Law endorses K. Kelly Nottage as our exclusively recommended Estate & Trust Law expert in the Bahamas. If you wish to get in touch with K. Kelly, please use the contact information provided above.

Kelly is an experienced practitioner having been called to the Bars of England & Wales and the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. He is the founding partner of Spencer West Bahamas and, prior to merging with Spencer West, Kelly formed and was the principal of Sovereign Advisors Bahamas, a boutique legal practice with a focus on private client, financial service, and corporate legal work.

Kelly began his legal career as a pupil and Associate at Bahamian firm Higgs & Johnson where he practiced in its Litigation, Banking and Trust practice groups. He went on to act as Senior Trust Officer, Trust Manager and head of the fiduciary LATAM Desk at Ansbacher (Bahamas) Limited, one of the oldest trust companies in The Bahamas. During his six years as a trust officer and manager, Kelly was responsible for the structuring and administration of trusts, foundations, funds and other fiduciary products. Drawing from his legal training and practical experiences applying the law to real life situations, Kelly is well versed in financial and corporate services law. He regularly advises UHNW individuals and families, Family Offices, Trustees, Broker Dealers, property developers and Digital Asset Enterprises on structuring, licensing, tax, operational substance, emigration, and estate planning matters within The Bahamas.

Kelly currently serves as a Director of the Central Bank of the Bahamas and Deputy Chairman of the Board’s Enterprise Risk Sub-Committee. He is a Trustee and School Board Director of Lakefield College School, Canada serving on the school board’s Governance sub-committee. He also serves as the President and Managing Director of Sovereign Advisors & Partners Limited, a regulated and licensed financial and corporate service provider headquartered in Nassau, The Bahamas.

Spencer West: 

Located strategically in Nassau, on the island of New Providence – the capital of The Bahamas, our office is at the heart of one of the world’s premier financial centres. Led by K. Kelly Nottage, the founding Partner of Spencer West Bahamas, our team brings a wealth of experience and insight into private client and corporate law.

Our office provides intimate knowledge of the local legal landscape, enabling us to provide tailored solutions that take into consideration the nuances of Bahamian law while leveraging our global resources for comprehensive advice.

Spencer West is uniquely positioned as the only international law firm operating in The Bahamas, Cayman, Bermuda and BVI, with offices in London and Europe. Increasingly our global network is providing clients with unparalleled access to outstanding legal services worldwide.

Whether you are a Family Office seeking strategic advice or a Digital Asset Enterprise navigating complex regulatory landscapes, Spencer West Bahamas is your trusted partner with deep-seated local law and international law expertise.


Pedro Mota-Velasco

He actively advises the main subjects involved in estate planning structure analysis and implementation: (i) private clients, (ii) financial institutions and (iii) foreign legal advisors.
Our estate planning practice has developed substantial expertise in the representation of ultra high net worth individuals. We are involved in the material transactions performed within our client’s domestic and foreign structures. Therefore, we have gained valuable experience in implementing transactions related with trusts and other vehicles, including asset contributions, distributions, liquidations and reorganisations of structures.

It is common that families represented by us include beneficiaries with tax links to different jurisdictions (e.g., US citizens residing in Europe) which entails legal challenges since the solutions should be tax efficient in all jurisdictions. Economic and legal interaction consequences of Mexican nationals structuring vehicles abroad and foreigners devising investment alternatives in Mexico, requires a high level of interaction among Mexican and foreign tax regimes.

The Estate & Trust Law Practice:

Economic and legal interaction consequences of Mexican nationals structuring vehicles abroad and foreigners devising investment alternatives in Mexico, requires a high level of interaction among Mexican and foreign tax regimes.

  • We actively advise the main subjects involved in estate planning structure analysis and implementation: (i) private clients, (ii) financial institutions and (iii) foreign legal advisors.
  • Our involvement occurs both in the creation and/or modification of investment structures, making essential the design of the various type of assets involved and specific needs of every person or family.
  • Solutions achieved allow all parties involved to reach the highest level of legal certainty for the structure.

