T. JAMES LEE

Jim Lee

Jim practices in the areas of estate planning, business design and structuring, and commercial transactions, including tax planning, corporate, partnership, LLC, real estate, and international matters. He counsels clients on wealth transfer strategies, the use of trusts (including grantor trusts, such as GRATs and QPRTs), commercial business entities, family limited partnerships and LLCs, tax-free installment sales, and other sophisticated tax planning techniques. Jim works closely with individuals and families, developing long-term relationships to help ensure continuity from generation to generation.

As an adjunct to his estate planning practice, Jim advises clients on planned giving methods, and establishing charitable remainder and lead trusts, private foundations, public charities, and other tax-exempt organizations. He also advises trustees and executors on their fiduciary responsibilities and tax implications in the administration and distribution of trusts and probate estates.

Jim uses creative problem solving and strategic insight to achieve planning objectives appropriate for ultra high-net-worth individuals and families. In designing estate and business plans, he applies an integrated approach enabling his clients to reduce personal and business liability exposure, minimize tax consequences, and meet multi-generational family goals. Estate planning documents and business succession plans can be tailored to provide incentives to beneficiaries and successors (such as children and grandchildren) to become productive and contributing members of society. Incorporating each family’s unique dynamic into such planning is emphasized.

ACTEC badgecertified specialistJim is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), a group of peer-elected trust and estate attorneys spanning the U.S. and abroad. He is also a Certified Specialist through the State Bar of Arizona.

Education

  • J.D., with honors, Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School
  • B.S., Business Management, Brigham Young University
  • Top business school graduate in entrepreneurship, business composite minor (Accounting and Economics), and minor in Spanish
  • Brigham Young University Law Review, Editorial Board, 1995-1996; Member, 1994-1996
  • Extern, Honorable J. Kenneth Mangum, Superior Court of Arizona, 1994

Areas of Practice

Our business and finance attorneys represent national, regional and local clients participating in significant transactions.

Fennemore Craig has one of the largest trust, estate, and probate litigation practices in the Southwest.

Fennemore Craig has one of the largest private client and estate planning practices in the Southwest.

Fennemore Craig has one of the largest private client and estate planning practices in the Southwest.

Our tax attorneys help clients structure their businesses and transactions in the most tax-efficient manner.

Our trusts and estates attorneys represent individuals and business owners in a range of matters.

OTHER EXPERIENCE

  • Nonprofit and Tax-Exempt Organizations

Awards and Honors

  • Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year, Trusts and Estates, 2017, 2021
  • Best Lawyers in America®, Tax Law, Trusts and Estates, 2010-2021
  • Chambers HNW, Leading High Net Worth Advisors, 2016-2020
  • Southwest Super Lawyers®, Estate Planning and Probate, 2008, 2010-2018
  • Arizona's Finest Lawyers, Regular Member, admitted as of 2011
  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated (the highest rating available), by Martindale Hubbell

