Jim is a partner in the firm’s Personal & Succession Planning practice. He counsels high-net-worth individuals and families on estate planning, family business succession planning, multi-generational planning, gift tax planning, charitable giving, college savings planning, private family foundations and asset protection planning strategies. He represents fiduciaries in estate and trust administration matters, and charitable organizations in endowment fund and planned giving matters. Jim also has experience representing professional athletes in their estate planning matters.


Estate & Charitable Planning

  • Experience in drafting basic and complex estate planning documents for individuals, couples and families, including wills, revocable trusts, powers of attorney, medical directives, irrevocable life insurance trusts, irrevocable gifting trusts and generation-skipping trusts.
  • Advise clients on the use of grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs) as an estate freeze technique. Have implemented “rolling” or “cascading” GRATs to further leverage this technique.
  • Implement business succession plans for owners of closely held businesses, including recapitalizations of shares or other ownership interests, outright gifts, GRATs and sales to defective grantor trust transactions.
  • Design and implement asset protection planning strategies using multiple limited liability companies and domestic asset protection trusts. Advise clients on asset protection risks and benefits of various types of assets and entities.
  • Counsel clients on college savings vehicles including the tax-advantaged Section 529 college savings plans.
  • Advise on all types of charitable giving arrangements including charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, charitable gift annuities and private foundations.
  • Draft lifetime QTIP Trusts, Qualified Personal Residence Trusts and Spousal Credit Shelter Trusts.
  • Counsel professional athletes on estate planning, including NBA and NFL players, professional tennis players and Super/Moto Cross driver.
  • Prepare prenuptial agreements.
  • Advise clients on U.S. transfer tax strategies where one spouse is not a U.S. citizen and the clients hold assets outside of the United States.
  • Advise U.S. citizen clients on aspects of planning for assets held outside of the United States.
  • Create irrevocable trusts structured and funded to avoid all U.S. transfer taxes to benefit nonresident aliens’ family members living in the United States.
  • Advise a large commercial bank on issues related to the bank exiting the personal trust business to limit or eliminate trailing liability concerns.
  • Advise fiduciaries on estate and trust administration matters.
  • Represent fiduciaries and clients in estate and trust litigation.

Nonprofit Organizations

  • Advise charitable organizations on tax, endowment and planned giving matters.
  • Advise nonprofit organizations on state-specific Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act provisions related to classification of endowment funds, spending restrictions, donor restrictions and release of donor restrictions.
  • Advise a private foundation on excise tax issues related to self-dealing and excess benefit issues.
  • “Effect of Estate, Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Law Changes on Business Succession Planning,” Thompson Hine Business Law Update, Spring 2018
  • “Location, Location, Location: Advising Clients Who Own (or Who Want to Own) Foreign Real Estate,” Probate Law Journal of Ohio, January/February Issue, 2016
  • "One Will or Two? Planning for Foreign Real Estate,” Estate Planning Council special section in Crain’s Cleveland Business, November 2015
  • “International Tax Planning: God Save the Queen (and Your Clients),” Probate Law Journal of Ohio, January/February 2014
  • “Citizenship, Residency Impact Estate Taxes,” Estate Planning Council special section in Crain’s Cleveland Business, October 2013
  • “Drafting and Administering Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts: The Basics and Beyond,” Probate Law Journal of Ohio, November/December 2009
  • “IRS Seeks to Educate Taxpayers on Abuses in Section 529 Plans,” Probate Law Journal of Ohio, July/August 2008
  • “Gifting a Home to a Child,” Ask the Expert column, The Plain Dealer, October 2005
  • “Ohio’s CollegeAdvantage Plan Receives High Marks,” Probate Law Journal of Ohio, November/December 2000
  • “Location, Location, Location: Advising Clients Who Own (or Who Want to Own) Foreign Real Estate,” Annual Cleveland Estate Planning Institute, Cleveland Bar Association, October 23, 2015
  • “Location, Location, Location: Planning and Administering Estates with Foreign Real Estate,” Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s 43rd Annual Charitable Tax Seminar, June 2015
  • “International Estate Planning, It’s a Small World After All,” Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law Section of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, October 2014
  • “International Tax Planning: God Save the Queen (And Your Clients),” Greater Cleveland Council of the Boy Scouts of America Estate Planning Seminar, September 2013
  • “Estate and Gift Tax Update, What Your Clients Should Know, At Least for the Next Two Years,” 2011 Northeast Ohio CPE Day, December 2011
  • “Drafting and Administering Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts,” Marvin R. Pliskin Advanced Probate and Estate Planning Seminar, September 2009
  • “Drafting and Administering Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts,” Nuts & Bolts of Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Law, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, November 2008
  • “529 College Savings Plans,” Ohio CLE Institute, June 2002
  • “Recent Developments in the Law Regarding Post-Mortem Rights of Unsecured Creditors of an Estate in Non-Probate Assets,” Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law Section of the Cleveland Bar Association, March 2001
  • “Planning for Education, Uncle Sam Can Help,” Cleveland Estate Planning Institute, October 1999
  • “Effective Use of Limited Powers of Appointment,” Problems in Probate, Ohio State Bar Association CLE Program, March 1999
  • Ohio State Bar Association Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, 2017 to 2019
Professional and Civic

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association: Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association: Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law Section
  • Ohio State Bar Association: Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Section
  • Estate Planning Council of Cleveland
  • University Hospitals Diamond Advisory Group
  • Estate Planning Advisory Council of Case Western Reserve University

Community Activities

  • Rocky River Education Foundation: honorary trustee (served 6 years as a voting trustee, including 3 years as president)
  • City of Rocky River Income Tax Levy Committee
  • Rocky River City School District Levy Committee (2012), Curriculum Committee (served for 3 years), Strategic Planning Team Core Group, band chaperone and chairman of marching band trailer project
  • Active in various leadership roles at Rockport United Methodist Church