George N. Harris, Jr.

George's practice focuses on domestic and international families and the many personal issues they face including complex tax, succession, and charitable planning; family offices and closely-held businesses; and the resolution of tax and fiduciary disputes. He advises families on a variety of wealth and business continuity matters and counsels families with regard to the creation and operation of private trust companies, both domestic and international, and regulated and unregulated, and other similar structures.

George serves as a fiduciary for family trusts, including responsibility for the selection and oversight of investment advisors, and he frequently provides legal advice to others who are serving in that capacity. As an extension of his family-service practice, George works closely with Wealthbridge Partners LLC, the country's leading education company for families of significant wealth, on curriculum development and governance consulting. 

During his career, George has served as counsel on the sale of several private businesses worth in excess of $100 million each, assisted the shareholders of family businesses in developing plans in anticipation of future transactions, and tried jury and non-jury cases in a variety of courts. George was lead counsel in Schott v. Commissioner, 319 F.3d 1203 (9th Cir. 2003) and Cook v. Commissioner, 269 F.3d 854 (7th Cir. 2001), two of the leading cases involving grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs).

George is a member of the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners (STEP), a London-based organization for the most senior practitioners in the field of trusts and estates. Before entering private practice, George served as a Trial Attorney in the United States Department of Justice, Tax Division. While with the Department of Justice, he received the Tax Division's Outstanding Attorney Award. George graduated from Texas A&M University (B.A., 1985) and California Western School of Law (J.D., 1990) and is licensed in the District of Columbia, New York, and Texas. 

Recent Representative Projects:

  • Analyzed proposed master fund from perspective of multiple beneficiaries with differing interests
  • Negotiated resolution of dispute between client and museum to which client had pledged several works of art
  • Designed structure to defend against potential expropriation of family operating companies by government of South American country
  • Represented domestic private foundation making significant non-US grants in examination that resulted in no change to its returns

Recent Articles & Presentations:

  • AICPA National Conference, We've Got Good News and Bad - You're the Beneficiary of a Foreign Trust (November 2012, w/ S. Vetter)
  • European Lawyer Reference Series, 2nd ed., Private Client Tax - United States (w/ S. Vetter; pub. 2012 by Thomson Reuters)
  • Co-chair, Introducing Design Thinking to Family Governance Planning (February 2012, w/ E. Perry, Collaboration for Family Flourishing Institute Conference)
  • Uncompensated use of foreign trust property: HIRE Act treats as trust distribution (June 2010, w/ J. Cherry)
  • Reporting of offshore investments - proposed regulations and the HIRE Act (May 2010, w/ J. Cherry)
  • The global financial crisis & its impact on family wealth management & families (April 2009, STEP Bermuda Conference )

Direct Line: 202.457.7210
Direct Fax: 202.318.4446
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