Thomas Abendroth combines the precision of a “numbers guy” with the insight and understanding of a trusted confidant. Deep knowledge of the tax law and estate planning techniques is critical for any private client’s attorney. Tom pairs that knowledge with a strong sense of empathy that allows him to quickly discern the sensitive family issues that a client needs to address in his or her estate plan.
Tom counsels clients on the full range of wealth transfer planning, seamlessly melding the tax implications of estate planning with the unique circumstances of the client’s family and non-tax goals. He has worked extensively with owners of family businesses, private equity and hedge funds, and in the professional sports industry.
Tom takes a practical approach to their estate planning. He recognizes that transfer tax savings do not have to come at the undue price of complexity and burdensome administrative costs.
Tom also has extensive trust and estate litigation experience, representing both fiduciaries and beneficiaries. He has worked closely with Schiff Hardin trial lawyers in litigating issues, including the rights of adopted individuals under a trust, the modernization of trust investment powers, alleged fiduciary self-dealing, and the rights of remainder beneficiaries in a disabled settlor’s revocable trust. He also has counseled fiduciaries on trust construction issues accountings, trust decanting and trust severance and merger.
Tom implemented a corporate reorganization for a family business with rapidly increasing value to keep voting control out of the senior family member’s estate, preserve a preferred stock freeze and facilitate transfers of stock to the next generation. The business will now pass out of the senior generation’s hands with minimal estate tax, and the family has been able to transfer more than 30% of the business to the grandchildren generation.
A family preparing to take their company public hired Tom for help organizing their assets prior to the company’s public listing. Tom created a series of grantor retained income trusts and grantor retained annuity trusts. The trusts enabled the family to transfer more than $200 million of value out of their estates.
Tom took advantage of a one-year opportunity to terminate several non-Generation Skipping Tax exempt trusts in favor of lower generation family members, including implementing trust modifications to facilitate distribution and providing opinion letters. The terminations saved more than $25 million in future taxes.
A real estate developer and a private venture capital investor were able to transfer more than $50 million of fund interest out of their estates thanks to Tom, who facilitated the transfer by designing limited liability company/irrevocable grantor trust structures.
Tom has negotiated charitable gifts involving naming opportunities for a hospital, museum and public venue.
Multiple families with ownership interests in family real estate and investment entities have turned to Tom have turned to facilitate transfers of control and simplify the future management of the trusts.
Tom successfully represented a corporate fiduciary in a lawsuit by beneficiaries attempting to terminate a trust early using the rule against perpetuities.
- Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, J.D., 1984
- Ripon College, B.A., 1981
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- American Bar Association, Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law
- The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), Fellow
- Chicago Bar Association
- Chicago Estate Planning Council
- American Bankers Association
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