Turanzas, Bravo & Ambrosi:

Turanzas, Bravo & Ambrosi is an independent law boutique integrated by tax attorneys with experience in rendering tax counselling, tax litigation and tax planning services, including foreign trade.
The firm emerges a categorical response to the evident need for modernization and specialization required by Mexico´s dynamic and increasingly sophisticated tax regime.

The experience, ethical and professional recognition achieved by its members through their participation in the tax environment, clearly show the steady conviction of being an institution transcending as the best option in Mexico for handling its clients’ taxation challenges.

Our main objective is to generate trust by offering a service that exceeds expectations and provides high quality legal solutions on a timely basis and always following a fair cost-benefit balance. This trust fosters long term professional relationships, distinguished by our best asset: Our Team.

The consolidation accomplished by the firm has led to be considered as one of the teams with most projection and perspectives within the Mexican tax environment.

Timothy G. Richard

Tim Richard has been a shareholder at Serkland Law Firm since 2006. Before joining the firm in 1999, he served as a law clerk to U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen K. Klein in Fargo from 1997–1999.

Areas of Practice:

  • Estate Planning and Probate
  • Real Estate
  • Business and Commercial Law

Professional Associations and Memberships:

  • Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
  • Certified as an Accredited Estate Planner designee by the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils
  • Red River Valley Estate Planning Council
  • State Bar Association of North Dakota
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Cass County Bar Association
  • Pheasants Forever

The Estate & Trust Law Practice:

At Serkland Law Firm, our estate planning and probate attorneys regularly represent professionals, executives, business owners, and families in protecting and passing on wealth from generation to generation.

Our attorneys understand that your most important goal is to secure a financially sound future for you and your loved ones. From trusts to guardianships to wills, our lawyers will work with you to create specifically tailored estate planning documents. They will also help you create appropriate healthcare and financial directives, including medical powers of attorney, living wills, and durable powers of attorney and appointment. Our goal is to ensure your personal matters and financial affairs are properly structured and handled.

The Serkland Law Firm:

The Serkland Law Firm was founded in 1888. The firm’s first office was located in Sheldon, North Dakota. The office was moved to Fargo in 1903 by partners, Edmund Pierce and B.G. Tenneson.

Our team is licensed to practice in North Dakota and Minnesota.

We may not be biggest law firm in the area – and we like it that way. We remain small by design in order to allow our attorneys to truly get to know our clients and understand how to best meet their needs. With our broad range of experience, we provide superior, personalized legal services to our clients in a manner that is both efficient and cost-effective.

Whatever reason brings you to our office, you can be assured that our attorneys are experienced and talented. We encourage our clients to stay in close contact with us, which is why we are available evenings and weekends by appointment to answer questions or address any concerns you may have regarding your case. If you are unable to come to our office, our attorneys can be available to make home and hospital visits.

Thomas N. Torzewski

Thomas N. Torzewski, Esq. earned an LL.M in Taxation from New York University of Law and is a graduate of Seton Hall University School of Law, and Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Tom concentrates on transactional tax and business planning, comprehensive and sophisticated estate and succession planning, estate and trust administration and litigation, and all phases of tax law. He has extensive experience in the planning and structuring of new and ongoing enterprises, including the formation, purchase and sale of business interests and the orderly reorganization and transfer of said interests to successor generations.

Tom has represented a diverse client base in developing comprehensive estate plans, including owners of closely-held businesses, corporate executives, retired individuals and others in need of particularized counseling as a result of being faced with technical issues and specialized situations. Tom also directs estate and trust administration, such as proceeding through all aspects of probate, marshalling of estate assets, obtaining asset valuations, preparation of inventories and accountings, preparation of Federal and New Jersey Estate Tax Returns, New Jersey Inheritance Tax Returns, Federal and State Fiduciary Income Tax Returns and directing related audit proceedings, Tom has represented individuals, beneficiaries and fiduciaries in probate and trust related litigation, including will contests, under influence cases, disputes over trust administration, contested guardianship proceedings and complex litigation concerning valuation and distribution of assets of closely held businesses.

Torzewski & McInerney, LLC:

You can trust the future of your family, estate and business to the law office of Thomas N. Torzewski, LLC. We provide experienced representation in estate planning, probate and corporate formation from an attorney with 30 years of legal experience. In addition, the firm provides family law and divorce representation from a skilled trial lawyer who also has significant experience handling family law appeals.

