Les Raatz is a member of the law firm of Dickinson Wright PLLC in Phoenix. He is listed as Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year – Trust and Estates” in Phoenix for 2016, 2018 and 2020. He is also listed in Southwest Superlawyers in the fields of Tax, Estate Planning & Probate, Estate & Trust Litigation and Listed in Chambers and Partners - High Net Worth field.
He practices primarily in the areas of estate planning, probate and trust administration, divorce tax and asset planning, and entity structuring, and taxation. Mr. Raatz has significant experience representing thousands of business clients and their families in connection with estate and tax planning. He is a national author and speaker at numerous seminars on areas of income, estate and gift taxation, probate and trust issues, and selection of business entities. He is a licensed attorney in Arizona. He practiced as a Certified Public Accountant with KPMG Peat Marwick, CPAs.
Mr. Raatz is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), and a member of its Estate and Gift Tax Committee, Asset Protection Committee, and Family Law Task Force. He is certified as an Estate and Trust Law Specialist and a Tax Law 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.
Education & Credentials
University of IllinoisB.S., Accountancy, 1974
- high honors
University of IllinoisJ.D., 1977
- Chambers High Net Worth
- "Top Ranked," 2017-2021
- Best Lawyers in America®
- "Lawyer of the Year," Trust and Estates, 2016, 2018, 2020
- Tax Law, Trusts and Estates, 2023
- Southwest Super Lawyers®
- Tax Law, 2010-2021
- Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC); ACTEC Estate and Gift Committee: ACTEC Asset Protection Committee; ACTEC Family Law Task Force
- Certified Specialist in Estate and Trust Law and Certified Specialist in Tax Law by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of Arizona.
- Former President, Central Arizona Estate Planning Council
- Former: Chair, Probate and Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona, Chair, Arizona Trust Code Comment Committee, and Member and then Chair, 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
- "DELAWARE TAX TRAP" OPENS DOOR TO HIGHER BASIS FOR TRUST ASSETS (AND AVOID GST TAX PROBLEMS WITH NONEXEMPT INDIRECT SKIP TRUSTS), NAEPC Journal of Estate and Tax Planning, September, 2020
- STATE BAR OF ARIZONA PROBATE TRACK, Chair of CLE by the SEA, “Advanced Techniques to Improve Your Estate Planning and Probate Practice,” July 14-17, 2019, and presenting on the following: “The New Tax Act Overview;” “Need a Step Up in Basis – it’s a Blood Sport;” and A.R.S. Sections 14-10504 and 14-10505.
- “INCLUDING ALL TRUSTS IN THE SETTLOR'S ESTATE – THE SKINNY ON HELMHOLZ AND SECTIONS 2036 AND 2038 RECALLING THE TALE: THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES,” 11 Est. Plan. & Community Prop. L.J. 279 (2019)
- “DIVORCE, SLATs AND THE GRANTOR TRUST SECTION 677 GHOST” January 2019
- “SECTION 199A, SIMPLIFY PASS-THROUGH DEDUCTION INTRICACY,” Estate Planning Magazine, April 2018 (45 EPTL 4)
- “STATE CONSTITUTION PERPETUITIES PROVISIONS: DERIVATION, MEANING, AND APPLICATION,” 48 Ariz. St. L.J. 803 (2017)
- “USRAP SURPRISE DELAWARE TAX TRAP WHEN APPOINTING TO AN EXISTING TRUST,” Estate Planning magazine, May 2016
- “‘DELAWARE TAX TRAP’ OPENS DOOR TO HIGHER BASIS FOR TRUST ASSETS,” Estate Planning magazine, Feb. 2014 (41 ETPL 3)
- “STRUCTURING BUSINESS OWNERSHIP, OPERATION AND SALE TO MITIGATE THE 3.8% OBAMACARE TAX, SECA TAX AND FICA TAX,” Practical Tax Strategies magazine (June 2014), Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters as Publisher