The International Academy of Estate and Trust Law


Michelle B. Graham

Withers Bergman LLP
P.O. Box 2329
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067-2329

Phone: 858 400 1307
Fax: 858 759 3010

Michelle B. Graham’s practice emphasizes estate planning and tax planning strategies for both domestic and international clients. As co-head of the Private Client Services group, Ms. Graham's practice emphasizes all aspects of tax and estate planning, estate and trust administration, and tax-exempt charitable matters. Ms.
Graham has considerable experience in advising both U.S. and non-U.S. clients on tax planning matters, including planning and implementing strategies to minimize global taxation. Ms. Graham has done a substantial amount of work for migrating clients, including corporate executives moving from state to state and abroad and those choosing to retire or have a second home in California. She also has been involved in sophisticated planning for family businesses, including structuring and implementing intra-family sales, buy-sell agreements and family business succession planning.
  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV Rating
  • Best Lawyers in America®: 2014 (Trusts and Estates)
  • San Diego Super Lawyers - Most Recent Listing: 2013 (Estate Planning & Probate, International)
  • LL.M. (Taxation), University of San Diego, 1997
  • J.D., University of San Diego School of Law, 1995
  • M.A. (International Business), University of San Diego, 1992
  • B.S. (Economics), Southern Methodist University, 1989
Bar Admissions
Court Admissions
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
  • Private Client Services
    • International Estate Planning
    • Estate and Tax Planning
    • Business Succession Planning
  • Corporate
    • Tax
  • Tax-Exempt and Nonprofit Organizations
  • Action Sports
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • San Diego Humane Society Advisory Board
    • Past Board Member
  • Arthritis Foundation's National Planned Giving Committee (1996-2001)
  • San Diego Arthritis Foundation Board of Directors - Chairman of the Board of Directors (2000-2001)
  • KPBS Planned Giving Committee - Chairman
  • San Diego Planned Giving Roundtable
  • San Diego Estate Planning Council - Treasurer
  • University of San Diego
    • Planned Giving Advisory Committee
  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
  • International Academy of Estate and Trust Law
    • Academician
  • American Bar Association
  • California State Bar Association - Taxation and Tax-Exempt Organization Section
  • San Diego County Bar Association - Taxation and International Law Sections - Past Chairman of the International Law Section
  • U.S.-Mexico Bar Association (Barra de Abogados México-Estados Unidos) - Tax Section -Board of Directors
  • Society of Tax and Estate Planning Practitioners
  • Co-Author: "Preparing For an Exit - Succession Planning" - Transworld Business - January 2011.
  • Co-Author: “Estate Planning for the Business Owner" - San Diego Business Journal – Wealth Management & Succession Planning Supplement: "Restoring the Legacy" – March 29, 2010.
  • Co-Author: “Treasury Department Issues Proposed Regulations on FBARs” - March 19, 2010.
  • Co-Author: “The New IRS Wealth Squad Is Coming in 2010 - Are You Ready?” - January 5, 2010.
  • Co-Author: “Amnesty Aids Those Who Avoid Tax With Offshore Arrangements” - Los Angeles Daily Journal - February 25, 2003.
  • Co-Author: “New Money-Laundering Act May Impact Attorney-Client Relations” - Los Angeles Daily Journal - April 23, 2002.
  • Co-Author: “Collection Army” - Los Angeles Daily Journal - January 23, 2001.
  • Co-Author: “U.S. IRS Issues Regulations Impacting U.S. Persons Transferring Property to Foreign Trusts” - Tax Notes International - November 13, 2000.
  • Co-Author: “Location Limbo” - Los Angeles Daily Journal - August 22, 2000.
  • Co-Author: “Foreign Bounty” - Los Angeles Daily Journal - February 22, 2000.
Seminars And Presentations:
  • Presenter: "Planning for U.S. Clients with Foreign Property," ALI CLE International Trust and Estate Planning, The Revere Hotel Boston Common, Boston, Massachusetts, Oct. 10 - 11, 2013.
  • Panelist: "Understanding Consequences of Transfers of Title in Unfamiliar Jurisdictions," ACTEC 2013 Western Regional Meeting, Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, California, Aug. 30 - Sept. 1, 2013.
