Clary concentrates his practice in estate planning, estate and trust administration and estate and trust-related litigation.

Overview

He has a preeminent, national reputation for developing and implementing unique solutions to complex problems, resolving intra-family disputes efficiently and sensitively and providing practical advice for current and future generations.

Prior to joining the firm, Clary was a trusts and estates partner in two large law firms, a trust administrator at First Wisconsin Trust Company (now U.S. Bank, N.A.) in Milwaukee and an assistant counsel at Centerre Trust Company of St. Louis (now Bank of America, N.A.).

Deeply involved in the intertwined legal and practical aspects of wealth preservation and transmission, Clary works on complex estates, trusts and estate planning projects, some involving assets valued at over a billion dollars. Using his substantial expertise in resolving estate, gift, generation-skipping transfer and fiduciary income tax issues, he designs tax-efficient structures for high-net worth families and individuals. His experience in fiduciary litigation encompasses will and trust construction cases, will contests, contests of trust instruments, contested claims, breach of fiduciary duty cases and other types of cases involving estates and trusts.

Experience

Clary has extensive experience in and knowledge regarding the drafting of wills, trust instruments, durable powers of attorney, marital agreements and other estate planning documents.

His tax counsel encompasses pre- and post-death tax planning for individuals, trusts and estates, preparation and filing of estate tax returns, gift tax returns and fiduciary income tax returns.

Clary represents individual and corporate fiduciaries in all aspects of estate administration, and resolves conflicts, including contentious litigation, in the Probate Division and other equity divisions of the Circuit Court.

He was the principal author and played a significant role in the enactment of the Missouri Family Trust Company Act.

As chairman of The Missouri Bar's Health Care Durable Power of Attorney Subcommittee, Clary played a significant role in the drafting and enactment of the Missouri Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Act.

He is an elected member of The American Law Institute and a fellow of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, serving on several committees and having previously served as a Regent and as Missouri State Chair.

Clary was an adjunct professor of law (Estate Planning) at Northwestern University School of Law for fifteen years.

He serves as Co-Chair of the Editorial Advisory Board of, and writes a regular column in, Trusts & Estates magazine.

Clary speaks and writes frequently on topics in the trusts and estates field. Among his numerous nationwide speaking engagements, he is the lead presenter in Cannon Financial Institute's monthly estate planning teleconference series.

News & Insights

Speaking Engagements

"The Junction of Excellent Estate Planning and Terrible Trust Administration," Community Foundation of Louisville, May 9, 2019

"Drafting and Strategy to Avoid Litigation," ACTEC Heart of America Institute, March 1, 2019

"Modification and Termination of Trusts: A Double-Edged Sword," Arkansas Bar Association 2019 Mid-Year Meeting, February 7, 2019

"Income Tax Considerations in Estate Planning and Estate and Trust Administration," Arkansas Bar Association 2019 Mid-Year Meeting, February 7, 2019

"The Junction of Excellent Estate Planning and Terrible Trust Administration," Arkansas Bar Association 2019 Mid-Year Meeting, February 7, 2019

"Recent Developments and Current Trends in Estate Planning," USC Gould School of Law 2019 Tax Institute, January 30, 2019

"We Saw. We Heard. We Read. We Learned." 53rd Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, January 18, 2019

"Basis Bonanza: Dealing With Consistency Rules and Generating Step-Up," Estate Planning Council of St. Louis, December 10, 2018

"To Be or Not to Be a Directed Trustee; Understanding the Duties, Responsibilities, Risks and Rewards," 55th Annual Hawaii Tax Institute, Hawaii Tax Institute Foundation and Chaminade University of Honolulu, November 6, 2018

"Recent Development Facing All Wealth Transfer Tax Changes Under the Trump Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," 55th Annual Hawaii Tax Institute Foundation and Chaminade University of Honolulu, November 5, 2018 

"Estate Planning and Administration After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," 53rd Annual Southern Federal Tax Institute, October 25, 2018

"Do 'Huge' Changes in the Tax Law Make Estate Planning Great Again?" 66th Annual Montana Tax Institute, October 19, 2018

"Estate Planning in 2018," The Red Shield Symposium (Salvation Army), October 16, 2018

"When Actions Speak Louder Than Words," The Red Shield Symposium (Salvation Army), October 16, 2018

"Designing and Administering Trust Distribution Mechanisms," The Red Shield Symposium (Salvation Army), October 16, 2018

"Ethics Issues Facing Trusts and Estates Practitioners," The Red Shield Symposium (Salvation Army), October 16, 2018

"Current Developments of Importance to Estate Planners," 44th Annual Notre Dame Estate Planning Institute, October 11, 2018

"Do 'Huge' Changes in the Tax Law Make Estate Planning Great Again?" Kansas City Estate Planning Society, September 20, 2018 

"Disclaimers in Estate Planning: Basic Rules and Interesting Uses," 45th Annual Midwest-Midsouth Estate Planning Institute, University of Kentucky College of Law, July 11, 2018

