Raymond L. Sutton Jr.

Partner

Denver
T +1.303.764.4103
F +1.303.861.7805

Overview

Ray Sutton leads a multi-disciplinary team that serves as general counsel to high-net-worth families and their private and public businesses, advising on a range of tax, fiduciary, charitable, business and succession planning matters. Ray, a former adjunct and visiting assistant law professor at the University of Denver Graduate Tax Program, is on the leading edge of developments in his field, writing and speaking on tax topics, private trust companies and family office issues across the country.

Ray is the former managing partner of the Denver office and served on the firm's Policy Committee for 18 years. He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America© for more than 20 years, and was named the Best Lawyers® 2011 Denver Trusts and Estates “Lawyer of the Year” and the Best Lawyers® 2014 Denver Litigation – Trusts and Estates “Lawyer of the Year.”

Select Experience

  • Ray applied for and obtained the last two issued Internal Revenue Service (IRS) private letter rulings governing the ownership of a private trust company, which enlarged the role of family members on the operating board.
  • Ray applied for and obtained the last published Securities and Exchange Commission exclusion ruling that a family office and its affiliated private trust company were not required to register as investment advisors under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
  • Ray led a team of firm lawyers who worked with professional advisors to design and implement a business succession plan which transferred interests in more than 150 family-owned companies to dynastic trusts in South Dakota in order to preserve and protect the companies in perpetuity for the benefit of the employees and family descendants.
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Experience

  • Ray applied for and obtained the last two issued Internal Revenue Service (IRS) private letter rulings governing the ownership of a private trust company, which enlarged the role of family members on the operating board.
  • Ray applied for and obtained the last published Securities and Exchange Commission exclusion ruling that a family office and its affiliated private trust company were not required to register as investment advisors under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
  • Ray led a team of firm lawyers who worked with professional advisors to design and implement a business succession plan which transferred interests in more than 150 family-owned companies to dynastic trusts in South Dakota in order to preserve and protect the companies in perpetuity for the benefit of the employees and family descendants.
  • Ray has established private trust companies as a fiduciary for multigenerational high-net-worth families. His advice has included the selection of the most favorable jurisdiction in which to situate the trust company, the modification of existing trusts to enable the trust company to serve as a fiduciary, the preparation of organizational documents and the filing of exclusion applications from registration under state and/or federal investment advisor laws.
  • Through a nearly eight-year negotiation with the IRS, Ray and a team of attorneys to settle an asserted estate tax deficiency of more than $300 million for less than $20 million. The team argued that the estate's block of super-voting stock in a public company should be substantially discounted for blockage, loss of key man and lack of marketability.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Chambers HNW: Private Wealth Law in Colorado (2016, 2017)
    • Band 1
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (1993 to 2018)
    • Denver: Litigation – Trusts and Estates
      • Best Lawyers® 2014 "Lawyer of the Year"
    • Denver: Tax Law
    • Denver: Trusts and Estates
      • Best Lawyers® 2011 "Lawyer of the Year"   
  • 5280 Magazine: Top Colorado Lawyer, Estate Planning (2016)
  • Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent
  • Five Star Wealth Management (2013)
  • Colorado "Super Lawyer" (2006 to 2017)

Memberships

  • American Council of Trust and Estate Counsel: Fellow
  • American Bar Association
  • Colorado Bar Association
  • Denver Bar Association

Community

  • Foundation Board for Metropolitan State University of Denver (1995 to June 2013)
    • Past Chair (five years)
  • Colorado Symphony Orchestra: Former Director
  • Colorado Symphony Foundation: Director

Prior Positions

  • University of Denver College of Law, Graduate Tax Program: Visiting Assistant Professor of Law

Admissions

  • U.S. Tax Court
  • Colorado, 1978
  • Michigan, 1976

Education

  • LL.M., University of Denver, 1979
  • J.D., University of Colorado Law School, 1976
  • B.A., University of Michigan, 1973