Sarah Kerr Severson

Partner
Sarah Kerr Severson takes a holistic approach to helping individuals and multigenerational families implement and manage comprehensive estate plans and business succession plans.
Sarah Kerr Severson

Sarah brings an instinct for facilitating transition and a keen awareness of the “softer side,” familial and social issues, which uniquely position her to guide clients through special needs planning, wealth transfer planning and charitable planning techniques.

A counselor to those with significant wealth, Sarah assesses her client’s circumstances, diagnoses the issues and coordinates a plan that meets both immediate and long-term goals. Her holistic approach takes into account all of the financial, personal, tax and non-tax objectives in play.

Sarah recognizes that her client’s plans and established entities have lives of their own; they need continuous care and feeding. Sarah quarterbacks all issues that affect her clients and takes very seriously her role as a trusted business adviser and confidant for current and future generations. 

Client Work

  • Guiding individuals and multigenerational families through estate, trust and guardianship litigation and administration.
  • Serving as special counsel to individuals and multigenerational families when conflicts arise.  
  • Assisting multigenerational families with developing and adopting a business succession plan, including educating the next generation.
  • Educating clients about charitable planning techniques, establishing the charitable entity and advising on all administrative processes.
  • Creating the blueprint and facilitating implementation of comprehensive, client-specific, leveraged wealth transfer techniques.
  • Counseling clients through the unique planning and solutions available to individuals with special needs and disabilities, ranging from special needs trusts to guardianships.
  • Advising individual and corporate fiduciaries on all aspects of administration and liability, ranging from fiduciary best practices and risk management to representation in litigation. 

Publications, Presentations & Recognitions

    Presentations

    Sarah frequently lectures on a wide range of estate planning topics. Her audiences include professional advisory groups, employer-sponsored seminars, corporate clients and the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education (IICLE). Topics on which Sarah has spoken include:

    • "Incapacity: How to Talk About It, Identify It, and Prepare For It"
    • “The Engaged Beneficiary: What You Need to Know”, FOX Rising Gen Forum, Chicago, Ill. 
    • “Diagnostic Tools for Estate and Business Succession Planning”
    • “Becoming Financially Savvy”
    • “Planning with Life Insurance: Opportunities and Obstacles”
    • “Personal Wealth Action Plans for Private Equity Professionals”
    • “How to Inform, Inspire and Integrate the Next Generation”
    • “Time-Sensitive Estate and Gift Planning Opportunities”
    • “Managing Fiduciary Risk”
    • “Successful Women Invest in Themselves”
    • “Am I Too Young For Estate Planning?”
    • “Preparer Guide to the Federal Estate Tax Return”
    • “Planning With Disclaimers”
    • “Planning For Disabled Beneficiaries”
    • “A Roadmap Through the Estate Planning Process”
    • “Business Succession Planning Tips”
    • “Special Issues in Illinois Guardianships”

    Publications

    • Litigation in Illinois Guardianships,” in Estate, Trust, and Guardianship Litigation, 2002 Edition (2006 Update), Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education 

    Recognitions

    • Chambers High Net Worth – Private Wealth Law, Illinois (2018-2023)
    • The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers (2021-2024)
    • Illinois Leading Lawyer, Law Bulletin’s Illinois Leading Lawyers Network (2011-2021)
    • Top 100 Women Consumer Lawyers, Law Bulletin’s Illinois Leading Lawyer’s Network (2013)
    • Rising Star, Anti-Defamation League (2010)

    Boards, Memberships & Certifications

    Boards

    • Mark Morton Memorial Fund, President

    Memberships

    • Chicago Bar Association
    • Family Wealth Alliance
    • Illinois State Bar Association
    • La Grange Lawyers League