Private Wealth Planning

Counseling Families

Our Private Wealth lawyers understand that long-term relationships with families are built on trust and require a lawyer’s personal dedication, commitment, and sound judgment. The diversity and geographic distribution of BakerHostetler’s Private Wealth lawyers allows us to connect with families where they reside and do business.

Family Legacy Planning

A family’s legacy is built on tailored planning designed to serve multiple generations. We provide advice on planning with trusts and other entities to achieve tax efficient protection asset and management. Legacy planning often starts with gifting of assets and can involve a wide array of techniques and structures. Our lawyers are experienced in all types of gifting vehicles, which often combine trusts with partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations. We coordinate a client’s lifetime gifting strategies with their estate planning documents to achieve continuity of management and tax savings over several generations.

Tax Experience

Each of our Private Wealth lawyers is a trained tax attorney. We rely on our keen tax understanding in structuring a family’s estate plan to maximize economic benefits for future generations. When it is necessary to deal directly with the Internal Revenue Service or state taxing authorities, our lawyers are experienced in taking the lead role in audits, appeals, and court proceedings. We look for opportunities to work with a client’s accountants and other advisers because we believe the best results are obtained through collaborative efforts.


In many cases, family legacy planning involves the use of family-controlled charities. We understand the critical importance of philanthropy as a family objective and can arrange gifts that are most tax advantageous. We counsel families on how to use charitable entities to further their values and charitable interests.

More »
Counseling Businesses

Many of BakerHostetler’s largest and most successful clients are family-owned businesses. We understand the importance of carefully drawn corporate governing documents, including buy-sell agreements, transfer restrictions, and voting/non-voting stock, but more importantly we are attuned to the personal dynamics inherent in a family-owned business. Our clients value this combination of legal experience and practical, sensitive counsel.

Corporate Governance

One of our strengths is integrating a client’s business ownership with family legacy planning. We work with families and their other advisers to create corporate governance structures and procedures while adhering to family dynamics and objectives. In drafting long-term trusts, we often suggest the use of Family Business Advisers and/or Trust Protectors to vote company stock owned in trust. We understand the importance of providing special protections for a trustee if a trust owns a concentrated position in a family-owned business.

Succession Planning

The decision whether to transfer ownership and/or control of a family business to the next generation is one of the most important, but often most challenging, decisions facing a senior generation business owner. Our team has guided many companies through this process and often utilizes sophisticated techniques to achieve maximum tax benefits. Clients especially appreciate our quantitative analysis, which assists in choosing among the best approach available to transfer value.


Name Title Office Email
Edward J. Beckwith Partner Washington, D.C.
Scott J. Bent Associate Columbus
Leslie W. Bradenham Associate Washington, D.C.
James P. Casey Associate Costa Mesa
William J. Culbertson Counsel Cleveland
Leah E. DeLancey Partner Costa Mesa
Jennifer L. Eschedor Counsel Cleveland
Christopher D. Fidler Partner Columbus
Robert R. Galloway Partner Cleveland
Theodore Z. Gelt Of Counsel Denver
Ellen E. Halfon Counsel Cleveland
Herbert W. Kalmbach Of Counsel Costa Mesa
Robert K. Lease Partner Cleveland
Gordon F. Litt Partner Columbus
Chad W. Makuch Associate Cleveland
George T. Mooradian Partner Costa Mesa
Lisa A. Roberts-Mamone Partner Cleveland
Kevin G. Robertson Partner Cleveland
Barry R. Robinson Partner Columbus
Daniela Ronchetti Associate Denver
Anthony J. Scaletta Partner Orlando
Mark D. Senff Partner Columbus
Michelle M. St. Pierre Partner Denver
David L. Starbuck Partner Denver
Michael R. Stiff Partner Denver
Raymond L. Sutton Jr. Partner Denver
Ashley L. Thompson Associate Denver
Joseph F. Verciglio Partner Cleveland
Samantha M. White Associate Denver


  • “Best Law Firms” 2014: National Tier 1 Ranking in the area of Trusts & Estates Law from U.S. News – Best Lawyers®.
    • Regional Tier 1 rankings were earned in Trusts & Estates Law in Cleveland, Colorado, Columbus and Washington, DC.
  • The Best Lawyers in America© 2014: Twelve partners were selected by their peers for inclusion in various private wealth-related fields.

Key Contacts


In The Blogs

Previous Next
Estate Planning Considerations for Millennials
November 17, 2015
I am a millennial. I grew up in the age of the Internet, computers, and text messaging. I had my first cell phone in late elementary school, where I mastered the game of Snake on a one-inch square screen. My generation then progressed past...
New IRS Procedure for Issuance of Federal Estate Tax Closing Letters
November 11, 2015
Effective for all federal estate tax returns filed on or after June 1, 2015, federal estate tax closing letters will be issued only upon request. The process for making a request: Timing – no earlier than four months after the date of...
BakerHostetler Recognized as “Law Firm of the Year” in Trusts & Estates Law by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® 2016 “Best Law Firms”
November 9, 2015
BakerHostetler was named “Law Firm of the Year” in Trusts & Estates Law in U.S. News – Best Lawyers® 2016 “Best Law Firms” list. In addition, 16 of the firm’s practice areas received national Tier 1 rankings, earning 36 national rankings...
Retirement Planning Strategies under the Scrutiny of the Federal Fisc
August 26, 2015
President Obama’s proposed budget for 2016 shows that some retirement planning strategies have drawn the attention of the Federal government and may be subject to future legislative limitations. The President’s proposed budget suggests...
IRS Plans to Further Restrict Family Business Valuation Discounts
August 21, 2015
IRS regulations anticipated for release as early as this September may further restrict valuation discounts. The exact scope of the regulations is unknown, but the regulations will likely make it more difficult for taxpayers to discount...