  • Presenter: "Charitable Estate Planning: Support Your Favorite Charity or Shi-Tai United Fund, Save Taxes, and Transfer Assets to your Children," Taiwanese Chamber – National Conference, Westin Atlanta Airport Hotel, Atlanta, Georgia, June 20 - 23, 2013.
  • Presenter: "Foreign Ownership of Land in Mexico; Fideicomisos and United States Reporting Matters," ACTEC, Washington D.C., October 2012.
  • Presenter: "International Trust and Estate Planning: Marital Deduction Planning for Non-Citizen Spouses," ALI CLE, Toronto, Canada, August 22-23, 2012.
  • Presenter: "Foreign Trust Versus Domestic Trust," U.S. - Mexico Current Trends in International Cross Border and Estate Planning, Riding New Reporting, Tax and Legal Challenges, Foreign Trusts, Amicorp, San Diego, August 2, 2012.
  • Presenter: "International Estate and Income Tax Planning," YMCA, June 6, 2012.
  • Presenter: "International Tax and Estate Planning Update" - Merrill Lynch Advisory Meeting - San Diego, CA - February 15, 2012.
  • Presenter: "You Have a Foreign Trust - When Trusts are Deemed Foreign Trusts and the Tax and Reporting Impolicatoins of Foreign Trusts" - Super STEP Conference (Society of Trust and Estate Practioners) - Irvine, CA - January 25, 2012.
  • Co-Presenter: "How to Structure Mexican Real Estate Holdings for the U.S. Citizen" - Arizona Estate Planning Council November Meeting - Phoenix, AZ - November 7, 2011.
  • Presenter: "Marital Deduction Planning for Non-Citizen Spouses" - International Trust and Estate Planning Conference Presented by ALI ABA - San Francisco, CA - August 18, 2011.
  • Presenter: 4th Annual STEP Pacific Rim Conference - Santa Monica, CA - May 12, 2011.
  • Presenter: “Estate Planning for the International Clients and Investors: Tax, Estate and Probate Planning- Non-US Citizen Spouses, Resident Aliens and Non-Resident Aliens; Planning Issues When Investing in Mexico” - North County Estate Planning Council April Meeting - Del Mar, CA - April 5, 2011.
  • Presenter: "How to Hold the Title to the Ski Chalet in Switzerland and the Bank Account in France: Nuts and Bolts Issues in International Estate Planning" - ACTEC Presentation - March 12 and 13, 2011.
  • Presenter: "Estate and Charitable Planning for the Business Owner" - Planning Seminar presented by the Office of Gift Planning - San Diego - January 12, 2011.
  • Moderator: "Cross-Border Tax and Estate Planning Across the Pacific (Asia, The United States and Canada); Analysis of Case Study Illustrating Typical Two-Country Planning Situations" - The 3rd Annual STEP Pacific Rim Conference - Santa Monica, CA - May 6 and 7, 2010.
  • Panelist: "Drafting Trusts Under the Laws of Jurisdictions Other Than the Domicile of the Settlor(s)" - The 3rd Annual STEP Pacific Rim Conference - Santa Monica, CA - May 6 and 7, 2010.
  • Moderator: 2009 Annual Meeting and CLE Conference - U.S.-Mexico Bar Association - November 11-13, 2009.
  • Lecturer: "Tax and Estate Planning Strategies for Non-U.S. Persons Investing in the U.S" - San Diego County Bar Association - October 14, 2008.
  • Lecturer: “International Estate Planning for the Asian Family with U.S. Ties” - Pacific Rim Advisory Committee Meeting - Seoul, South Korea - October 2007.
  • Panelist: “International Estate Planning for the Asian Family” - International Bar Association - Singapore - October 2007.
  • Panelist: “International Estate Planning & Investing Issues” - Estate Planning Council of San Diego - November 2006.
  • Lecturer: “What Every Financial Planner Should Know About Estate Planning” - The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors - October 2006.
  • Lecturer: “Cross Border Estate Planning and Probate Succession Law” -SDCBA Mexican Liaison - November 2005.
  • Lecturer: “Practical International Estate Planning: Including Planning for Non-U.S. Citizen Spouses” - SDCBA - May 2005.
  • Lecturer: “Nuts and Bolts of Charitable Planning” – SDCBA - April 2005.
  • Panelist: “Estate Planning” Women’s Day, National Estate Planning Week, Arthritis Foundation - January 1998.
  • Lecturer: “Legal Aspects of Starting and/or Expanding Your Business” - SCORE, U.S. Small Business Administration - 1996.

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