Jonathon Morrison
Jonathon Morrison



    A renowned pioneer in tax and estate planning, Jonathon’s thought leadership and reputation for developing novel, cutting edge solutions has led to multiple advances in the field of estate planning. In addition to several peer-reviewed articles featured on the cover of the Estate Planning Journal (the top national legal journal in the field of tax and estate planning), Jonathon has been featured in numerous write-ups in Forbes, Fortune, Barrons, as well as several nationally syndicated podcasts.

    After a decade practicing with preeminent estate planning law firms in Silicon Valley, Jonathon gained a mastery of virtually every estate and tax planning strategy in existence. With his unique background, Jonathon enjoys a reputation for developing advanced estate planning solutions for high income and high net worth clients whose objectives include income tax and estate tax minimization, charitable and philanthropic giving, business exit and succession planning, and asset protection.

    A senior partner and Best Lawyers® honoree, Jonathon Morrison’s practice is focused on tax, business and estate planning for clients with large or complex estates. He is licensed in both Arizona and California and is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law in California.

    Jonathon is also a frequent speaker and nationally recognized authority with respect to the “optimized gift trust” (OGT), and the “charitable lead annuity trust” (CLAT). Jonathon estimates that he has been involved in more than 200 OGTs and 250 CLAT transactions over the past 10 years, and he is frequently engaged by clients, tax advisors, and estate planning attorneys around the country to implement and provide advice with respect to both complex gift trust and CLAT transactions.

    Jonathon Morrison is the architect and published author of the “optimized gift trust” (OGT) strategy, designed for wealthy individuals who wish to reduce (and, in many cases, eliminate) their federal estate tax by making large gifts out of their estate, but retain maximum access, control, protection, and use of the assets while they are living (within IRS limits).

    Short article: “Optimized Gift Trust (OGT): Transfer Assets Out of Estate While Maximizing Retained Access & Control Over Transferred Assets,” | See also: Optimized Gift Trust FAQs

    Jonathon is also the planning pioneer and published author concerning the use of the “optimized CLAT” (OCLAT) strategy, which further optimizes for the philanthropic contributor the tax and economic benefits of a charitable lead annuity trust.

    Before Jonathon and his wife relocated to his hometown of Phoenix in 2015 to raise their children, he practiced with two of the premier estate planning law firms in Silicon Valley – most notably, the personal tax planning group associated with the preeminent venture capital law firm Wilson Sonsini, which led IPOs for virtually every major Silicon Valley-based company, including Apple, Google, Amazon, Tesla, Twitter, LinkedIn, Netflix, Pandora, and GoDaddy. As one of the top tax-planning technicians in Silicon Valley, Jonathon designed, drafted and implemented estate plans for hundreds of the wealthiest individuals in the world, including founders, C-level executives, “Midas List” venture capitalists, and angel investors associated with the world’s most prominent tech companies.

    Equipped with sophisticated tax and estate planning knowledge that is unique to the Arizona legal community, Jonathon quickly distinguished himself after his return to the Valley as one of the Phoenix area’s premier tax and estate planners.

    Jonathon has personally architected and implemented over 500 tax planning transactions using one or more of the following advanced planning strategies:

    • Optimized Gift Trust (OGT)
    • Generation-skipping dynasty trusts (GST trusts)
    • Charitable remainder trusts (CRTs)
    • Charitable lead trusts (CLATs)
    • Spousal life access trusts (SLATs)
    • Family limited partnerships (FLPs)
    • Sales to intentionally defective grantor trusts (IDGTs)
    • Grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs)
    • Irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILITs)
    • Qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTs)
    • Nevada incomplete non-grantor trusts (NING trusts)
    • Asset protection trusts (APTs), self-settled and non-self-settled
    • 678 Trusts, Beneficiary Defective Inheritors Trusts (BDITs), and “MegaTrusts” (limited to review, analysis and administration; not creation)

    Representative clients include:

    • Founders, executives, and owners of private and public companies
    • Private equity, venture capitalists, angel investors and entrepreneurs
    • Developers, syndicators and real estate investors
    • Professional athletes
    • Physicians, attorneys, accountants, executives, and other professionals
    • Philanthropists

    Practice Areas

    • Tax Planning
    • Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts
    • Business Formation
    • Probate and Trust Administration
    • M&A Transactions
    • State and Local Tax Law
    • Property Tax Law
    • California Probate, Real Estate and Taxation

