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Howard M. Helsinger concentrates his practice in estate planning, estate administration, probate, charitable planning, and trust and estate related litigation. Howard is a partner and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee.

Howard helps individuals and families to efficiently transfer family wealth to the next generation, and to implement the family’s charitable intentions. Using his experience as a teacher he is able to help clients understand complex tax and other legal issues. Using common sense and caution he anticipates problems before they arise, so that clients may realize their long term goals.

He has shepherded survivors through the maze of probate, the complications of paying estate taxes.  He has also represented disappointed survivors in challenges to wills and trusts and most of the major Chicago trust companies in reformation of trust agreements.

Before attending law school, Howard taught medieval English literature at Boston University and humanities at the University of Chicago and at Northwestern University.

Significant Engagements

  • Provided multigenerational planning and counsel to countless families and individuals from all walks of life.
  • Represented a major Chicago trust company in extended litigation interpreting a significant change in the Illinois Probate Act.
  • Defended in Tax Court the Executor of a $50,000,000 estate against IRS challenges to valuation of estate assets.
  • Represented in probate court the intended beneficiary of a gift claimed by the executor to belong to the estate.  
  • Served as expert witness in several attorney malpractice actions involving claims of breaches of fiduciary duties.
  • Represented a major Mexican conglomerate in suing a major national bank alleging breaches of fiduciary duties.
  • Represented beneficiaries in a suit against a national trust company alleging failure to properly invest trust funds.

Publications, Recognitions and Speaking Engagements

Selected by peers as an Illinois Leading Lawyer in: Individual Tax Law; Trust, Will & Estate Planning Law (2012-2017)

Selected for inclusion in Illinois Super Lawyers (2005, 2008-2013, 2015-2016)

Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated, Chicago’s Top Rated Lawyers, Trusts and Estates (2012); 5.0/5.0 Overall Client Rating –

Professional Affiliations

  • Chicago Bar Association, Probate Rules and Forms Committee, Member (1997 – present)
  • National Humanities Center, planned giving advisor (1999-2005)
  • The Newberry Library, planned giving advisor (2001-2005)
  • Chicago Bar Association, Probate Practice Executive Committee, Chair (1998-1999)
  • Chicago Bar Association, Committee on Reform of the Rule Against Perpetuities, Chair (1995-1996)
  • Chicago Bar Association, Committee on the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, Member (1985-1986)
  • K.A.M. Isaiah Israel Foundation, Chair (1995-1998)
  • K.A.M. Isaiah Israel Congregation, President (1989-1991)
  • Resource Center, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, Board of Directors (1986-1991)