Sarah M. Linsley, Partner


Sarah Linsley's practice encompasses a full range of estate planning services and services to tax-exempt organizations as well as a broad range of services in the employee benefits area.

Sarah's estate planning practice includes multigenerational planning, planning for retirement plan interests, planning for professionals and entrepreneurs, and post mortem planning and administration, including the following:

  • Planning with generation-skipping exempt and non-exempt trusts to minimize transfer tax, maximize creditor protection, and achieve other family-specific objectives.
  • Designing and implementing family investment vehicles, including trusts, partnerships, and limited liability companies, for the long-term benefit of families and/or to achieve specific tax and family objectives. 
  • Planning for special situations, including advice with respect to maintenance, restructuring, and transitioning of family businesses, creating trusts for family members with special needs, and planning for families with assets located in multiple jurisdictions. 
  • Estate and distribution planning for all types of retirement plan benefits, including qualified and non-qualified retirement plan interests, individual retirement accounts, and other income tax-sensitive interests.
  • Post-death estate and trust administration, including post-death planning; all aspects of federal estate tax practice, including return preparation, filing, negotiating, and settling of audits; and all aspects of fiduciary income tax practice, including preparation and filing of fiduciary income tax returns.
  • Representation of executors and trustees in their fiduciary capacities and of individuals in their capacities as beneficiaries in connection with disputes regarding the administration and distribution of estates and trusts. 

Sarah's tax-exempt organization practice includes general representation of tax-exempt organizations, including the following:

  • Advice on matters involving organizational and board structuring, tax exemption, unrelated business income tax, federal and state compliance, and officer, director, and trustee liability matters.
  • Creation of private foundations, supporting organizations, and public charities and qualifying such organizations for tax-exempt status.
  • Advice with respect to planned giving opportunities and implementation, including formation of pooled income funds, structuring of gift annuity programs, and establishment of single and multiple beneficiary charitable remainder trusts.
  • Advice with respect to employee benefits matters, including design and implementation of qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, welfare benefits, and employee contracts and handbooks, and ongoing advice on operation and administration of plans.
  • Preparing and reviewing state and federal tax returns (Form 990 and 990PF) and extra required filings.

Sarah's employee benefit practice includes advice with respect to benefit plan issues of mergers, acquisitions, and financings, and plan design and implementation including the following:

  • Plan design, implementation, and maintenance for all types of qualified and non-qualified retirement plans and welfare benefit plans for taxable and tax-exempt employers, including applications for determination of exempt status for qualified plans.
  • Assistance with selection of appropriate investment vehicles and compliance with requirements for participant-directed investment accounts, and review of proposed investments for determination of appropriateness. 
  • Ongoing advice on matters of day-to-day plan operation and compliance and annual reporting requirements. 
  • Negotiation with the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor on matters relating to qualification and compliance. 
  • Advice related to ERISA issues in connection with corporate and real estate-related acquisitions and divestitures.

Legal Services

Education and Honors

  • Northwestern University School of Law (J.D., 1984)
  • Harvard University (A.B., magna cum laude, 1979)

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1993
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, 1993

Professional and Civic Activities

  • Chicago Bar Association (Member)
  • Illinois State Bar Association (Member)

Professional Recognition

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated
  • Selected as an Illinois Leading Lawyer - Law Bulletin Media, 2017–present (Trust, Will & Estate Planning)
Payment Portal

You are leaving the Quarles & Brady website and being directed to the bill presentment and paying service offered by a third party provider. If you do not wish to continue to the site, click Close or use the Back button on your web browser to return the Quarles & Brady website.