Dave represents individuals and businesses in negotiating and structuring tax-friendly, strategically significant commercial transactions as well as planning the orderly transfer of their assets across generations. A veteran business law counselor and trusted estate planning legal advisor, he works with numerous clients who count their family business as their most valuable asset. Within Moss & Barnett, Dave leads the Wealth Preservation and Estate Planning team. He previously served on the board from 1993-2015 and as chair of the board from 2000-2015.

Dave has counseled Minnesota business owners and high-net-worth individuals for four decades in such areas as:

  • Business law
  • Business succession planning
  • Entity formation and ongoing operational counsel
  • Financing, sales, and acquisitions
  • Retention of key employees
  • Complex estate planning
  • Estate preservation
  • Tax planning

Dave has substantial experience guiding clients through major business opportunities and transactions – including acquisitions, dispositions, and mergers – across a wide range of industries. He is known as a persuasive negotiator who adds value through tax-driven, risk-reducing, and creative approaches to complex deals and financings.

When working with closely held and family businesses, Dave identifies his clients’ personal and business needs and objectives. He uses their goals as a guidepost to help transition their business and estate upon retirement, death, or other events while simultaneously minimizing estate taxes and reducing liability exposure. Dave’s deeply instilled work ethic is evident in his management of clients’ most personal legal concerns.

As one of nine children growing up on a family farm in North Dakota, Dave learned the benefits of hard work, mutual respect, and clear communication. He draws upon these values when counseling clients toward their business and estate planning goals.

Experience

  • A Sound and Sensible Business Transfer. Business owners were facing major challenges in transferring valuable businesses to the next generation, and they needed to avoid significant estate taxes and liquidity issues upon their deaths. We successfully transferred the enterprises without incurring any estate or gift taxes by using the following techniques: (1) converting the stock in the enterprises to voting and nonvoting stock; (2) gifting a portion of the nonvoting stock to special trusts designed to reduce income taxes and provide protection for the benefit of the second generation; (3) selling a portion of the nonvoting stock to a specially designed trust that resulted in no income taxes payable on the gain resulting from the sale; and (4) using significant discounts for lack of control and lack of marketability.
  • Preserving Wealth in Charitable Giving. Maintaining large amounts in IRAs or other retirement plans, which are subject to income taxes and estate taxes upon death, can result in as much as 75% of those savings being paid to federal and state governments. One solution we have devised for many clients with charitable wishes is creating their own private foundation. The foundation is named as the beneficiary of the IRA or retirement plan proceeds, and all income and estate tax on those proceeds is eliminated. Clients’ families then have the full benefit of managing all of the funds to accomplish their charitable objectives.

  • Keeping a House a Family Home. Frequently, clients have valuable and highly sentimental residential property, such as a lake home or second home in a warmer climate. We have assisted many families by developing trusts, limited liability companies, or other ownership vehicles to maintain those second homes indefinitely. One key planning technique is to provide for proper funding of the expenses of the home to ensure continuing family harmony in the use and enjoyment of those properties.

Credentials

Education

University of North Dakota School of Law, J.D.; with distinction

University of North Dakota, B.S., B.A.; summa cum laude

Certifications / Specialties

  • Certified Public Accountant, North Dakota

Admissions

  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota

Honors & Recognitions

The Best Lawyers in America (2020)

Minnesota Super Lawyers (2005-present)

“Top 40 Business & Commercial Transaction Law Super Lawyers,” Minnesota Law & Politics

Five-Star Wealth Manager, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business (2009-2013)

News & Insights

Publications

Affiliations

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Hennepin County Bar Association
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