Education

University of Illinois

B.S., Accountancy, 1974
  • high honors

University of Illinois

J.D., 1977

Les Raatz

Member

Overview

Les Raatz is a member of the law firm of Dickinson Wright, PLLC, practicing under the name Dickinson Wright/Mariscal Weeks in Phoenix since January 1, 2013, having been a shareholder of Mariscal Week McIntyre & Friedlander, P.A. He practices primarily in the areas of estate planning, probate and trust administration, entity structuring, taxation, charitable organizations, commercial organizations, and commercial transactions. Mr. Raatz has significant experience representing many hundreds of business clients and their families in connection with estate and tax planning. He has been an author and speaker at numerous seminars on areas of income and estate and gift taxation, probate and trust issues, and selection of business entities.

Mr. Raatz graduated with high honors from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Accountancy. He received his law degree from the University of Illinois. He is a licensed attorney in Texas and Arizona. After graduation from law school, he practiced as a Certified Public Accountant with KPMG Peat Marwick, CPAs. Since that time, he has practiced law in Texas before becoming a shareholder with Mariscal, Weeks, McIntyre & Friedlander, P.A. in 1986.

Mr. Raatz is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC). He is listed in Best Lawyers in America in fields of Tax Law and Trusts and Estates and in Southwest Superlawyers in the fields of Tax, Estate Planning & Probate, Estate & Trust Litigation. He is certified as a Tax Specialist by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of Arizona. He was President of the Central Arizona Estate Planning Council, Chair of the Probate and Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona, Chair of its Arizona Trust Code Comment Committee, and Chair of the Tax Advisory Commission for the Board of Legal Specialization, and a member of the Probate Rules Committee of the Arizona Supreme Court. His latest article “‘DELAWARE TAX TRAP’ OPENS DOOR TO HIGHER BASIS FOR TRUST ASSETS” appeared in Estate Planning, Feb. 2014 (41 ETPL 3). An upcoming Article “STRUCTURING BUSINESS OWNERSHIP, OPERATION AND SALE TO MITIGATE THE 3.8% OBAMACARE TAX, SECA TAX AND FICA TAX” will appear in Practical Tax Strategies (June 2014), Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters as Publisher. He also authored “The Arizona Trust Code,” Arizona Attorney Magazine, Jan. 2009 (45–Jan Ariz.Att’y 20), cited favorably in In re the Estate of King, 228 Ariz. 565; 269 P.3d 1189 (Court of Appeals, Division 1, Feb. 7, 2012).

Professional Involvement

  • Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC)
  • Former President, Central Arizona Estate Planning Council
  • Former Chair, Probate and Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona, Arizona Trust Code Comment Committee, and Tax Advisory Commission for the Board of Legal Specialization
  • Member, Taxation Section of the American Bar Association
  • Member, Taxation and Probate and Real Property Sections of the State Bar of Arizona
  • Former Member, Probate Rules Committee of the Arizona Supreme Court  

Publications/Presentations

  • "Structuring Business Ownership, Operation, and Sale to Mitigate the 3.8% Taxes," Practical Tax Strategies, June 2014
    • Avoiding the 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax (the "Obamacare Tax" or the "NIIT") provides little benefit if the consequence is to replace it with effectively a 3.8% self-employment tax or social security tax. The article discusses the NIIT, as well as techniques to avoid it as well as the other 3.8% Taxes when possible.
  • "Unique Estate Planning in Arizona to Reduce Income Tax and Simplify Structures," State Bar of Arizona Convention, Tucson, (upcoming) June 13, 2014
  • "Delaware Tax Trap Opens Door to Higher Basis for Trust Assets," Estate Planning, February 2014
  • “The Evolution of Planning Needs for Business Owners and High Net Worth Families Post ATRA," New York Life 2013 Advisor Symposium, New York City, October 22, 2013.
    • The Delaware Tax Trap provides a method to step up basis in assets held in an irrevocable trusts that were not originally drafted to permit that benefit (bypass trust and multigenerational trust are candidates) through exercise of a power of appointment that causes the assets to be included in the estate of the powerholder. Alternatively, the Trap may permit one to elect to be treated as making a gift in order to allocate GST Exemption and avoid the GST Tax. The method requires understanding of the applicable state's rule against perpetuities. It is a new opportunity available due to the permanent increase in the estate and gift tax exemption and made more important because of much higher income tax rates. 
  • Portability – Inheriting the Spouse’s Estate Tax Exemption
  • Creditor Protection Planning Techniques
  • “Selecting Decanting, Nonjudicial Settlement Agreements and Other Trust Modification Techniques,” Valley Estate Planners, Phoenix, September 19, 2013.
  • “Arizona Trust Code: Notice and Reporting Requirements, Creditor Protection Planning Techniques, Other Planning Opportunities under the Arizona Trust Code, Analysis and Planning for Use of the Trust Protector, Springing the Delaware Tax Trap in Arizona: Stepping Up Basis in Irrevocable Trust Assets,” State Bar of Arizona “CLE by the SEA,” San Diego, July 18, 2013.
  • “The Arizona Trust Code,” Arizona Attorney Magazine, Jan. 2009 (45–Jan Ariz.Att’y 20), cited favorably in In re the Estate of King, 228 Ariz. 565; 269 P.3d 1189 (Court of Appeals, Division 1, Feb. 7, 2012).
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Acknowledgements

  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America
  • Listed in Southwest Super Lawyers