The Law Offices of Alan E. Sohn

The Law Offices of Alan E. Sohn

Trusted Illinois Closely-Held Business Lawyer

Firm Overview

The Chicago small business and estate planning lawyer Alan Sohn focuses his practice on advising and assisting individuals and privately-held corporations, their owners and families with planning, business transactions, business litigation and estate planning needs.

From Business Inception Through the Life of the Business

Serving clients throughout Illinois, including in Cook, Lake, Dupage and Will Counties, Alan Sohn serves as a trusted counselor to his clients from the initial stages of business creation, when he assists with the business organization process, through dealing with the day-to-day business issues that arise concerning vendors, customers, employees, co-owners and interaction with various government and regulatory agencies. In the unfortunate event that a dispute arises, and after every effort has been exhausted to find a favorable resolution, Alan Sohn is equipped to initiate a lawsuit or defend the matter through litigation in the Illinois state and federal court system.

Business Succession

As businesses and clients mature, the Chicago business lawyer Alan Sohn assists clients with sales, acquisitions and leasing of real estate and other business property, as well as mergers with and acquisitions of other businesses. If a client is ready to sell the business or to retire, Alan Sohn works with the client to plan and arrange for the succession of the business to key employees or to family members suited to carry the business forward and will provide legal expertise, knowledge and experience to achieve a solution that is best suited to the client's goals and objectives. When developing business succession plans, Alan Sohn is keenly aware that a complete and thorough plan must address not only those family members who will serve as business successors, but also those family members who will not.

Estate Plans and Asset Protection Plans

An important aspect of the legal services provided by The Law Offices of Alan E. Sohn to business owners is the development of an estate plan that provides for the disposition of the client's estate in accordance with the client's particular desires and intentions. As a skilled Illinois estate planning attorney, Alan Sohn is highly conversant with the laws governing federal estate and gift taxes, as well as Illinois estate taxes, and he strives to develop an estate plan and asset protection plan designed to meet the clients's dispositive intentions while reducing (if not eliminating) the payment of such taxes and providing mechanisms that are designed to achieve the protection of such assets from creditors in future years. Alan Sohn has also developed many estate and wealth transfer plans for individuals and families. From a simple will to the most complex of trusts, he has the experience necessary to construct a plan suited to the needs and requests of his clients and their families.

Areas of Practice:

Alan's business litigation and trial practice has included all manner of business disputes, such as enforcement of covenants not to compete, trade secret agreements, real estate disputes, condemnation, contested estates, will contests and trusts, to name just a few.

Alan has handled the sale, purchase, exchange and leasing of office buildings, manufacturing and warehouse facilities, shopping centers and many other types of improved and unimproved real estate.

Business succession planning has been an integral part of Alan's practice for more than four decades. As his clients' businesses have grown and prospered, and younger generations have joined the business, it has been Alan's task to design and implement strategies to smoothly transition the family business to succeeding generations while balancing the interests of the family members who have not joined the business.

Should you do business as a corporation, partnership, limited liability company or limited partnership? Should the entity under which you do business be a pass-through for income tax purposes? These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered at the outset of any business. Alan has the experience and expertise to help you decide which business entity is best for you.

Asset protection and wealth transfer planning is an integral part of Alan's practice. He has designed and implemented numerous plans for the transfer of wealth to succeeding generations with a view to reducing or eliminating the assessment of estate taxes.

The Illinois probate process can be tedious, time-consuming and costly. Alan can work with your family to navigate through the court processes in the most efficient and effective manner possible. With more than 40 years of helping clients, Alan has the depth of knowledge and experience necessary to help you
Main Office
Main Office
30 N. LaSalle St Suite 2040
Chicago  IL  60602
  • 312-236-7005
Estate Planning
Alan has designed and implemented numerous plans for the transfer of wealth to succeeding generations with a view to reducing or eliminating the assessment of estate taxes.

An estate plan that is carefully thought-out and well-drafted is critical in order to ensure the distribution of your hard-earned assets according to your wishes. The transfer of assets upon death is governed by complex state property and probate laws with significant tax implications, making it essential to enlist the advice and guidance of an experienced Illinois estate planning attorney. The Law Offices of Alan E. Sohn has considerable experience counseling clients on various estate planning options and drafting the documents necessary to effectuate the client's wishes and intentions.


A will is an essential piece of every estate plan. An individual's will can address any number of issues upon an individual's death, including the choice of a personal representative/executor, the distribution of assets, the payment of debts, the designation of guardians for the estate and person of any minor children, and any final wishes regarding funeral arrangements or otherwise.

The administration of a will is governed by state law and Illinois law requires that an individual be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind and memory to create a valid will. An Illinois will must be signed in the presence of at least two adult witnesses that are not beneficiaries under the will. If a decedent does not leave a valid will, his or her estate administration and distribution will be performed according to Illinois probate laws.

