Matthew Berlin (he/him/his) focuses his practice on all aspects of estate planning, trust administration and related tax matters, including FATCA compliance and offshore informational reporting. Matthew’s clients consist of individuals and families living throughout the U.S. and abroad, as well as the offshore and onshore entities they create or control to manage and pass on wealth.
Matthew advises on buy-sell agreements, insurance trusts, irrevocable defective grantor trusts, installment sales, charitable lead and remainder trusts, Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (Walton GRATS), Qualified Personal Residence Trusts, and related techniques to reduce taxation and to ensure continuity in business planning and family control.
As a fiduciary for scores of trusts, estates and charitable foundations, Matthew has extensive experience managing and administering assets, including disposition of or investment in commercial and residential real estate, fine art, intellectual property and marketable securities. He provides legal counsel and representation in all phases of trust and estate administration and related tax reporting.
As a family and property lawyer, Matthew develops and drafts prenuptial agreements, co-tenancy agreements and domestic and business partnership agreements. He advises concerning the retention and disposition of family property, jointly acquired real estate and other joint enterprises involving the equitable division or shared use of property interests. Part of his practice also entails the creation of conservation restrictions and agricultural easements to promote the conservation or preservation of rural agrarian traditions while reducing property and estate tax exposure and ensuring continued family ownership.
Matthew’s probate practice includes litigation services in connection with proof of wills, reform and interpretation of testamentary and trust instruments, and undue influence or incompetency.
Additionally, Matthew is President Emeritus of DeSoto Securities Company, a privately held company in Chicago, IL established in 1923. The Company operates a portfolio of securities for the benefit of a distinguished, high-net-worth family.
Professional and Community Involvement
- Former Executive Committee Member, Rubin and Rudman
- President Emeritus, DeSoto Securities Company
- Member, Massachusetts Bar Association
- Member, Board of Directors, Right Turn, a treatment and extended care program for addiction; 2007-2016
- Accomplished jazz and roots musician. Some of Matthew’s music projects include:
- Louie Bluie Music & Arts Festival and “Sweet Old Song,” a documentary film by Leah Mahan Productions: Sweet Old Song; Jim Kweskin – Link to site and discography; The Dixie Cookbook, Annie and the Fur Trappers, the Wolverine Jazz Band, Shinichi Otsu and Jazz in the Air, and Dan Gabel and the Abletones
Publications and Speaking Engagements
- Presenter, “Trusts and Estates Foundation: The Belgian Approach,” LegiTech (May 10, 2021)
- Lecturer , “ESCP Business School Paris: U.S. Trusts and Trust Taxation” (May 2021)
- Lecturer, “ESCP Business School Paris: U.S. Trusts and Trust Taxation” (March 17, 2020)
- Author, “Decanting: When an Irrevocable Trust Can be Modified,” Revue Internationale du Patrimoine, TRUSTS ET FONDATIONS Belgique, États-Unis, France, Italie, Luxembourg, Monaco, Québec, Suisse Partie I : Le trust, aspects civils et fiscaux, LegiTech (March 2021)
- Interviewed, “Hot Pursuit: Jazz and blues bassist Matthew Berlin,” Harvard Magazine (March- April 2020)
- “A Family Affair: Preserving and Passing on Summer Houses,” feature on succession planning for family vacation homes , Harvard Magazine (March/April 2007)