"Notable Developments in Estate Planning," 45th Annual Midwest-Midsouth Estate Planning Institute, University of Kentucky College of Law, July 11, 2018

"Situational Planning: Here’s What We Got; Here’s What We Do; and Why We Do This and Not That," 45th Annual Midwest-Midsouth Estate Planning Institute, University of Kentucky College of Law, July 11, 2018

"All The Fun We Are Having Now: Reflections on Current Planning Opportunities and Recent Developments with a Special Emphasis on Generating New Basis," 42nd Annual American Institute on Federal Taxation, June 27, 2018

"Do 'Huge' Changes in the Tax Law Make Estate Planning Great Again?" 29th Annual Trust & Estate Planning Institute, The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, May 3, 2018 

"Basis Bonanza: A Few Creative Ways to Generate Basis Step-Up," 2018 MOKAN Trust & Financial Services Conference, May 2, 2018 

"Protecting Beneficiaries from Themselves and Others," 2018 Spring Meeting, Special Needs Alliance, March 22, 2018 

Publications

"When Diversification by a Trustee May Not be Necessary," Trusts & Estates, May 2019

"Making Trust Distributions to Reduce Overall Income Taxes," Trusts & Estates, March 2019

"Charting a New Course for Estate Planners in 2019," Trusts & Estates, January 2019

"Unexpected Consequences of Irrevocable Grantor Trusts," Trusts & Estates, November 2018

"Diving into Discretionary Distributions," Trusts & Estates, September 2018 

"Are Will Execution Formalities Outmoded?," Trusts & Estates, July 2018 

"Designating a Beneficiary – Not as Simple as it May Appear," Trusts & Estates, May 2018 

"Decanting Dilemmas," Trusts & Estates, March 2018

"Many Momentous Mileposts for Estate Planners in 2017," Trusts & Estates, January 2018

"Choice of Law," Trusts & Estates, November 2017 

"Guidance for Avoiding Malpractice in Estate Planning," Estate Planning, October 2017

"Answering to Beneficiaries," Trusts & Estates, September 2017

"Determining Acceptance of Fiduciary Role – Not Always Simple but Critical," Trusts & Estates, July 2017

"The Most Difficult Decision of My Career," Trusts & Estates, May 2017 

"The Biggest Lie in Life Insurance," Trusts & Estates, March 2017

"A Turbulent Time of Twists and Turns," Trusts & Estates, January 2017

"When Actions Speak Louder Than Words," Trusts & Estates November 2016

"Don't Overlook the Power of Powers," Trusts & Estates, September 2016

"State Tax Stew," Trusts & Estates, July 2016

"Estate Planning on the Rocks," Trusts & Estates, May 2016

"Basis Bonanza: A Few Creative Ways to Generate Step-Up," Trusts & Estates, March 2016

"An Eventful Year: Important Legislative, Regulatory and Case Law Developments," Trusts & Estates, January 2016

"Is a BDIT Better?," Trusts & Estates, November 2015

"Directed Trusts – Who's Responsible?," Trusts & Estates, September 2015 

"The Ultimate in Dead Hand Control - Incentive Trusts - Part II," Trusts & Estates, July 2015

“The Ultimate in Dead Hand Control – Incentive Trusts – Part I,” Trusts & Estates, May 2015

“Flexibility vs. Certainty – Has the Pendulum Swung Too Far,” Trusts & Estates, March 2015

“A New Array of Problems and Possibilities,” Trusts & Estates, January 2015

Recognitions

Recognitions

Inducted into the Estate Planning Hall of Fame® by the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils, November 8, 2018

Received The Missouri Bar President's Award, 1991

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America®

Recognized as Best Lawyers'  2012 St. Louis Trusts and Estates Lawyer of the Year

Recognized as Best Lawyers’  2012 - 2015 St. Louis Litigation - Trusts and Estates Lawyer of the Year

Recognized as one of America’s Leading Lawyers by Chambers High Net Worth in the "Private Wealth Law" category for the Central Region of the U.S. as well as for Missouri. In the 2019 edition, Clary is recognized as a highly regarded practitioner with extensive experience assisting clients with a variety of estate planning matters. Sources say, "He's fabulous. I have no problem putting him in front of clients at any time. He is very matter-of-fact, he'll tell you what the rules are - he's very good at explaining risk," and "He's a technical expert, he's always thinking about a solution or how we could get something done, and takes action."

Professional & Civic Activities

Professional & Civic Activities

State Bar of Wisconsin

The Missouri Bar, Probate and Trust Committee

Illinois State Bar Association, Section on Trusts and Estates

The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, Probate and Trust Section, Past Chairman

American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), Fellow (Past Regent; Past Missouri State Chair)

American Law Institute, Elected Member

Estate Planning Council of St. Louis

Admissions

  • Illinois, 1991
  • Missouri, 1980
  • Wisconsin, 1979
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. Tax Court 

Education

Saint Louis University, J.D., 1979

Saint Louis University, B.A., History, summa cum laude, 1976

  • Phi Beta Kappa
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