Adam S. Garber
Levenfeld Pearlstein LLC
Estate planning
40 Under Class – 2019

It didn’t take John Welsh of BNY Mellon Wealth Management long to discover the multiple talents of estate-planning specialist Adam Garber.

Welsh met Garber in 2011. That was when Welsh started at the private client group at Chicago law firm McDermott Will & Emery. The roster of attorneys in this elite group included some of the brightest and best-known specialists in the field of trusts and estate tax.

Despite this, the members of the private client group often relied on Garber’s knowledge on income tax and gift tax.

“Those subjects are some of the most misunderstood in the field, and having Adam in the group was a huge benefit,” Welsh said. “Any time anyone had a question about the actual computation of estate or gift taxes or the intricacies of completing tax returns, Adam was called upon.”

This didn’t surprise Welsh.

“Adam has the ability to not only be a great general advisor to his clients, but to also dig into the weeds of areas that most attorneys have trouble at or try to ‘farm out’ to other advisors and accountants,” Welsh said. “Adam brings the knowledge of being a CPA to the legal field. Many lawyers spend their time learning the law but fail to dive into the technical tax aspects. Adam is able to do both, and that is a huge differentiator.”

Susan Wallace with J.P. Morgan Chase Bank in Chicago frequently works with Garber to meet the needs of clients with significant estates and complex finances. Garber’s “deep knowledge in trust and estate law makes him the ideal candidate to serve these clients,” Wallace said.

Wallace points to one client in particular whose wealth exceeds $100 million and has children with varying challenges. Garber has worked to assist this family with problems that arose with old estate and trust documents drafted by a prior attorney by decanting some to new trusts. He has also helped the family understand and implement the options available for protecting the wealth that the client wants to transfer to the children.

In addition, Garber has structured planning strategies for the family for transferring wealth, resulting in about $40 million in transferred wealth thus far.

“In addition to possessing the unique skills needed to work with individuals on personal and emotional matters and the deep technical knowledge and experience to develop unique and technically sound legal solutions, Adam Garber also is a great partner,” Wallace said. “In my role as a fellow professional advisor, I always look forward to opportunities to work with Adam.”

Garber supports his profession, too. He is a busy member of the Executive Committee of the Trust Law Committee of the Chicago Bar Association.

Justin Flach, with Ascent Private Capital Management, commented on the strong career that Garber has already crafted.

And in the future? Flach expects even more great things.

“A lot of attorneys approach estate planning for high-net-worth families like a math problem: Take a family’s assets, run them through a formula of estate planning techniques and calculate the least amount of estate tax they can pay,” Flach said. “Adam takes a different approach. While still looking to maximizing the tax savings a family can achieve, he works with his clients to create a plan that is sensitive to their personal needs and goals while assisting them to create their desired legacy for their family.”