Barbara R. Grayson is a co-chair of the firm’s Private Wealth Practice and serves on the firm's Management Committee. She represents high-net-worth individuals and families, family owned businesses, family offices and charitable organizations. She has extensive experience in estate planning, including structuring solutions for transferring wealth to younger generations and succession planning for difficult family situations.
Ms. Grayson’s diverse practice includes counseling 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 and establishing gift trusts for children or grandchildren.
Ms. Grayson’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. She 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. She also has experience in the international aspects of the estate planning practice.
A significant portion of Ms. Grayson’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 public charities, private foundations and private operating foundations, and she also counsels clients as to best practices in administering those organizations in light of the complicated tax rules surrounding their governance and permissible activities.
Ms. Grayson’s practice also includes probate and trust administration, as well as litigation counseling on contested tax, trust and estate matters. She often represents fiduciaries and individual beneficiaries in the administration of estates and trusts. Ms. Grayson has experience in a variety of tax, trust and estate disputes, including controversies over will and trust construction, the impact of premarital agreements and divorce decrees on estate administration, and alleged breaches of fiduciary responsibilities.
The Chambers High Net Worth Guide includes Ms. Grayson in its ranks of Private Wealth practitioners, writing that clients report she is “incredibly thorough, and proactive,” that she handles sensitive matters with “utmost professionalism,” and that “one of her greatest attributes, other than her sophistication and knowledge, is that she has a calming effect on people.” Another client commented to Chambers that, “in situations of difficult decisions she makes it feel manageable.” Ms. Grayson is a fellow in the American College of Trusts and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and is consistently recognized by the National Law Journal, Leading Lawyers Network and Best Lawyers in America for her extensive Trusts and Estates experience.
Ms. Grayson serves on the Goodman Theater Spotlight Advisory Council, the Lyric Opera of Chicago Planned Giving Advisory Council, the Chicago Community Trust Professional Advisory Committee, and the Women in Law Empowerment Forum National Advisory Board.
Ms. Grayson attended Harvard Law School, receiving her J.D. magna cum laude. While there, she was on the Board of Student Advisers and taught legal research and writing.