Articles And Presentations

  • Author, "Recent Tax Developments - 2020 April - Refresher on Benefits Under The CARES Act," Fennemore Craig Client Alert, May 4, 2020
  • Co-author, "IRS and the Arizona Department of Revenue Extend Tax Filing Deadlines to July 15," Fennemore Craig Client Alert, March 26, 2020
  • Presenter, “Qualified Small Business Stock,” AZCLE Entity Selection and Issues for the Estate Planner, sponsored by the State Bar of Arizona, March 19, 2020
  • Author, "Recent Tax Developments - 2020 January - The SECURE Act (Individuals)," Fennemore Craig Update, January 9, 2020
  • Author, "End of Year Tax Saving Moves - 2019," Fennemore Craig Update, December 30, 2019
  • Author, "Recent Tax Developments - December 2019," Fennemore Craig Update, December 23, 2019
  • Author, "Recent Tax Developments - 2019 April," Fennemore Craig Update, April 16, 2019
  • Co-Author, "Arizona Estate Planning: Income, Estate, Gift, and GST Taxation," DT Publishing Company, Vol. 1 supplement and new Vol. 2, 2019
  • Co-author, "End-of-year Business Advice for Northern Nevada Businesses (Opinion)," Northern Nevada Business View, December 11, 2018
  • Author, "Recent Tax Developments - 2018 August," Fennemore Craig Update, August 8, 2018
  • Author, "Recent Tax Developments - 2018 July," Fennemore Craig Update, July 2, 2018
  • Interview, "The New Partnership Audit Rules and Why They Are So Important For Estate Planners," ACTEC, June 12, 2018
  • Speaker, "Digital Assets," The Arizona Fiduciaries Association 2018 Spring Conference, April 20, 2018
  • Co-author, "Recent Tax Developments - 2018 January," Fennemore Craig Update, January 23, 2018
  • Speaker, "Partnership Audit Rules," Summer Meeting, ACTEC, Chicago, Illinois, 2018 
  • Author, "Tax Planning Checklists - 2017 End of Year," Fennemore Craig Update, October 16, 2017
  • Author, "Recent Tax Developments - 2017 April," Fennemore Craig Update, April 12, 2017
  • Speaker, 2017 Women's Financial Forum, Arizona Bank and Trust, 2017
  • Speaker, "Hot Topics in Contemporary Estate Planning (including Ron Aucutt)," sponsored by the State Bar of Arizona, 2017
  • Speaker and Panelist, various trusts, estates, and tax seminars, National Video Broadcasts, NBI, 2016-present
  • Author, "Tax Planning Checklists - 2016 End of Year," Fennemore Craig Update, November 4, 2016
  • Author, "Recent Tax Developments - October 2016," Fennemore Craig Update, October 26, 2016
  • Author, "Valuation Discounts: Going, Going,..." Fennemore Craig Update, September 19, 2016
  • Speaker, Moderator, and Seminar Chair, "Probate and Estate Law, and Elder and Mental Health Care Law: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach (Practical Estate Planning and Administration; Estate Planning with Corporations, LLCs, and Partnerships; Elder and Special Needs Planning for the Modest and the Affluent; and Digital Assets)," CLE by the Sea, Coronado, California, sponsored by the State Bar of Arizona, July 2016
  • Speaker, "Partnership Tax Allocations, and Implications of the Repeal of TEFRA," Business Planning Committee, Summer Meeting, ACTEC, Boston, Massachusetts, 2016
  • Speaker, "Section 642(c) Charitable Deduction and Tracing," Fiduciary Income Tax Committee, Annual Meeting, ACTEC, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2016
  • Co-Author, "Best Practices for Structuring Trusts and Estates," Thomson Reuters (Aspatore), 2016 edition
  • Co-author, "Recent Tax Developments - January 2016," Fennemore Craig Update, January 14, 2016
  • Author, "Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015," Fennemore Craig Update, August 12, 2015
  • Author, "2015 Second Quarter Tax Developments," Fennemore Craig Update, July 20, 2015
  • Author, "Tax Developments For First Quarter 2015," April 29, 2015
  • Author, "Families of Those With Disabilities: New 'Able Accounts'," Fennemore Craig Update, April 1, 2015
  • Author, "Tax Developments in February 2015," Fennemore Craig Update, March 1, 2015
  • Author, "Tax Developments in 2015," Fennemore Craig Update, January 12, 2015
  • Co-Author, "Arizona Estate Planning: Income, Estate, Gift, and GST Taxation," DT Publishing Company, Vol. 1, 2015 supplement
  • Speaker, "Sophisticated Estate Planning: GRATs, Sales to Grantor Trusts, CRTs, CLTs, Asset Allocations, Fiscal Year Planning, and DNI," Valley Estate Planners, 2015
  • Author, "Tax Developments in 2014," Fennemore Craig Update, December 15, 2014
  • Author, "Tax, Business and Estate Planning," Fennemore Craig Update, December 15, 2014
  • Speaker, "Estate Planning for the Novice," sponsored by KJZZ/K-BACH Radio, 2014
  • Co-Author, "Arizona Estate Planning: Income, Estate, Gift, and GST Taxation," DT Publishing Company, Vol. 1, 2014 supplement
  • Speaker and Seminar Chair, "Advanced Estate Planning and Trust/Probate Administration," CLE by the Sea, Coronado, California, sponsored by the State Bar of Arizona, 2014
  • Seminar Chair and Moderator, "Effect of U.S. v. Windsor on DOMA in Estate Planning, Update on T&E Litigation and Legislation (Federal and Arizona), Resolving Probate and Trust Disputes Without Protracted Litigation, and the Continuing Evolution of the Arizona Probate Rules and Procedures," sponsored by the State Bar of Arizona, 2014
  • Seminar Co-Chair and Moderator, "Unraveling Estate Planning Issues after Windsor (DOMA) and Other Advanced Planning Topics," State Bar of Arizona, Probate & Trust Law Section, 2013
  • Speaker, "Understanding Consequences of Transfers of Title in Unfamiliar Jurisdictions," Western Region Meeting, ACTEC, Half Moon Bay (San Francisco), California, 2013
  • Speaker, "Wealth Transfer Tax Legislation, Estate Planning Techniques, and Current Developments," CLE by the Sea, Coronado, California, sponsored by the State Bar of Arizona, 2013
  • Co-Author, "Arizona Estate Planning: Income, Estate, Gift, and GST Taxation," DT Publishing Company, Vol. 1, 2012
  • Seminar Co-Chair, "Arizona Probate Practice in 2012 - ¡Cuidado!", Probate & Trust Law Section, Arizona State Bar Convention, 2012
  • Speaker, "The Good, Bad and the Ugly in Decanting in Arizona," Arizona Community Foundation, Professional Advisory Board, 2012
  • Speaker, "Unexpected Complexity of Marital Deductions," National Teleconference, Lorman Education Services, 2012
  • Speaker, "Decanting (What now, pourover "trusts"?)," East Valley Estate Planning Council, 2012
  • Seminar Chair and Moderator, “Advanced Probate and Trust,” State Bar of Arizona, Probate and Trust Law Section, 2011
  • Author, "Decant or Not Decant (in Arizona)?," Probate and Trust Law Newsletter, State Bar of Arizona, 2011
  • Author, "Marital Deduction Formula and GST Tax Severance Planning -- Income Tax Consequences," Estate Planning, Thomson Reuters (Warren, Gorham & Lamont), New York, Nov. 2010
  • Speaker, "Recent Developments and Hot Topics: Apportionment of Estate Taxes and Administrative Expenses," sponsored by the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, 2010
  • Speaker, "Decant or Not Decant? That Is the Question," Arizona State Bar Convention, 2010
  • Speaker, "Important and Hot Estate Planning and Related Tax Planning Topics," State Bar of Arizona, Probate and Trust Law Section, 2009
  • Speaker, "Steeping Marital Deduction Bliss in Your GS Tea (Advanced Formula Planning)," Tucson Tax Study Group, 2009
  • Speaker, "Advanced Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax and Marital Deduction Planning," National Teleconference, NBI, 2009
  • Speaker, "Drafting for the Arizona Trust Code," Maricopa County Bar Association, 2009
  • Speaker, "GSTT and Marital Deduction Formula Planning,” VEP, 2009
  • Speaker, "New Trust Code and Probate Rules Take Effect: Are you Ready?" State Bar of Arizona, Elder Law and Mental Health Section, 2009
  • Speaker, "Arizona Trust Code," Maricopa County Bar Association, 2008
  • Speaker, "Trust and Estate Distributions: Income Tax Implications and Planning Alternatives," State Bar of Arizona, Taxation Section, 2008
  • Speaker, "Trust and Estate Income Taxation," Tucson Tax Study Group, 2007
  • Speaker, "Income Taxation in Estate Planning," Valley Estate Planners, 2007
  • Speaker, "Estate Planning and Subchapter J Issues," East Valley Estate Planning Council, 2006
  • and various commercially sponsored lectures

