Eric R. Wilen
A skilled and trusted estate planning professional with more than 20 years of experience dedicated to helping clients meet their goals by developing customized estate and wealth transfer plans. A diligent trusts and estates practitioner assisting corporate and individual fiduciaries with meeting the duties and responsibilities of administering estates and trusts. A very experienced and knowledgeable tax professional in structuring transactions for a tax efficient result and advising on federal and state compliance and controversy issues. Extensive corporate transactional experience working with small and middle market business owners on entity formation, contracts, business mergers, acquisitions and succession planning.
Practice Areas: Business Law, Taxation, Trusts & Estates
Eric’s practice is focused on representing small and middle market business owners and high net worth families in the areas of estate planning, business succession planning, wealth transfer planning and asset protection planning.
Eric has substantial expertise in counseling both corporate and individual fiduciaries in a wide range of issues relating to the administration of estates and trusts whether it is representing an executor or guardian in court proceedings, preparing estate and inheritance tax returns and fiduciary income tax returns, allocating assets to marital QTIP trusts, credit-shelter or family trusts, descendants spendthrift trusts and other successor trusts while preserving generation-skipping tax elections for each trust, resolving disputes among family members and other beneficiaries concerning undue influence and fiduciary actions, or advising on accountings and planning for the final settlement with the beneficiaries. Eric has represented both beneficiaries and fiduciaries in contested estate and trust matters and will use his experience to assist clients with the mediation of estate and trust disputes.
Eric is an expert on trusts, whether its drafting a specialized defective grantor trust, a charitable remainder trust, irrevocable insurance trusts with dynasty trust provisions or fixing a trust which can no longer carry on its intended purpose. Eric approaches trust problems like a “trust mechanic” using tools like non-judicial settlement agreements, decanting a trust into another trust and trust protectors to effectuate the necessary changes to the trust instrument. Eric is a strong proponent of the “directed” trust approach where the role of the trustee can be bifurcated among investment advisors, distribution advisors and trust protectors.
Eric regularly advises couples and young families in preparing wills which designate appropriate guardians for young children while preserving assets for them until they reach the age of maturity. Eric will work with seniors by designing revocable “living” trusts to hold their assets, prepare powers of attorney to protect their property and preserve their desires concerning health care and assisting with guardianship proceedings for disabled adults.
Eric is a tax lawyer with substantial expertise in many areas of the tax law ranging from advising start-ups on choice of entity issues, addressing income tax issues for family controlled and closely-held entities, assisting individuals with income tax and gift tax compliance matters and representing taxpayers in controversies with the Internal Revenue Service and other tax authorities.
Eric often acts as a general business counsel for start-up entrepreneurs and established small and mid-sized businesses with leases, contracts, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and employment matters. Eric’s extensive tax background provides clients with an opportunity to develop and implement a customized business succession plan to preserve the founder’s business legacy for future generations.
Eric obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the Michigan State University, Eli Broad College of Business. After undergraduate college, Eric attended the Detroit College of Law (which is now known as Michigan State University College of Law) having received his J.D., cum laude. Eric pursued graduate legal studies at the New York University School of Law receiving an LL.M. in Taxation. Eric is licensed to practice in the State of Illinois and the State of Michigan. Eric has also been admitted to practice before the United States Tax Court and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Eric is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, Trusts and Estates Section, the DuPage County Bar Association Estate Planning and Probate Section, the Fox Valley Chapter of the Illinois CPA Society, and a member of the DuPage County Estate Planning Council serving on the board of directors since 2017.
Eric is a long-time resident of Naperville along with his wife and children. Eric is very active in the community by serving as the Board President of Senior Home Sharing, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing seniors in DuPage County with an opportunity to live independently in affordable family-style homes. Eric has been a leader for his son’s Cub Scout Pack, a swim official in the Naperville Swim Conference and has coached numerous youth sports teams with the Wheatland Athletic Association, Naperville Youth Football League, Supreme Courts and i9 Sports.
Education, Background & Experience
New York University School of Law, New York, NY
Master of Laws in Taxation (1995)
Michigan State University School of Law, East Lansing, MI
Juris Doctorate (1994)
American Jurisprudence Award – Domestic Relations
Highest Grade – Corporate Income Taxation
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Bachelor of Arts in Finance (1991)
Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity
- Licensed Attorney, State of Illinois
- Licensed Attorney, State of Michigan
DuPage County Estate Planning Council, Member (Board Member 2017 – Present)
Illinois CPA Society, Fox Valley Chapter, Member
Illinois State Bar Association, Member, Trusts and Estates Section
DuPage County Bar Association, Member, Estate Planning and Probate Section
- Estate Planning
- Wealth Transfer Planning
- Business Succession Planning
- Asset Protection Planning
- Charitable Gift Planning
- Probate, Guardianships and Contested Estates
- Trust Administration and Settlement
- Corporate Fiduciary Services
- Federal and State Taxation
- Corporation and Limited Liability Company Formation
- Estate and Trust Mediation and Dispute Resolution
- Family Office Services
- Estate and Gift Tax Return Preparation
- Fiduciary Income Tax Return Preparation
- Why You Need a Power of Attorney for Health Care (Disabled and Retired Firefighters Newsletter – Fall 2018)
- Step By Step Guide for Drafting Wills and Trusts, Basic Tax Concerns (Presentation: National Business Institute – February 2019)
Are You Holding Appreciated Assets? Reviewing Estate Plans in Light of Recent Market Fluctuations (Newsletter Publication – November 2015)
Estate Planning 101: The Basics (Presentation: Waddell & Reed – March 2014)
Illinois Taxation of Trust Unconstitutional (Newsletter Publication – February 2014)
Estate Planning (Presentation: Edward Jones – November 2011)
New Federal Estate and Gift Laws Present New Estate Planning Opportunities (Newsletter Publication – February 2011)
Uncertainty of Federal Estate and Gift Taxes (Newsletter Publication – August 2010)
Choice of Business Entity (Presentation: Evenhouse & Co., CPAs – October 2007)
Legal Aspects of Buying a Business (Presentation: Joseph Associates – September 2006)
Business Exit Planning (Presentation: Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce – March 2006)
- Senior Home Sharing, Board Member (Board President, 2016 – 2018)
- Rotary Club of Naperville Sunrise, St. Paddy’s Day 5K Committee (2018-2019)
- Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, Member