Litigation is a crucial element of our practice. Many estate planning and administration attorneys do not litigate, which means they cannot resolve serious disputes without partnering with litigation counsel. However, we have the experience and skill to represent clients in complex probate and trust litigation.

As a certified public accountant (CPA) who has a legal master’s degree (LL.M.) in taxation from New York University School of Law, Mr. Torzewski has the financial and tax knowledge to take cases involving high net worth estates and sophisticated assets. Whether you need an attorney to help you plan for the future or to litigate a dispute, he has the accounting, tax and legal experience to assist you.

This experience is also valuable for our business clients. We can work with your accountants for day-to-day planning issues and to help with transactional work such as buying or selling a business. We also help business owners and partners with strategic business succession plans.

Joseph B. Walker

Joe is an AV-Rated attorney in our Tax and Business Services Groups. With extensive background in estate and trust planning and tax, he was named (1 of 3 Tennessee Lawyers) in J.K. Lasser’s book, Estate Planning for Baby Boomers and Retirees.

Wealth Transfer, Trust and Estate Planning Experience:

  • Representation of taxpayers of high net worth in consideration, creation and implementation of sophisticated Death
    Tax and Gift Tax saving mechanisms, including charitable planning.
  • Representation of individuals to address complicated family and personal matters, including special needs children, special beneficiary relationships, artificial reproduction babies and business exit planning.
  • Representation of individuals with unique assets as to valuations and transfer, from song writers and visual artists, to small business owners and owners of assets in foreign countries.
  • Representation of those in need of asset protection during life with special Tennessee Trusts.

The Estate & Trust Law Practice:

Our attorneys work closely with clients to understand the unique details of each individual’s situation and assist in accomplishing their planning goals and objectives including advising clients on strategies to help protect and preserve their family’s wealth.

Our attorneys also work with fiduciaries to guide them through the probate or administration process and routinely handle all aspects of trust administration. In addition to advising on the probate and administration process, our attorneys also have experience representing fiduciaries in litigated matters.

Butler Snow:

With over 300 attorneys in offices in Atlanta and Macon Georgia; Jackson, Gulfport and Oxford, Mississippi; Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee; New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama; Bethlehem and Ft. Washington, Pennsylvania; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Denver, Colorado; New York, New York; Singapore, Hong Kong, and London, England. Butler Snow is a team of talented legal professionals who share a commitment to serve clients – from Fortune 1000 firms to emerging-technology start-ups. Surveys by respected national consultants consistently rank Butler Snow among the best nationwide in client service – in anticipating needs, in a commitment to help, in providing value, in client satisfaction. With that standard to guide us, Butler Snow has grown from a regional firm to one with national scope.

Butler Snow’s practice areas include the full range of business law and litigation services. Our team approach means we call on resources from across the firm to match legal experience with your needs. As a result, clients benefit from our strategic counsel, efficient execution and innovative solutions to complex challenges.

Our attorneys come from diverse legal, business and governmental backgrounds, bringing real-world experience and practical knowledge to each client they represent. We have represented clients in all 50 states and in the District of Columbia, as well as internationally in more than 20 countries.

Jordon J. Kimura

Jordon Kimura is a partner in the firm’s Litigation and Trusts, Estate Planning, and Wealth Management practice groups. His practice focuses primarily on civil, commercial, construction, and probate (wills and trusts) litigation, health care law, medical malpractice defense, and estate planning.

Mr. Kimura’s key litigation accomplishments include obtaining a dismissal of a construction lawsuit for a large bridge defect case on the basis of the economic loss rule and dismissal of claims against a health care plan provider for purported wrongdoing with respect to health care coverage. As a member of the Firm’s Trusts, Estate Planning, and Wealth Management Practice Group, Mr. Kimura brings his litigation experience and expertise to effectively counsel clients on asset protection planning while also planning for the surviving spouse and helping to ensure a continuing legacy.

