Matt Rak’s practice centers on counseling business owners and their families to create succession plans.

These plans are developed to reflect the family’s identity and to secure the family heritage, whether that be a business, charitable works, or providing safety for future generations.

These goals are best achieved by leveraging a combination of innovative estate planning and tax planning strategies. Through the planning process Matt works in tandem with clients and their advisory team to craft a plan that is well-thought out and clearly understood. The final product is an elegant solution which benefits the current client while also providing flexibility for future circumstances.

Matt listens carefully to learn the unique aspects of each business and family so that solutions are developed which take those needs into account. The plan often incorporates asset protection. This asset protection planning may use domestic asset protection trusts, limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships, life insurance, or other tools to compartmentalize risk.

Matt is often involved with entities as they transition through a liquidity event, sale, purchase, or liquidation. Matt works in conjunction with the corporate group to provide coordinated pre-transaction tax planning for business owners and their families.

Matt is experienced in all areas of estate administration and trust administration, including post-mortem tax planning. He has technical tax knowledge in the areas of income tax, gift tax, estate tax, generation-skipping tax, inheritance tax, and tax controversies.

He lectures on the benefits of estate planning, estate administration, charitable legacy planning, and oil and gas planning to other professionals in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

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Representative Matters

  • Consult with clients to evaluate planning opportunities during liquidity events such as business sales, energy leasing, lawsuit settlements, or inheritances.
  • Hold family meetings to discuss estate plans, business succession plans, and family relationships.
  • Design estate plans providing tax management, wealth stewardship, and controlled transition of wealth to future generations.
  • Development and implementation of lifetime gifting strategies, including irrevocable trusts, business trusts, charitable trusts, and spousal access trusts.
  • Counsel business owners in strategies to transfer business interests to successors or business partners.
  • Analysis of buy-sell and stock redemption agreements for family-owned businesses and key employees.
  • Sales and gifts of business interests to trusts, family members, and private foundations to achieve legacy goals and tax management.
  • Guide clients in establishing, funding, and legacy planning of family foundations.
  • Counsel clients on flexible charitable giving strategies to manage taxes and maintain client income needs.
  • Advise private foundations on operation and tax compliance issues.
  • Administer estates from death through estate closing, ranging from high net worth estates with operating businesses to insolvent estates.
  • Represent fiduciaries before the IRS and other tax authorities regarding estate, gift, and inheritance taxes.

Professional Affiliations & Honors

  • Member, Mental Health and Recovery Board of Belmont, Harrison and Monroe Counties (Ohio), 2007-2010
  • Recognized as a Pennsylvania Rising Star by Super Lawyers (2013 and 2014)


  • 2004  J.D., The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law
  • 2004  Certificate of Law and Public Policy, The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law
  • 2001  B.S., cum laude, Biology, Wheeling Jesuit University


  • Pennsylvania
  • West Virginia
  • Ohio
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia
  • United States Tax Court
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