John R. Wiktor

John R. Wiktor

JOHN R. WIKTOR is Chair of HMB's Trusts & Estates practice. John focuses his practice on business law, trusts and estates and charitable planning and believes that in order to properly counsel his clients, it is necessary that he go beyond a simple client questionnaire to deeply understand his client's family situation and the inner workings of his client's business. He also believes it a necessity to constantly probe pertinent issues that help focus a client's goals and expectations. To that end, for example, for business-owning clients, John routinely spends time visiting a client's business in person to better understand the business's structure and day-to-day operations. John also takes pride in being incredibly responsive and available to his clients, whether it means meeting a client when needed or striving to immediately return a phone call or email. 

Complex Estate Planning and Administration

John's sophisticated wealth, business and tax planning practice includes planning and document preparation for the wealth management and transfer of individuals, families, business owners and athletes. Specifically, John advises clients on income, corporate, estate, gift and generation skipping tax considerations. He also counsels business owners and wealthy individuals on transfer tax issues through the use of complex techniques such as family limited partnerships, premarital agreements, grantor retained annuity trusts, sales to grantor trusts and private annuities. In addition, John represents fiduciaries charged with the responsibility of handling complex administration matters relating to tax, probate, investments, risk management, beneficiary relations and other probate and trust administration matters.

Trust and Estate Litigation

John regularly advises and represents fiduciaries, settlors, beneficiaries and interested third parties, including banks and charitable institutions, in a wide variety of administration, litigation and litigation prevention matters. John represents clients in will and trust contests, will and trust construction actions where the meaning of a governing instrument is in question, and guardianship proceedings. John also represents clients in actions of alleged breach of fiduciary duty and accounting proceedings. John's goal is to work hand-in-hand with his clients to develop a strategic approach to sophisticated trust and litigation matters with a goal of not only achieving specific results, but also where appropriate, maintaining civility in contested matters.

Business Planning

John regularly advises his business clients on day-to-day corporate issues. In addition, John is intricately involved with his business-owning clients on issues related to shareholder agreements, real estate and tax. When a business owner is ready to transition ownership, John counsels on third-party sales and transfers to family members. John recently worked with a middle-market family business to structure a transaction that provided an intergenerational transfer of the family business while also achieving the tax and charitable goals of the chief business owner.

Charitable Planning

John has been counseling charities and foundations for fifteen years and has the expertise necessary to navigate the complex world of charitable planning. John works with clients from both the "donee" and "donor" side of charitable planning. On the "donee" side, John advises charitable entities ranging from large public charities to sophisticated private family foundations to simple grant-making organizations. Many of these organizations have sought John's help on issues related to governance, tax and the structure of gift agreements. For example, John recently helped two charitable organizations establish and strengthen their planned giving departments. From the "donor" side, John believes every initial estate planning meeting should involve a discussion of the client's charitable motivations, and he has structured many charitable gift agreements for his clients to allow their legacy to live on after death. John regularly advises his clients on private foundations, charitable gift agreements and charitable tax structures. John has also counseled many of his business clients on charitable planning associated with the transfer or sale of their business during their lifetime or upon death.

Articles and Speeches

John is a frequent lecturer and has authored more than a dozen publications on estate, business and charitable planning issues. For example, John is one of the authors of the BNA Tax Management Portfolio: Private Foundations, Excess Business Holdings and has recently published articles in Family Foundation Advisor, Journal of Taxation of Investments, College and University Law Advisor and Real Estate Law Journal.


Industries Served

  • Banking
  • Entrepreneur/Start-Up Companies
  • Financial Services
  • Not-For-Profit Organizations




      • Contact Information
      • Bar Admissions
        • Illinois
        • Indiana
      • Education
        • Loyola University Chicago School of Law, J.D. with honors
        • University of Michigan, B.A. in History

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