Born and raised in Honolulu, Mr. Kimura graduated summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee with a degree in mathematics, achieving the highest honors designation in his major. He then returned home to attend the University of Hawai’i, William S. Richardson School of Law (“Richardson”), where he received numerous scholastic awards, including the Phi Delta Phi Balfour National Scholarship for scholastic merit and awards for obtaining the highest grades in Advanced Torts & Insurance Law, Negotiation/Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Second Year Seminar. Mr. Kimura served as a Comments Editor for Richardson’s law review and a Senior Writing Associate & Teaching Assistant for the Richardson Writing Center Board. In 2009, he graduated summa cum laude from Richardson.

Mr. Kimura has served on the firm’s marketing committee and is currently chair of the hiring committee. As part of his commitment to giving back to the community, Mr. Kimura provides pro bono assistance to the Sex Abuse Treatment Center at Kapiolani Medical Center and is an officer and director of the non-profit Hawaii Coalition Against Sex Assault.

The Estate & Trust Law Practice:

The estate planning and probate group concentrates on the areas of estate planning, probate, elder law, and estate/trust administration. Services encompass estate tax planning and preparation of estate planning instruments, including trusts, wills and estate planning entities such as family limited partnerships. The Group is involved in domiciliary and ancillary probate matters, and counsels clients in Medicaid and other planning areas affecting senior citizens.

McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon:

Trusting the right law firm to represent you or your business is essential. That firm should understand you or your company, offer creative solutions to your commercial and legal challenges, and always maintain a keen eye on the big picture.

At McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon LLP (M4), we understand that the most valuable legal advice comes after walking in our client’s shoes. Our clients demand real world advice, not law school answers. We meet their demands by providing the same sort of advice we would want: solution-oriented, practical, and timely.

John T. Midgett

John T. Midgett is a Shareholder in the Law Firm of Midgett Preti Olansen. His practice is concentrated in the related areas of estate planning, administration and taxation, estate and trust litigation, and family business planning.

Mr. Midgett is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where he attained a Bachelor of Arts degree, with Distinction. He is a graduate of the T. C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond, where he was a member of the Law Review.

Mr. Midgett is a dynamic speaker on topics relating to estate planning, taxation, probate, elder law, and family businesses. He has written and lectured to attorneys, accountants, and trust officers in the related areas of estate planning, taxation and administration for the continuing education required in the various professions.

In addition to his practice and speaking schedule, Mr. Midgett is actively involved in the Hampton Roads Estate Planning Council and the Duke University Estate Planning Council, and served as Chair of the Trusts & Estates Section of the Virginia State Bar in 2008-2009. He is currently Chair of the Virginia Bar Association Wills, Trusts & Estates Section and serves on its Legislative Committee. Mr. Midgett is also on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils. He is a Past President of the Hampton Roads Gift Planning Council, the Hampton Roads Estate Planning Council, the Tidewater Chapter of the International Association of Financial Planners (now known as the Financial Planning Association) and the Hampton Roads Chapter of the Society of FSM™ Financial Service Professionals.

In May, 2006 he was elected by the Board of Directors of the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils as an Accredited Estate Planner®. Mr. Midgett has been rated as “AV” in the areas of estate planning and administration, the highest designation available to attorneys in the Martindale-Hubbell® Law Directory. He has been named to Virginia Business Magazine’s Legal Elite, is a “Super Lawyer” and has been included in the 2006-2018 editions of The Best Lawyers in America®, where he is designated as “Lawyer of the Year”® Litigation-Trusts and Estates-Norfolk, Va. in 2013, 2015 and 2017. He is a Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Planning Counsel.

The Estate & Trust Law Practice:

Each of the attorneys at Midgett Preti Olansen is experienced in the administration of probate estates, revocable and irrevocable trusts and taxable estates. For many individuals, acting as a fiduciary, whether it be as an Executor under a Will or a Trustee of a Trust, is an unfamiliar situation. Because of our experience in these matters, executors and administrators seek our counsel to assist them with the process of qualifying as the personal representative for an estate, determining which assets come under their control, obtaining the proper value of those assets, filing inventories and accountings with the Commissioner of Accounts, preparing individual and fiduciary income tax returns, preparing gift and estate tax returns and making timely distributions under the estate (whether by will or by statute). There are myriad issues which tend to arise during the estate and trust administration process, including spousal claims, assets passing outside the will or trust to family members, sale of real estate, reinvestment of assets and related tax matters, advancements to be charged against a beneficiary, and so on.

