Barbara Grayson is a partner in the Chicago office of Mayer Brown's Wealth Management practice. She represents high net worth individuals and families as well as the businesses, charitable organizations and trusts that they control. She has extensive experience in estate planning, including structuring solutions for transferring wealth to younger generations and succession planning for difficult family situations. Barbara has a diverse practice and often counsels clients through major life events, such as establishing a family foundation, developing a business succession plan, negotiating premarital agreements, administering the estate of a deceased family member or establishing gift trusts for children or grandchildren. A former education major, she has been told she has a gift for explaining complicated matters in an easily understandable way.
Barbara’s tax planning experience is focused on gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes. She works with clients to design and implement estate plans, including wills, trusts and lifetime gifts. Barbara also structures partnerships, limited liability companies, corporations, shareholder agreements and buy-sell agreements. She counsels clients regarding sophisticated planning for family businesses, including corporate recapitalizations, corporate governance, intrafamily sales and family partnerships. In addition, Barbara has experience in the international aspects of the estate planning practice.
A significant portion of Barbara’s practice focuses on philanthropic matters, including the representation and advising of tax-exempt organizations and the representation of individuals with respect to charitable giving. She has helped clients to establish private foundations, and she also counsels clients as to best practices in administering those foundations in light of the complicated tax rules surrounding their governance. In addition, Barbara represents private foundations established by public corporations and public charities. Barbara has advised on grant and scholarship programs, fiduciary matters, planned giving matters, international grant making, reorganization strategies and governance issues.
Her practice also includes probate and trust administration. Barbara represents fiduciaries (executors and trustees) and individuals in probate and trust administration. When necessary, Barbara also has represented fiduciaries and beneficiaries in contested probate and trust matters.
Barbara is a frequent speaker and author on estate planning topics. She has spoken at the Estate Planning Short Course sponsored by the Illinois Institute for Continuing Education on a variety of current issues, and recently authored a chapter on the estate and gift tax consequences of foreign investment in US real estate.
Since 2008, Illinois SuperLawyers has included Barbara on its annual “ Illinois Rising Star List” featuring the top young lawyers in the state, as published by Chicago Magazine.