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About Kirk

Experienced counsel on wealth planning, trust and estate administration, philanthropy

Kirk Hoopingarner guides high-net-worth families and individuals on all facets of wealth planning and philanthropy. He counsels them on all aspects related to the management and transfer of wealth and has extensive experience in sophisticated charitable planning, both for individual donors and charitable organizations. Kirk's experience includes:

  • Charitable gifting techniques
  • All types of trusts used in family wealth management and transfers
  • Business succession planning
  • Family limited partnerships and limited liability companies
  • Federal and state estate and gift tax planning

For over 35 years, Kirk has advised families in the administration and transfer of wealth, always aiming to ensure the plans preserve and grow their wealth and minimize its reduction by taxes, administrative costs and litigation. Many of his clients are multi-generation families, often counseling grandchildren of clients he started representing in the late 1980s. He also counsels on charitable giving to increase tax savings while improving the impact and accountability of donations. Kirk has frequently counseled charitable organizations in administration of charitable giving and assisted in enhancing planned giving programs. 

Experience in Action

  • Prepares estate plans that often include wealth transfer techniques such as charitable split-interest trusts, irrevocable insurance trusts and family limited liability companies.
  • Counsels clients on preparing for and addressing incapacity to ensure efficient health care and financial management if incapacitated.
  • Primary advisor for numerous multi-million-dollar estates in the administration of such estates and the eventual implementation of the estate plans.
  • Prepares business succession plans to enable business owners to address long-term plans and carefully consider involvement of family in ownership and management in the future.
  • Assists clients in use of revocable living trusts to avoid probate at death and other wealth management tools to increase efficiency of wealth transfer at death.
  • Guides clients on the ever-changing estate tax laws, including planning for the possibility of a substantial decrease in the federal estate tax exemption on January 1, 2026.


  • Counseled a client over many years on the transfer of a successful family business using various techniques that resulted in gift and estate tax savings of millions of dollars.
  • In recent years, involved in many charitable distributions totaling more than $200 million.
  • Created numerous endowment funds for charities that were established in the termination of a private foundation.
  • Counseled on the settlement of an estate involving close to $25 million of charitable distributions.
  • Assisted in the administration of a multi-million-dollar taxable estate that should be completed within one year of the decedent's death.

Professional Recognitions

  • Law Bulletin Media "Illinois Leading Lawyer" (2017-present: Trust, Will & Estate Planning)
  • Best Lawyers in America® (2012-present: Trusts & Estates)
  • Illinois Super Lawyers® (2006-present: Estate Planning & Probate)

Professional & Civic Activities

  • Chicago Estate Planning Council, member
  • Corporate Responsibility Group of Greater Chicago, past president
  • Evanston Community Foundation, past chair
  • Evanston Township High School Foundation, president (2019-2020)
  • Children's Memorial Foundation, Professional Advisors Council, member
  • Chicago Zoological Society, Planned Giving Advisory Committee, member
  • McGaw YMCA of Evanston, Ill., past chair
  • Lincoln Park Zoo, Planned Giving Advisory Council, member
  • Planned Giving Today, editorial advisory board
  • The Davee Foundation, board of directors, member (2015-2019)
  • The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, member
  • Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Graduate Tax Program, adjunct professor, Tax-Exempt Organizations (2017-present)

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