Revocable vs. Irrevocable Trusts

Individuals frequently choose to hold assets in a trust as part of an estate plan because they allow a person to continue to hold, manage and invest property for themselves during their lifetime, while naming a successor trustee to take over upon their incapacity or upon their death, while avoiding probate.

A revocable trust can be changed during the life of the person creating the trust, but the assets held in the trust may then be subject to estate tax at death, provided that their value exceeds the then current exemption. On the other hand, an irrevocable trust generally cannot be changed once it has been created, but the assets may not be subject to the estate tax if the trust is drafted properly and certain other conditions have been met.

Living Trust

A living trust is essentially a kind of revocable trust that can be altered by the grantor during his or her life and, as such, is part of the grantor's taxable estate. The grantor is typically also the trustee and receives income and may withdraw principal from the trust during his/her lifetime. Upon death, the trust's assets may either remain in the trust for the benefit of the grantor's named beneficiaries or be distributed according to the grantor's directions as stated in the trust, or a combination of either.

Dynasty trust

A dynasty trust is a trust in which property remains in trust for the benefit of successive generations. A trustee holds the assets and pays income and/or principal to the grantor's designated beneficiaries, such as his/her spouse, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. If properly drafted, the beneficiaries, after the grantor's death, may control the trust's investments and their use and enjoyment during their lifetimes, designate or direct lifetime distributions or distributions at death, or allow the assets to remain in trust while avoiding the imposition of estate and inheritance taxes for successive generations. In most cases, assets held in a dynasty trust may not be reached by the creditors of a trust beneficiary. A dynasty trust protects assets from creditors.

Contact the skilled Chicago estate planning attorney Alan Sohn at (312) 236-7005 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your estate planning needs.
With more than 40 years of helping clients, Alan has the depth of knowledge and experience necessary to help you through the probate process.

Probate is a court-managed process through which a person's estate is administered after his or her death. Through the probate process, the decedent's debts are paid and distributions are made to his or her heirs and beneficiaries. As a skilled Chicago probate administration attorney Alan Sohn has significant experience representing fiduciaries and the families of decedents charged with the administration of estates and trusts.

If the decedent has a carefully drafted will and/or living trust that provides for the distribution of the decedent's assets, the probate process is typically straightforward and relatively quick. However, in some cases, the probate process can be lengthy, tedious, time-consuming and sometimes costly, particularly if the decedent lacked adequately drafted estate documents (such as a will or trust) to address the distribution of assets.

In Illinois, an estate's fiduciary bears the burden of seeing that the decedent's debts are paid and that the assets of the estate or trust are properly distributed according to the estate documents. Frequently, an estate's fiduciary is a loved one of the decedent who is likely dealing with the emotional turmoil of the decedent's death, making it all the more difficult to deal with the legal issues associated with probate administration. Illinois estate planning attorney Alan Sohn understands the complex issues related to the administration of your Illinois probate estate and works with the court and beneficiaries to ensure that your wishes are carried out with as little conflict as necessary.

Alan Sohn frequently provides the following services in connection with probate and trust administration:

'¢ Educates and guides fiduciaries, heirs and beneficiaries through the probate process

'¢ Prepares state and federal estate and inheritance tax returns

'¢ Consults with the estate's accountants to ensure that distributions are made in a tax-effective way

'¢ Advises heirs and beneficiaries regarding post-mortem estate planning techniques in order to minimize future tax implications

'¢ Represents trustees, executors, heirs, legatees and estate and trust beneficiaries in will contests and other disputes concerning the validity, construction and interpretation of wills and trusts

The Chicago probate administration attorney Alan Sohn is a compassionate counselor and, as a result of his years of experience, he understands the wide range of emotions that fiduciaries, heirs and beneficiaries are facing through the probate administration process. Contact our skilled probate administration attorney and let us serve as a trusted advisor to help and guide you throughout the probate administration process.

Alan E. Sohn


Alan E. Sohn received his Juris Doctorate from the College of Law of the University of Illinois in 1968 and has been a practicing attorney for more than 41 years. Mr. Sohn has been a partner in both large and smaller law firms and for the past 21 years has been in private practice.

Mr. Sohn is admitted to practice law before the Illinois Supreme Court Trial Bar, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. He is also a member of the Chicago Estate Planning Council.


Alan E. Sohn has made a special effort to develop and maintain expertise in estate and business succession planning, wealth and asset protection by reason of the increased complexities of estate and gift tax laws and the special needs of his clients. In fact, Alan's proficiency in the area of estate planning resulted in his being asked to present seminars on such topics to groups such as the CPA Law Forum, UBS, and many local chapters of national and international non-profit organizations. With wide-ranging experience in the representation of small and medium sized businesses, Mr. Sohn is well suited to meet the legal needs and requirements of the business community.