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Bar & Court Admissions

  • Illinois
  • Certified Public Accountant, Illinois
  • U.S. Tax Court


DePaul University College of Law, 1983, J.D.

Bradley University, 1980, B.A.


John Hayes, the leader of Pedersen & Houpt's Wealth Preservation Practice Group, is a lawyer and certified public accountant.  His practice focuses on estate planning, probate representation, trust administration, and tax consultation.

John's clients include entrepreneurs, corporate executives, owners of closely-held businesses, professional athletes, entertainers, and their respective families, all of whom have unique aims and objectives. He is adept at developing estate plans that employ sophisticated tax saving strategies while meeting the particular requirements of each individual client.

For clients whose estate plans involve gift planning issues, John devises creative solutions that respect their wishes and address their needs. These solutions include the creation of charitable trusts, foundations, family partnerships and limited liability companies, irrevocable life insurance trusts, grantor trusts, and dynasty trusts as well as other sophisticated strategies.

He handles complex estate administration matters for decedents, including the administration of trusts created to avoid probate. John has substantial experience in developing plans for complex tax elections, handling estate tax filing requirements, assisting with probate administration, and helping estate representatives enforce the wishes expressed in the decedent's estate planning documents.

Well versed in the complexities of today's tax environment, John partners with clients to structure effective income tax plans that both defer and manage tax liability. While he provides guidance on a transaction-by-transaction basis, he also represents many clients on an ongoing basis by regularly assisting them with the preparation of all federal and state income tax filings.

John was an award-winning graduate school-level instructor who has written about estate-planning issues.  He also often speaks on estate and gift tax matters.

Representative Experience

  • Testified as an expert witness on tax related issues inherent in several workers' compensation cases.
  • Represented a majority owner of a closely-held business and assisted him in gift planning by recapitalizing the company into voting and non-voting common shares and selling the non-voting shares to an Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust for the benefit of descendants.

  • Assisted a client with gift planning by implementing a perpetual trust for the benefit of descendants with distribution standards that encouraged the descendant to be a contributing member of society, and funding the trust with the client's maximum gift tax exemption.

  • Created a business succession plan that included the implementation of a shareholder agreement, recapitalization of the entity's ownership structure, and implementation of funding vehicles to fund the plan.

  • Assisted a client in establishing a private operating foundation, including drafting all organizational documentation and applying for a tax determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service.

  • Represented a corporate successor trustee in a trust reformation proceeding to reform a trust agreement so that the distribution standards were clearly established.

  • Drafted numerous estate planning vehicles including Wills, Revocable Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Charitable Split Interest Trusts, and Powers of Attorney to assist clients in meeting their estate planning goals and objectives.

Honors & Recognitions

2016, 2017, 2020, 2021 & 2022 Illinois Leading Lawyer

James F. Kidd Memorial Award for being the most exemplary part-time instructor at DePaul University's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business


Professional Affililations

Professional Affiliations

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Chicago Estate Planning Council

Illinois State Bar Association

Illinois CPA Society