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Business Law
Serving The Woodlands

STEVEN J. CLAUSEN

Senior Member

STEVEN J. CLAUSEN is a very experienced tax, business and wealth preservation attorney who actively represents clients located in The Woodlands, Houston, San Antonio and Austin as well as other cities in Texas. He focuses on representing family-owned businesses and their owners, high net worth families and individuals, and executors and trustees.

His practice includes tax and estate planning, business succession planning, business entity formation, organization and restructuring, asset protection, farm and ranch planning and charitable planning. Mr. Clausen educates and counsels business owners and other high net worth individuals on tax, wealth management, asset protection and asset transfer strategies (including charitable planned giving) to provide for their financial security and the financial security of their families, to help minimize the taxes that would be imposed on them and their estates, how to structure or restructure the family business so that it may be passed on to succeeding generations of the family so that the death of the owner does not force the sale of the business, and how to position a family business for an exit strategy, investment or joint venture.

With over 35 years of experience in advising high net worth clients, Mr. Clausen is familiar with the desire of such clients to preserve and protect their wealth, to maintain control of their assets, and to minimize taxation. Mr. Clausen also provides family business consulting services.

He serves or has served as a member of the board of directors of various not for profit organizations and closely held businesses, including chairman of The Planned Giving Council of Texas State University—San Marcos, chairman of Helping the Aging, Needy and Disabled, Inc., Austin, Texas, Estate Planning Council of Central Texas, San Antonio Estate Planning Council, the Planned Giving Council of Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, the Society of Financial Service Professionals, Austin, Texas, and the Onion Creek Homeowner’s Association, as well as a trust protector, trustee and executor for various clients.

He is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating an attorney can receive from such organization, is board certified in estate planning and probate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is a former adjunct professor in the graduate tax program at the University of Missouri Law School-Kansas City.

Mr. Clausen is a member of Attorneys for Family-Held Enterprises and a former chairman of the Wealth Preservation Group of Butler & Binion, L.L.P., former co-chairman of Wealth Preservation Group of Winstead, Sechrest & Minick, P.C., and former chairman of the wealth preservation & Probate Group of Caldwell East & Finlayson PLLC. He was named as one of the best San Antonio lawyers of 2020 in Estate Planning & Trusts. He earned his J.D. degree, with high distinction, from the University of Iowa College of Law where he was elected to Order of the Coif, his Master of Laws degree in taxation from New York University and his M.B.A. degree from Southern Methodist University where he was elected to Beta Gamma Sigma and was first in his class.

Contact

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  • Successful representation before the Internal Revenue Service, including filing petition in the United States Tax Court, to support executor's position on the U.S. Estate Tax Return involving a substantial discount for the undivided one-half interest or deceased co-owner in two large South Texas ranches;
  • Successful representation before the Internal Revenue Service, including filing petition in the United States Tax Court, to support executor's position on U.S. Estate Tax Return involving substantial discount for the deceased owner's interest in a family limited partnership containing in excess of 500 million dollars in assets that was created and funded within one week of owner's death;
  • Structured the corporate succession plan of an independent oil company with a value of twenty-five million dollars owned by adult children: issues included identifying members of next generation having the talent and interest to take over the company, addressing the needs of the other members of the next generation, adequately providing for the current generation, recapitalizing the company, and revising buy-sell agreement and estate plans;
  • Counsel to family office in estate planning for family members, formation of investment partnerships, and formation and restructuring of family business entities;
  • Counsel to owners or closely-held companies, including inter-generational transfer of equity to dynasty trusts and developing exit strategies for older generations;
  • Counsel to representatives of deceased principal owner of privately owned company with a value of thirty million dollars, including valuation of decedent's interest, analysis of fiduciary obligations of representations to shareholders, review of control issues, and implementation of Section 303 Redemption;
  • Counsel to oil and gas family regarding the structuring and formation of limited partnership having over five hundred million dollars in assets, developing a business succession plan, and using a private foundation as a limited partner to provide a vehicle for promoting the families' philanthropic activities while minimizing the cost of transferring the family business to the next generation;
  • Counsel to fiduciary in reformation action involving whether the modification of an irrevocable trust having over four hundred million dollars in assets would terminate the status of the trust as a grandfathered trust for federal generation-skipping transfer tax purposes;
  • Counsel owner of winery regarding development of business succession plan and disposition of eighty million dollars in assets among multiple generations in tax efficient manner, including creation of dynasty trust in South Dakota;
  • Successful representation before the Internal Revenue Service to support executor’s position on U. S. Gin Tax Returns and U. S. Estate Tax Return involving substantial discounts for closely-held companies and a pre-death sale for a private annuity;
  • Counsel closely-held businesses and their owners on a wide array of corporate and taxation issues, including acquisitions, dispositions, and management equity incentives;
  • Counsel to a family office in formation and structuring of private trust company to be owned by various trusts of two unrelated families, also obtained the related private letter rulings and the necessary reformations of several trusts;
  • Administrative aspects of federal tax law, including private letter rulings and technical advice;
  • Reformation, modification, construction and termination of irrevocable trusts through state court proceedings; representations of fiduciaries and beneficiaries in litigation relating to probate or fiduciary law matters;
  • Estate and trust administration (including advising individual and corporate executors and trustees as to their fiduciary on various state law and federal tax matters), preparation of estate returns and fiduciary income tax returns.
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