Chad Baker is a Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law (as certified by the Ohio State Bar Association) and is a member of the Firm’s Trusts & Estates group. He provides integrated wealth and tax planning services for affluent families and advises several public charities and private foundations.
Early in his career, Chad was taught by one of his first mentors, a respected lawyer who had practiced for over 40 years as an estate planning attorney, to “Always do what’s best for the client and the rest will take care of itself.” A second mentor taught him to “always do your best work,” and a third often reminded him that “you are part of a larger community.” Ever mindful of those early lessons, Chad has become a trusted advisor to a select group of families helping to integrate legal, tax, and investment matters with their family goals and specific circumstances. Along the way, he has learned that building wealth is not an easy task: it takes hard work, ingenuity, patience, and sound advice. Similarly, keeping wealth, enhancing it, and ensuring that it is transferred in a sensible, tax-advantaged way requires comparable effort.
Once, a client told Chad that although he wanted to provide for his family, he did not want his wealth to “grow rotten.” Consistent with this common concern of affluent families, Chad helps them create and implement trusts and other legal structures to enhance the lives of family members and their communities while also seeking to minimize the destructive aspects often associated with inherited wealth.
Building on the lessons from his early mentors and the skills gained through experience and continuous study, Chad is now often asked to serve as a trustee for family trusts and foundations. He finds this role to be one of the most fulfilling and challenging aspects of his legal practice. In this role he works to provide an exceptional trust experience with highly personalized attention to families and beneficiaries.
Lastly, working with families to develop and implement their philanthropic goals has led Chad to use this expertise to assist several large private foundations and public charities navigate through the complexities of the laws regulating tax-exempt organizations and planned giving.
Awards / Recognition
- Best Lawyers in America ® 2018 Toledo Tax Lawyer of the Year
- Board Certified Specialist, Estate Planning Trust and Probate Law (Ohio State Bar Association)
- AV® (Preeminent) Rating by Martindale Hubbell
- Listed in Best Lawyers in America ® for both Tax (since 2013) and Trusts & Estates (since 2012)
- Recipient of the 20 Under 40 award for outstanding professional and community achievement under 40 years old.
- Listed in Toledo Business Journal “Who’s Who in Toledo Law” for Estate Planning
- Former adjunct professor of law at the University of Toledo College of Law teaching courses in Trusts & Estates, Estate Planning, and the Law of Tax Exempt Charitable Organizations
Professional / Community
- Council Member, Ohio State Bar Association Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law Section
- Former Director, Toledo Estate Planning Council
- American Bar Association Section on Real Property, Probate and Trust
- Florida Bar Association Real Property, Probate and Trust Section
- Former Director, Harbor Behavioral Health Care
- Former Director, American Red Cross, Northwest Ohio
- Former President/Trustee, Maumee Schools Foundation
- Former Member Board of Trustees, Toledo Opera
- Former President, Harbor Foundation
- Elder and former member of Session, First Presbyterian Church of Maumee
- Designing and implementing intergenerational trusts to optimize use of the Generation Skipping Transfer (GST) Tax Exemption and create leveraged multi-generational wealth creation
- Working with families to thoughtfully design and integrate distribution guidelines in trust agreements so that family wealth enhances the life of beneficiaries and the community rather than provide a destructive resource
- Judicial and Non-Judicial modifications of irrevocable trusts to optimize tax outcomes
- Design and implementation of “defective” grantor trusts providing enhanced estate and GST tax benefits
- Design and implementation of estate plans incorporating assets in multiple states
- Planning for family vacation properties
- Assisting families with choice of law and state domicile decisions for trusts and personal tax benefits
- Establishing private foundations and other charitable gifting strategies to develop and implement family philanthropy
- Coordinating assets and investment policies to optimize outcomes for multiple trust structures
- Serving as trustee for several families, effectively integrating their family wealth management and responsible for making distributions to beneficiaries consistent with trust terms and applicable law; selection and monitoring of investment advisors; coordination of asset custody; tax planning and return preparation; collecting income and payment of expenses consistent with principal and income accounting standards; bill payments on behalf of beneficiaries; and counselling beneficiaries on the positive benefits provided by trusts
Articles and Presentations
- Moderator: Planned Giving Panel Discussion, Project 419: The Event for Estate and Financial Planners, May 19, 2016 (Panel discussion with Brian Kennedy, Director, President & CEO of the Toledo Museum of Art, Keith Burwell, President of the Toledo Community Foundation, and L. Paul Hood, Jr., Director of Planned Giving, The University of Toledo (www.project419toledo.com).
