David A. Baker serves as head of the Firm’s Estate, Trust and Guardianship Controversy Practice Group. He advises clients in the areas of estate, trust and guardianship litigation; probate, estate, trust and guardianship administration; and charitable foundation and exempt organization administration and litigation. He also practices estate planning.
David founded the Firm’s Estate, Trust and Guardianship Controversy practice more than 30 years ago. He leads a group of private client and litigation attorneys who, together, have 80 years of experience in this unique field, one that combines substantive property law and tax background with litigation skills. David and this group have achieved attention-getting results in high-profile matters involving defense of fiduciaries in investment and general liability cases, defense of fiduciaries in will and trust contests, and other diverse matters, including the highest-exposure transfer tax litigation cases in the United States. Representative matters include the following:
Successfully defending the corporate fiduciary managing an Indiana trust, who was subject to a $100 million investment liability claim, and achieving a no-liability outcome, following by a court order taxing the cost of the litigation to the plaintiff beneficiaries
Successfully defending will, trust and tort claims brought against the estate of the owner of a long-standing Chicago grocery store chain, with alleged damages in excess of $100 million, including obtaining full dismissal of all claims and sanctions against the plaintiff’s attorneys
Successfully defending the surviving spouse of a Michigan decedent, in a case involving the largest federal transfer tax deficiency ever sought by the Internal Revenue Service, and ultimately preserving, in its entirety, the surviving spouse’s significant share of the decedent’s estate and trust
David also handles appellate cases, and was the lead counsel on 10 published opinions in the courts of Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, including Americans for the Arts v. Ruth Lilly Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust No. 1, 855 N.E. 2d 592 (Ind. Ct. App. 2006), a leading case on a trustee’s duty to diversify investments
David has authored articles and outlines for the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) and the Chicago Bar Association, as well as for the Probate and Property Journal of the American Bar Association. He is the editor and primary author of the 2002 edition of the IICLE’s Handbook on Estate, Trust and Guardianship Litigation (formerly Contested Estates), which he organized, authored and edited as a new publication for IICLE. He also speaks before these organizations on topics including contested estates, trusts and guardianships, estate planning and tax litigation. In law school, David served as an associate editor and contributor of the Loyola University of Chicago Law Journal.
Frequent speaker for Chicago Bar Association, Illinois Institute on Continuing Legal Education and local Bar Associations regarding estate, trust and foundation administration and litigation involving estates, trusts and guardianships.
Baker Demonstration School, Wilmette, Illinois, founder, officer and director 2004 to 2006, including organizing and leading the professional team that prevented the closing of Baker Demonstration School when it was terminated as an operating division of the National College of Education
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