Legal Guidance for Life

Ray Prather

Raymond Prather

Raymond "Ray" Prather, J.D., CPA

Ray’s practice focuses on estate planning, advising tax-exempt organizations, and consulting on tax issues in trust and estate litigation. Ray has advised hundreds of clients who require tailored estate planning advice due to contentious family dynamics, ownership in closely-held businesses, and taxable estates. He has helped clients starting their own business choose and set up corporate entities for liability protection and tax planning, and he has helped owners of stock in closely held businesses negotiate sales of their interest.

Ray has also developed a practice representing exempt organizations and their board members. He has advised on state and federal tax law issues related to forming exempt organizations. He has helped established organizations understand their requirements for managing funds under the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act. He has represented board members concerned about following donors’ intent under charitable gift agreements. He has helped exempt organizations obtain trust agreements and accountings of trusts when they are named as a beneficiary to help track planned gifts outside of their control.

Finally, Ray has advised dozens of clients and their litigation counsel about tax and accounting issues in lawsuits involving trusts and estate. He has counseled on litigation issues related to multi-generational trusts, charitable remainder trusts, electing small business trusts, life insurance policies, retirement plans, total return trusts and cancellation of debt.

Ray speaks and writes about his practice areas and has been recognized for his knowledge and dedication to the practice. He has served as an Adjunct Professor at the Chicago-Kent College of Law teaching Federal Transfer Taxes and Estate Planning. Ray has been elected a Fellow by the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. Ray has also been appointed to several positions in the American Bar Association’s Section on Real Property, Trust & Estate Law and is currently Chair for the Section’s Charitable Planning & Organizations Group and Trusts and Estates Editor for the Section’s eReport publication. He currently serves as Secretary for the Illinois State Bar Association’s Trusts & Estates Section Council. And he has been quoted on estate planning and tax issues in Crain’s, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, and the Chicago Tribune.

Ray also is active in the community. He is a member of Lambda Legal’s National Legacy and Planned Giving Council and Advocate Charitable Foundation’s Planned Giving Council. He is former chair of Lambda Legal’s Chicago Leadership Council where he helped organize Lambda Legal’s volunteer presence in Chicago. He is a former chair of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. And, in 2008, Windy City Times named Ray as one of the recipients of its 30 Under 30 Awards.

Ray graduated from Augustana College with a degree in accounting in 2003 and received his J.D. from the DePaul University College of Law in 2005.  Ray’s prior experience includes clerking for Supervising Judge Drella Savage in the Domestic Relations Division of Cook County Circuit Court and interning with Lambda Legal.

Licenses and Admissions

Illinois, 2006

Certified Public Accountant, Illinois, 2010

Clerk and Government Service

Clerk to the Hon. Drella Savage, Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County


DePaul University College of Law, J.D., 2005

Augustana College, B.A., Accounting, 2003

Representative Publications

Estate of Powell v. Commissioner, ABA’s Real Property and Trust and Estate Law eReport, July 2017

Estate Planning and Charitable Giving for Same-Sex Couples After United States v. Windsor, Probate & Property, September/October 2014

Proposed Regulations Affecting the Uniform Basis Rule as Applied to Charitable Remainder Trusts, ISBA Trusts & Estates, July 2014, vol. 61, no. 1 at 15

The Supreme Court DOMA Ruling, Civil Unions, and Same-Sex Marriage in Illinois, Illinois Bar Journal, September 2013

Defining a “Spouse” in Trust Documents, Trusts & Estates Journal, September 2012

Representative Presentations

Practical Skills for New Attorneys: Planning for Larger Net Worth” – Illinois State Bar Association, May 2016

Ethical Warnings for Attorneys When Working with Charitable Gifts” – American Bar Association’s Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Spring Symposium, May 2016

Obergefell v. Hodges: Tax and Estate Planning” – American Bar Association’s Joint Tax Law Section and Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Meeting, September 2015

After DOMA: How Recent SCOTUS Decisions Affect Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples” – Chicago Estate Planning Council, July 2013


American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Section, Chair for Charitable Planning and Organizations Group; Trusts and Estates Editor for the eReport; 2009-2010 Section Fellow

Illinois State Bar Association, Secretary for Trusts & Estates Section Council; 2015-2016 Chair of Standing Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Fellow

Chicago Estate Planning Council, Member

Advocate Charitable Foundation, Planned Giving Council Member

Lambda Legal, National Legacy and Planned Giving Council Member, 2009-2011 Chicago Leadership Council Chair

Community Recognition

Emerging Lawyer in areas of Trust, Will and Estate Planning Law and Closely and Privately Held Business Law by Law Bulletin Publishing Company’s Leading Lawyers, 2015, 2017 and 2018

Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine, 2016 and 2019

IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, Adjunct Professor teaching Federal Transfer Taxes and Estate Planning, 2013-2016

Windy City Times, 2008 30 Under 30 Award Recipient