- “Tax and Non-Tax Pitfalls of Charitable Giving” CLE presentation sponsored by the Sandusky County Communities Foundation, November 17, 2015.
- “What’s My Role? Responsibilities of a Non-Profit Board Member” CLE presentation sponsored by the Defiance County Community Foundation, October 28, 2015.
- “DING! Has the Opening Bell Sounded for Ohio Incomplete Non-grantor Trusts?” Presentation at the Third Annual Great Lakes Asset Protection Institute, April 17, 2015.
- “What’s My Role? Responsibilities of a Non-Profit Board Member” CLE presentation sponsored by the Sandusky County Communities Foundation, November, 2014.
- “DING! Has the Opening Bell Sounded for Ohio Incomplete Non-Grantor Trusts?-Part Two.” Probate Law Journal of Ohio, November 2013 Issue.
- “DING! Has the Opening Bell Sounded for Ohio Incomplete Non-Grantor Trusts?-Part Two.” Probate Law Journal of Ohio, September 2013 Issue.
- “Second Life for Lifetime QTIPs in Ohio.” Probate Law Journal of Ohio, July 2013
- “Ohio Estate Tax Repeal: The End or Just the Beginning? Unlocking Opportunities After Repeal.” Probate Law Journal of Ohio, November/December 2011 Issue.
- “Ohio Estate Tax Repeal: The End or Just the Beginning? Unlocking Opportunities After Repeal.” Presentation at the Pliskin Advanced Probate and Estate Planning Conference, September 16, 2011.
- “Political Activities and Tax Exempt Organizations,” Daily Tax Report, Bureau of National Affairs (BNA), July 7, 2011.
- “The Transition Game: Getting it Right.” Succeeding Generations, publication of the University of Toledo Center for Family and Privately Held Business, March 2011.
- “Duties and Obligations of Nonprofit Directors” Leadership Toledo, January, 2011.
- “Basic Tax Considerations in Estate Planning” Shumaker Alliance CLE, June, 2010.
- “Basic Tax Considerations in Estate Planning” NBI, May, 2010.
- “Directed Trusts: Rights, Powers and Duties of Trust Advisors and Trustees’” Toledo Estate Planning Council, February, 2010, Findlay Estate Planning Council, March, 2010.
- Organizational and Operational Structures of Non-Profit Organizations,” Northwest Ohio Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals,” February, 2010.
- “Using Irrevocable Trusts in Business Acquisitions,” Van Wert Community Foundation CLE Event, 2009.
- “Marital Deduction and Credit Shelter Funding” CLE Article and Presentation.
- “Chapter 14 Estate Freezes” CLE Article and Presentation.
- “Types of Trusts” CLE Article and Presentation, August 15, 2006.
- “The Logistics of Funding the Trust” CLE Article and Presentation, August 15, 2006.
- ”Life Estates in Real Property: A Trap for the Unwary?” Probate Law Journal of Ohio, July/August 2003 (co-author with Dennis P. Williams, Esq.)
- “Ethical Issues in Dealing with the Potentially Incapacitated Client,” OSBA CLE Presentation, 2002.
- “Estate Planning Overview,” Ohio State Teachers Retirement System, 2002.
- “Introduction to Trust Drafting,” Toledo Bar Association, CLE, 2001.
- “Basic Estate Planning – Get What You Need, Protecting Yourself From Predators,” Ohio Attorney General and the Area Office on Aging, 2001.