In my practice, I most enjoy working with individuals and families in discovering thoughtful and customized solutions to the particular challenges associated with prosperity.

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T. JAMES LEE

Terry James (“Jim”) Lee advises clients in estate planning, private wealth law, tax and business law, international matters, and real estate and commercial transactions. He also counsels business founders and their families on matters of family governance, privacy, and issues of especial importance to high-profile and ultra-high net worth families and individuals.

Jim leads our family office and private client attorneys, a specialized group of advisors providing multidisciplinary resources and bespoke solutions for sensitive and pressing family concerns, values-based wealth transfer, and business succession. Leveraging his background in business, economics, and accounting, he assists clients with the structuring and implementation of trusts (including grantor trusts, such as IDGTs, GRATs, and QPRTs), family offices, private trust companies, family limited partnerships, LLCs, corporations, and other sophisticated tax and investment vehicles and techniques.

A testament to his abilities, Jim has a referral-only, concierge practice. He has developed a reputation for being an inventive, outside-the-box problem-solver, and for being fiercely loyal to his clients. This client-oriented approach means Jim designs estate and business plans to meet the needs of each family’s personal vision. As an example, trusts and business succession plans can be customized to provide incentives to beneficiaries and successors, such as children and grandchildren, to become productive and contributing members of society. Often known as the family’s lawyer, Jim develops long-term relationships that help promote continuity from generation to generation, while respecting individual thought and new perspectives.

Throughout his career, Jim has also advised clients on planned giving methods, including establishing charitable remainder and lead trusts, private foundations, public charities, and other tax-exempt organizations. Coming full circle, he advises trustees and executors on their fiduciary responsibilities and tax implications in the administration and distribution of trusts and probate estates.

Jim is fluent in Spanish, and many years ago, while living in a foreign country, he witnessed firsthand the impact attorneys can have helping others with their legal and familial goals and objectives. He cherishes opportunities to help people in his role as an analytical thinker, writer, and advocate.

Jim enjoys time with his family, composing music, and experiencing other cultures and languages. For seven years he performed as a member of the Phoenix Boys Choir, entertaining and touring throughout the United States and abroad. “Because of those early eye-opening experiences, the desire to meet and appreciate other people and their customs and beliefs,” he says, “has never quite left me. When a guest in another country, I prefer not only to visit but also to interact with its people. They then become a part of you, and you become an ambassador of both your home country and that part of the world you have come to know. Phoenix, Arizona is my base camp.”

Married with six now-adult children, Jim once saw himself as “the roadie” and sound engineer for his kids’ mobile DJ business—a business Jim too once had back in high school. You might have found him playing at schools, weddings, and private events. His go-to song? Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

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 in trusts and estates 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 has one of the most robust estate and trust litigation practices in the Southwest and California.

Welcome to one of the largest and most sophisticated estate planning practices in the Southwest and California.

Serving ultra-high net worth individuals, families, and their business concerns.

Taxes are a significant expense for any business and most individuals, and tax planning should not be an afterthought.

Thoughtful and careful preparation of estate plan documents is key to wealth preservation and transition. Proper implementation and diligent administration are equally critical.

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

  • Co-author, “Arizona Estate Planning: Income, Estate, Gift, and GST Taxation,” DT Publishing Company, Vols. 1 and 2 supplements, 2020
  • Presenter, “Qualified Small Business Stock,” AZCLE Entity Selection and Issues for the Estate Planner, sponsored by the State Bar of Arizona, October 13, 2020
  • Contributing author, “Recent Tax Developments – 2020 April – Refresher on Benefits Under The CARES Act,” Fennemore Client Alert, May 4, 2020
  • Co-author, “IRS and the Arizona Department of Revenue Extend Tax Filing Deadlines to July 15,” Fennemore Client Alert, March 26, 2020
  • Contributing author, “Recent Tax Developments – 2020 January – The SECURE Act (Individuals),” Fennemore Client Alert, January 9, 2020
  • Contributing author, “End of Year Tax Saving Moves – 2019,” Fennemore Client Alert, December 30, 2019
  • Contributing author, “Recent Tax Developments – December 2019,” Fennemore Client Alert, December 23, 2019
  • Contributing author, “Recent Tax Developments – 2019 April,” Fennemore Client Alert, 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
  • Contributing author, “Recent Tax Developments – 2018 August,” Fennemore Client Alert, August 8, 2018
  • Contributing author, “Recent Tax Developments – 2018 July,” Fennemore Client Alert, 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 Client Alert, January 23, 2018
  • Speaker, “Partnership Audit Rules,” Summer Meeting, ACTEC, Chicago, Illinois, 2018
  • Contributing author, “Tax Planning Checklists – 2017 End of Year,” Fennemore Client Alert, October 16, 2017
  • Contributing author, “Recent Tax Developments – 2017 April,” Fennemore Client Alert, 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
  • Contributing author, “Tax Planning Checklists – 2016 End of Year,” Fennemore Client Alert, November 4, 2016
  • Contributing author, “Recent Tax Developments – October 2016,” Fennemore Client Alert, October 26, 2016
  • Contributing author, “Valuation Discounts: Going, Going,…” Fennemore Client Alert, 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 Client Alert, January 14, 2016
  • Contributing author, “Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015,” Fennemore Client Alert, August 12, 2015
  • Contributing author, “2015 Second Quarter Tax Developments,” Fennemore Client Alert, July 20, 2015
  • Contributing author, “Tax Developments For First Quarter 2015,” April 29, 2015
  • Contributing author, “Families of Those With Disabilities: New ‘Able Accounts’,” Fennemore Client Alert, April 1, 2015
  • Contributing author, “Tax Developments in February 2015,” Fennemore Client Alert, March 1, 2015
  • Contributing author, “Tax Developments in 2015,” Fennemore Client Alert, 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
  • Contributing author, “Tax Developments in 2014,” Fennemore Client Alert, December 15, 2014
  • Contributing author, “Tax, Business and Estate Planning,” Fennemore Client Alert, 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 and Gift Acceptance Committee, Arizona Community Foundation
  • Trustee, Phoenix Boys Choir
  • 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
  • Inaugural Member, TGen Ambassadors, Translational Genomics Research Institute
  • Member, Committee on Estate and Gift Taxes, Taxation Section, American Bar Association
  • Past Chair and Member, Estate and Trust Advisory Commission, State Bar of Arizona
  • 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
  • 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)