James M. Lestikow

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Springfield


James M. Lestikow, Partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in Springfield, has an active estate planning and wealth preservation practice. Reflecting his substantial estate planning experience, he was elected to Fellowship in the prestigious American College of Trust and Estate Counsel in 2001, and in 2006 was appointed a member of its Asset Protection Committee. He also practices in the areas of corporate and business law and commercial real estate.

James' estate planning and wealth preservation practice includes the drafting of wills and trusts, family limited partnerships and other devices that help clients achieve their financial goals in the most tax efficient manner and protect their assets for retirement and the next generation. He also handles estate and trust administration, as well as handling estate and trust administration disputes through alternate dispute resolution or in the probate courts and has testified as an expert witness on duties of executors / trustees, fees of executors and in attorney malpractice cases.

James also represents businesses, many of them family owned or not-for-profit associations or foundations, seeking to be organized as corporations or limited liability companies, and to obtain and maintain tax exemptions. He also helps them with their choice of business entity, and advises them on such day-today issues as employment discrimination, credit, contracts and management activities. James also offers transactional advice on asset sales, mergers, acquisitions, financing and dissolutions. He advises on succession plans for closely held and family held businesses. He handles real estate matters including financing, taxfree exchanges, purchases, sales, leasing and zoning.

Since 2006, James has been included annually in “The Best Lawyers in America®” in the area of Trusts and Estates. He has also been recognized by his peers as a “Leading Lawyer” in the categories of Trusts, Wills and Estate Planning Law. In 2005 and 2006, James was named to the Super Lawyers list in the area of Estate Planning/Trusts by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine. Since 2007, he has been named annually in Estate Planning & Probate. In 2008, he was named by Leading Lawyers Network Magazine as one of the Top 100 Leading Consumer Lawyers in Illinois and one of the Top 50 Downstate Leading Consumer Lawyers. In addition, he holds the AV® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethics and legal ability.

James is a past chair and former member of the Illinois State Bar Association’s (ISBA) Trusts and Estates Section Council. In addition, he is a past President of the Sangamon Valley Estate Planning Council and a member of the American Bar Association's Probate, Trust and Real Estate Section.

In the course of his career, he has formed and represented closely and family held businesses, and since its inception, has been recognized by his peers as a “Leading Lawyer” in the category of Closely & Privately Held Business Law. James was one of the initial members of the Advisory Board of the Central Illinois Family Business Forum sponsored by SIU Edwardsville. He has also served as chair of the ISBA Business Advice and Financial Planning Section Council. James is very active in the Illinois Bar Foundation, of which he is both a Charter and Gold Fellow. He has been appointed as a director of the Foundation and serves as its Treasurer, Chair of its Budget and Finance Committee, and a member of its Executive, Investment Oversight and Planned Giving Committees.

James is a frequent writer and speaker on estate planning topics for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE), including long-time involvement in the planning and development of its annual Estate Planning Short Course. He has contributed to numerous IICLE publications, including Asset Protection Planning, Estate Planning for Illinois Lawyers: The Basics and Beyond, and Postmortem Estate Planning.

James is a member and 2008 Chairman of the Board of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.