The popularity of revocable “living” trusts has affected the number of estates administered under the probate system in Virginia, but it also means that these trusts must be administered (albeit privately). Many decedents who established living trusts did not fully fund them (in other words, re-title assets into the name of their trust), requiring those assets to be administered through the very probate system they sought to avoid. Until the assets are passed through probate and legally transferred to the trust, the intended wishes of the decedent cannot be carried out, and the beneficiaries of the trust cannot receive their inheritance.

Given the number and significance of issues which can (and do) arise in the administration of an estate or trust, no matter how small or large, experienced counsel is advisable for all fiduciaries. Our commitment is to provide timely and accurate guidance to our executor, administrator, trustee and conservator clients so that they may meet the various fiduciary obligations to the beneficiaries of the estate or trust which they administer.

Midgett Preti Olansen:

The roots of Midgett Preti Olansen begin with founding of The Trust & Estates Law Firm in 1999 by John Midgett as a solo, boutique estate planning firm specializing in planning for the protection and efficient transfer of family wealth from one generation to another. Building on his commitment to excellence, the firm has been able to carefully grow to include eight exceptional attorneys who not only carry on Mr. Midgett’s original vision of providing preeminent family wealth transfer planning, but are able to offer a more robust, diverse set of legal services to its clients.

Within our primary practice groups, clients will find a multitude of sub-specialty practice areas, including, basic and advanced estate planning, asset protection planning, will contests, trustee risk mitigation, estate and gift tax planning, guardianship and conservatorship, special needs trusts, closely held business law, small business planning, business succession planning, audit resolution, tax collection and tax preparation. The attorneys of the firm have over one hundred years of combined experience in these complex practice areas.

John Palley

John Palley has been an attorney since 1994 and is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate law as determined by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Additionally, his reputation among local attorneys and judges has earned him Martindale-Hubbell’s prestigious “AV” peer review rating, signifying preeminent legal ability and the highest ethical standards.

John has been selected as a “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers of Northern California. John was selected as the “Best Attorney” by the Roseville Press Tribune in 2015. John has received the prestigious “10.0” rating from AVVO.com and is “Lead Counsel Rated” from lawinfo.com which is their highest rating.

John is also a past probate and estate planning “expert” for the Sacramento Bee. John has taught classes for UC Davis Extension and National Business Institute on probate and estate planning. John dedicates his entire law practice to estate planning, trust, and probate law and has been doing that since he became a lawyer in 1994.

The Estate & Trust Law Practice:

We counsel clients in planning their estates in a manner which effectively minimizes their income, gift, estate and generation-skipping tax liabilities. Additionally, our sophisticated trusts and estates practice regularly counsels individuals, families, and business owners on tax issues relating to wealth preservation, asset protection and management. Because our firm regularly advises business entities such as corporations, partnerships, LLCs and joint ventures, we are able to design and implement buy-sell and stock restriction agreements, and advise on other strategies which can be used to fund those buy-outs.

We help individuals and business entities of various sizes arrange their estate planning affairs. Such projects can vary widely, ranging from wealth transfers and multi-generational planning to corporate recapitalizations which may affect or facilitate business founder buy-outs. Our trust and estates attorneys provide a high level of sophistication and expertise; a number of our attorneys are Certified Specialists in Estate Planning and Probate law. Our firm, no matter the size of the estate, remains focused on providing our clients individualized attention.

Our firm advises clients on financial, retirement and personal planning matters, including wills, living trusts, and powers of attorney; estate planning and administration; estate litigation; preparation of revocable and irrevocable trust agreement to hold life insurance, personal residences, and other assets; establishment of conservatorships and guardianships, business continuity planning, charitable giving, preparation of buy-sell agreements for closely-held business entities, and the formation of family limited partnerships, and limited liability companies.