PROFESSIONAL AND COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES

  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, State Bar of Arizona
  • Member, Utah State Bar
  • Member, Professional Advisory Board, Arizona Community Foundation
  • Volunteer, in affiliation with local chapters of House of Refuge and Habitat for Humanity
  • Fellow, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, ACTEC
  • Member, Fiduciary Income Tax Committee, Business Planning Committee, ACTEC
  • Member, Past Chair, Estate and Trust Advisory Commission, State Bar of Arizona
  • Inaugural Member, TGen Ambassadors, Translational Genomics Research Institute
  • Member, Committee on Estate and Gift Taxes, Taxation Section, American Bar Association
  • Past Chair, Professional Education Series Planning Committee, Arizona Community Foundation
  • Past Officer, Board of Directors, Ballet Arizona
  • Past Chair, Executive Council, Probate and Trust Law Section, State Bar of Arizona
  • Past Chair of the Planned Giving Committee, Past Executive Committee Member, Arthritis Foundation, Greater Southwest Chapter
  • Trustee (retired), Phoenix Boys Choir
  • Past Council Officer, Past Executive Board Member, Boy Scouts of America, Grand Canyon Council
  • Past Member, Professional Advisory Committee, Jewish Community Foundation
  • Past President, Past Board Member, Valley Estate Planners
  • Past President, Past Board Member, East Valley Estate Planning Council

ADMISSIONS

  • Arizona
  • Utah
  • U.S. District Court, District of Arizona
  • Trust and Estate Specialist (Board Certified, State Bar of Arizona)

LANGUAGES

  • Spanish, Fluent