David Berek

Baker & McKenzie LLP


David A. Berek is a partner in Baker McKenzie’s Chicago office. With nearly 30 years of experience as a lawyer and tax accountant, and a multidisciplinary approach to wealth management, he was recognized as the top private client planning professional by Family Office Review in 2015. Mr. Berek also teaches as an adjunct professor in DePaul University's Master of Science in Taxation graduate program, and serves as co-editor of Baker McKenzie’s Private Wealth Management newsletter.

Practice Focus

Mr. Berek assists wealthy families, high net worth individuals, corporate executives and privately owned family businesses in advanced wealth planning, and devises transfer tax planning strategies for sophisticated partnerships and family office structures. His practice covers grantor trust planning, lifetime taxable transfers to generation-skipping transfer tax exempt trusts, self-cancelling notes, private annuities, GRAT’s, BDIT’s and BDOT’s. He also assists in creating and maintaining charitable remainder trusts, family foundations, pre-immigration planning and expatriate planning, as well as creating and maintaining DISC structures and, where appropriate, coordinating DISC’s with wealth transfer planning.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Assisted a multigenerational family in restructuring the tax and legal structure of their family office entities and investment holding partnership.
  • Counseled a prominent family on a wealth transfer involving a private annuity and self-cancelling installment note.
  • Assisted the US heirs of a multibillion-dollar family in a wealth transfer involving currency controls in multiple jurisdictions.
  • Advised several corporate executives and wealthy families on GST exempt defective grantor trust transactions.
  • Assisted as one of the primary drafters of the ACTEC Amicus Curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the decision of North Carolina v. Kaestner, a state fiduciary income tax case.

Professional Honors

  • Ranked, Chambers Private Wealth Law - Illinois (since 2021)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Rated for Trusts and Estates (since 2004)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Rated for Family Wealth Transfer (since 2004)
  • Leading Lawyers, Tax Law: Individual - Illinois (since 2011)
  • Leading Lawyers, Trust, Will & Estate Planning Law (since 2011)
  • Top Private Client Planning Professional, Family Office Review (in 2015)

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) - Fellow and Co-Chair of the State Income Tax Subcommittee for the Fiduciary Income Tax Committee
  • American Bar Association - Former Chair, Fiduciary Income Tax, Tax Section
  • Illinois State Bar Association - Former Chair, Trust & Estate Section Council
  • Chicago Bar Association - Former Chair, Estate Planning Committee
  • Certified Public Accountant (Illinois)
  • Certified Financial Planner


  • Arizona~United States (2016)
  • Florida~United States (2000)
  • Illinois~United States (1999)


  • The John Marshall Law School (LL.M., with honors Employee Benefits) (2006)
  • The John Marshall Law School (J.D., cum laude) (1999)
  • DePaul University (Accounting) (1990)


  • English


Author, "Federal Income Taxation of Decedents, Estates and Trusts," Wolters Kluwer CCH, 2019

Author, "Illinois Estate Planning, Will Drafting and Estate Administration Forms," LexisNexis 4th ed., 2009 – 2019


Presenter, "State Income Taxation of Trusts: Understand the Significance of State Residency for Fiduciary Income Tax Purposes, the State Fiduciary Income Taxation Rules and the Impact of the Recent Linn Decision," 42nd Annual Notre Dame Tax and Estate Planning Institute, 28 October 2016

Audio Podcast and Whitepaper

Co-author, "Trust Residency and State Tax Nexus Planning," ACTEC, February 2019


Co-presenter, "2016 Trust Nexus Survey Webinar: Learning from the Trust Nexus Survey," Bloomberg BNA national webinar, October 2016