Meissner Joseph & Palley:

Our firm was established in 1979 and focuses in the areas of business, estate planning, real estate, probate and the related tax aspects. We have a team of experienced professionals with a high degree of integrity and work ethic. We pride ourselves on providing responsive service in a cost effective manner. The firm has earned the highest possible rating in Martindale-Hubble.

Many of our clients have been with the firm for most of its 30 years. Our effort to earn the respect of clients has grown the firm over the years to in excess of 10,000 clients.

Jason Bock

A lifelong Kansan, Jason Bock received his Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Finance, magna cum laude, from Fort Hays State University in 2007. Mr. Bock went on to study law at the University of Kansas School of Law, concentrating in the areas of probate, estate planning, taxation and business. His association with Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson & Kitch began during law school as part of the firm’s summer associate program. In 2010, after earning his Juris Doctor with certificates in tax and business law, Mr. Bock began his practice with the firm full-time. He became a member of the firm in 2017.

A central focus of Mr. Bock’s professional practice is serving clients in the area of trusts, estates and probate law. In addition to counseling clients about their rights and responsibilities in these areas, he also represents both fiduciaries and beneficiaries in contested matters, advises individuals and families with respect to planning their estates, and guides clients through the process of establishing guardianships and conservatorships for minors or adult family members with diminished capacity. Mr. Bock has also assisted a number of non-profit organizations in obtaining tax-exempt status and navigate the rules governing charitable solicitation.

Mr. Bock’s experience in the courtroom extends beyond the area of trusts and estates, and includes successfully defending a small business owner at trial against a nearly half-million dollar breach of contract claim, obtaining a money judgment for a general contractor in a construction contract dispute, and helping to mount a successful defense to tort claims made against a municipality and its employee. Guided by the principle that litigation should often be employed as a last resort, particularly with respect to estate-related disputes among family members, Mr. Bock is committed to counseling clients to consider sensible and economical solutions outside the courtroom.

Mr. Bock is a member of the American, Kansas and Wichita Bar Associations, as well as the Kansas Association of Defense Counsel. Mr. Bock has presented to lawyers and other legal professionals on topics such as ethics, estate planning and issues in estate litigation. He has also visited with other community and professional groups about the importance and components of a proper estate plan. Mr. Bock was named an Estate Planning and Probate Rising Star in the 2015 edition of Super Lawyers for Missouri and Kansas.

Mr. Bock enjoys spending time with his family. He and his wife met in high school and have been married for 14 years. They have two wonderful but sometimes ornery daughters.

The Estate & Trust Law Practice:

Our extensive practice in estate planning, fiduciary and probate law involves planning and administering estates and trusts of all sizes — providing guidance to anticipate and meet changing needs.

Our estate planning and probate attorneys are well-versed in methods available to reduce gift, estate, generation-skipping, inheritance, excise and income taxes to preserve family assets and facilitate transfers of assets, including family businesses, to succeeding generations. We also have extensive experience in retirement income taxation and the elections that can be made with respect to retirement plan distributions.

Estate planning, probate and trust administration often requires knowledge in related practice areas, such as business law and litigation. Our Wichita Kansas law office has the resources readily available to create a team of lawyers with the skills necessary to meet our clients’ needs.

Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson & Kitch:

Fleeson Gooing is a full-service law firm in Wichita, the largest city in Kansas. Our firm has received the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory’s “AV” rating, and is listed in Tier One in fifteen different practice areas in the U.S. News and World Report rankings of the best law firms in America. Seventeen of the firm’s members are listed in Best Lawyers® and many more are also listed in Super Lawyers and the Chambers & Partners list of the world’s leading lawyers.

The strength of the firm lies in the skill and expertise of its members, which have achieved a reputation for excellence in virtually every area of the law, including commercial and personal injury litigation, complex class action litigation, white collar civil and criminal defense, commercial and real estate transactions, corporate law and litigation, and estate and tax planning and administration.

The firm has survived and prospered for more than a century because its members share a common vision of what true professionalism requires – commitment to a cause that transcends self-interest. We are proud of the long-term relationships we have established with many of our clients, and look forward to maintaining and strengthening them by always placing our client’s interests first.

