John S. Seich is a principal at McCarthy Lebit. John has over 30 years of experience specializing in tax law, as well as estate planning and corporate law. He focuses the majority of his practice on the minimization of income and estate taxes and regularly counsels families of substantial means on wills and trusts, prenuptial agreements, charitable gift planning and tax matters related to trusts and estates. His practice also includes estate and trust administration, as well as the representation of fiduciaries and beneficiaries in trust and estate disputes and settlements. John has extensive experience in sophisticated estate planning for closely-held business owners with the goal of minimizing estate and income taxes. He counsels families in planning for the successful transfer of the business to the next generation through complex techniques including the establishment of family limited partnerships, LLCs, trusts and GRATS, as well as installment sales to grantor trusts. John has also served as special counsel and expert witness in estate planning and administration matters.
John is one of the first 11 attorneys in the State of Ohio to be distinguished as an Ohio State Bar Association Board Certified Specialist in Federal Taxation Law. He has handled complex estate and income tax matters. He has continued success saving client substantial wealth in handling estate and gift tax audits, appeals and before the U.S. Tax Court. John has advocated for his clients in numerous estate tax audits. He also drafted the winning brief in the nationally recognized tax case of O’Neill v. Commissioner, 994 F.2d (6th Cir.). Moreover, John oversees the preparation of the firm’s federal estate tax returns.
John is a guest lecturer and has spoken before the Cleveland Estate Planning Institute, the Estate Planning Council, Cleveland State University, KeyBank National Association, the Cleveland Bar Association and the Ohio Society of CPAs. In addition, he has authored articles that have appeared in the Ohio CPA Journal.
Business Planning Matter – Developed family plan to transfer company from parents to children through gifts and tax-free sales, transferred 67% of company value to children. Company later sold for $43 million. Estate tax savings estimated at $14+ million.
Investment Transfer – Initiated and implemented tax-free plan to transfer significant investment to children utilizing a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT). Children’s interest later valued in excess of $50 million. Estate tax savings estimated at $25+ million. Saved client over $500 thousand in state estate tax by pre-death gift planning.
Estate Appointment – Appointed by Probate Court to replace former Executor. Negotiated reduction in estate tax late payment penalty with IRS and recovered remaining tax penalty due to malpractice of former Executor and attorney.
Probate Litigation – Successful representation of Executor in protracted court litigation requesting Executor’s removal.
Sued trustees for trust mismanagement. Resulted in substantial settlement for trust beneficiary.
Florida Matters – Handled numerous estate tax matters for significant Florida estates.
Private Settlement Agreement between trustees, investment advisor and beneficiaries, involving $90 million trust. Agreement resulted in removal of investment advisor and provided for flexibility for beneficiaries to appoint successor trustees and investment advisors.
O’Neill v. Commissioner – Wrote the winning brief in the nationally-recognized tax case of O’Neill v. Commissioner, 994 F.2d (6th Cir.). This case against the IRS allowed trustees to deduct investment management expenses without a 2% of income deduction. It is significant to any individual who uses an investment manager to handle his or her investment account. When the United States Supreme Court addressed this same issue in Knight v. Commissioner, they overturned O’Neill on a statutory construction basis.
Probate Spousal Litigation – Represented second wife in probate litigation in obtaining substantial settlement against estate of husband who had disinherited her from his probate estate. In conjunction with the settlement, allowed wife to keep the benefits of an existing irrevocable marital trust. John has also represented numerous estates in defending against claims of second spouses.