    Honors & Awards

    • The Best Lawyers in America® (Closely Held Companies and Family Businesses Law), 2022-present
    • Az Business Leaders (Tax Law), AZ Big Media, 2023, 2024
    • Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law: State Bar of California

    Bar & Court Admissions

    • Arizona, 2015
    • California, 2007


    • J.D., Taxation, University of California Hastings College of Law, 2007
    • B.S., cum laude, University of Arizona Eller College of Management (Accounting & Finance), 2004

    Professional Memberships

    • State Bar of Arizona: Probate and Trust Law Section; Tax Law Section
    • State Bar of California
    • Maricopa County Bar Association
    • Central Arizona Estate Planning Council
    • Valley Estate Planners
    • Planned Giving Roundtable of Arizona

    Articles & Presentations

    Published Articles

    Select Presentations

    • “Advanced Charitable Trust Planning Strategies,” Arizona Community Foundation, Professional Advisors Series, September 2022
    • “Planning Strategies in Advance of Potential Tax Reform,” East Valley Estate Planning Council, September 2021
    • “Charitable Planning Using CLATs,” CalCPA Phoenix Tax Workshop, July 2021
    • “Pre- and Post-Sale Planning for You, Your Company and Your Family,” Northern Trust Conference for Business Owners, February 2020
    • “Estate Planning and Charitable Trust Strategies,” Desert Botanical Garden Donors Circle, Summer 2019
    • “Charitable Tax Strategies,” JP Morgan Wealth Advisors, Summer 2019
    • “California Conundrums: What Arizona Attorneys and Advisors Must Know When Planning for Clients with California Ties,” Valley Estate Planners, January 2019
    • “Using Charitable Lead Annuity Trusts To Maximize the Economic Benefits of Charitable Giving”, Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants (ASCPA) Annual Conference, June 2018
    • “Introduction to Tax-Efficient and Maximum Impact Charitable Giving,” Valley of the Sun United Way, February 2018
    • “California Conundrums: What Arizona Attorneys and Advisors Must Know When Planning for Clients with California Ties,” Scottsdale Estate Planners, January 2018
    • “Creative Charitable Lead Trust Strategies,” Valley Estate Planners, November 2017
    • “7 Uses of Charitable Trusts to Achieve a Donor’s Economic Goals,” Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), October 2017
    • “Creative Charitable Trust Strategies,” A New Leaf, May 2017
    • “Creative Charitable Trust Strategies,” Planned Giving Roundtable Annual Conference, May 2017
    • “Creative Charitable Strategies,” Maricopa County Bar Association, February 2017
    • “Zeroed Out Grantor CLAT: The High-Earner’s Charitable Super-IRA,” October 2016
    • “How to Use Grantor Charitable Lead Annuity Trusts,” Phoenix Rescue Mission, September 2016
    • “Advising Your Clients About Charitable Remainder Trusts,” Edward Jones Financial Advisors, June 2016
    • “Pre- and Post-Sale Planning for You, Your Company and Your Family,” Merrill Lynch Conference for Business Owners: M&A Solutions for Privately Held Companies, April 2016
    • “Interstate Tax Issues,” State Bar of Arizona, Probate & Trust Section, March 2016
    • “Charitable Giving Strategies,” Dignity Health, February 2015

    Community Leadership

    • Desert Botanical Garden: Planned Giving Committee
    • Ballet Arizona: Planned Giving Committee
    • Phoenix Zoo: Planned Giving Advisory Committee
    • Arizona Community Foundation (ACF): Planned Giving Advisory Committee
    • Central Arizona Estate Planning Council: Executive Board
    • Phoenix Rescue Mission: Professional Advisory Committee
    • A New Leaf: Planned Giving Advisory Committee
    • Valley of the Sun United Way: Legacy Society


    • Outside of the office, Jonathon treasures his time with his wife and two young children. They primarily live in Scottsdale, but their favorite time of the year is the summer, when the whole family sets sail to Paris to beat the Arizona heat in their Saint-Germain-des-Pres flat (and Jonathon takes advantage of the nine-hour time zone difference). Jonathon is also a performance car enthusiast and passionate collector of Ferraris, Porsches, and BMWs. On the weekend, you can usually spot him (and one of his kids riding shotgun) at Cars & Coffee or participating in high-performance driving events.


    • Phoenix, Arizona

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