James G. Dickinson

James G. Dickinson, a shareholder, focuses on corporate succession planning, general corporate matters and estate planning. He counsels clients on mergers and acquisitions, corporate structuring and asset protection planning. He also helps non-profits with tax planning, tax-exempt status and organizational structuring.

Jim is a certified specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, a designation achieved only by an elite group of attorneys in the State of Ohio.

He is licensed to practice in both Ohio and Florida, and before the U.S. Tax Court as well. Jim is a popular guest speaker and his articles have appeared in numerous professional and legal journals.

Jim has been recognized as an Ohio Super Lawyer every year since 2005. For more than a decade, he has also been selected as one of The Best Lawyers in America®.

He serves on the board of several for-profit and non-profit corporations and is a member of the American, Ohio State, and Geauga County Bar Associations. He is former chairman of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s Estate Planning Institute and its Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law Section.

Jim was a trustee of Russell Township, Ohio from 2002 to 2013. Jim also serves on the Great Lakes Region IRS TE/GE advisory Council. He is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. In 2007, Jim was honored by The Estate Planning Council of Cleveland with its Distinguished Estate Planner Award. The same year, Jim was ennobled as a Knight of the Order of Salvador, an honor for special supporters of The Salvador Dali Museum and later as a Knight Commander of the Order.

Jim received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1973. In 1970 he graduated summa cum laude from Washington & Lee University from the Commerce School. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

The Estate & Trust Law Practice:

For more than half a century, our firm’s estate planning lawyers have developed a special talent for sophisticated estate tax planning and designing highly customized and complex will and trust arrangements.  Our clients value the experience of our Estate Planning attorneys.

While wills and living “A-B” trusts are the basic estate planning building blocks, we also implement plans involving more sophisticated tools, such as:

  • Gifting techniques
  • Qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTS)
  • Grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATS)
  • Sales to intentionally “defective” grantor trusts, private annuities, family partnerships and limited liability companies
  • Charitable trusts
  • Private foundations
  • Irrevocable insurance trusts
  • Generation-skipping or “dynasty” trusts
  • Special Needs Planning
  • Pension and IRA distribution planning

Although we have a wealth of experience and skills employing sophisticated techniques in the proper circumstances, our focus is always the client’s goals and desires. The listed tools can be useful to achieving a client’s objectives, but we never assume that tax reduction is the client’s sole or primary concern.  In fact, non-tax goals — such as leaving property in trust to be managed for the benefit of a client’s loved ones or favorite charities, or to provide an incentive to younger family members to be productive in their own right and not simply rely on an inheritance from parents or grandparents — are often very important considerations for a client’s plan.

We represent individuals and families who own and operate a wide range of businesses. In that connection, we are frequently called upon to advise clients with respect to a variety of tools to aid in business succession planning to transition the ownership and management of a family business from an older generation of owners to a younger generation.

We also represent a number of retirees and have vast experience resolving issues they often face, such as cash flow issues and state residency issues. We have attorneys who are licensed to practice in Florida, which helps with the transition issues and assuring that plans are current in light of the transition.

Finally, we also assist clients in planning for disability, using durable powers of attorney and “advance directives,” which are living wills, health care powers of attorney, donor registry enrollment forms and HIPAA waivers.

Cavitch Familo & Durkin:

The law firm of Cavitch Familo & Durkin traces its roots to 1886 in Cleveland, Ohio. It has long been considered one of the premier law firms, enjoying an impeccable reputation among the legal community for effectiveness and professionalism. Cavitch maintains long standing relationships with its clients, both businesses and individuals, providing generations of business owners and their families full service legal representation. The attorneys and paralegals at Cavitch, along with its experienced administrative staff, treat each and every client with the utmost care and attention designed to facilitate sophisticated representation on a cost effective basis.

Cavitch believes that accurate legal advice and attentive service is an absolute requirement in the representation of its clients; it couples these absolutes with the time and energy needed to develop a thorough knowledge of its clients and their enterprises to serve as trusted legal advisors. The attorneys of Cavitch serve in many charitable and civic organizations, as well as strategic facilitators and members of clients’ business advisory panels and as active members of various professional organizations throughout Ohio.