WTAS is one of the largest independent firms in the United States, providing a wide range of tax, valuation, financial advisory and related consulting services. The firm is comprised of over 500 personnel located in 14 major cities and encompasses top advisors with previous experience in the international accounting firms, law firms, IRS and state taxing authorities. Our advisors hold multiple professional credentials and have depth in a wide range of capabilities allowing us to provide clients with comprehensive, integrated solutions.
Crowe Horwath LLP is one of the largest public accounting and consulting firms in the United States. Under its core purpose of “Building Value with Values®,” Crowe assists public and private company clients in reaching their goals through audit, tax, advisory, risk, and performance services. With 26 offices and 2,400 personnel, Crowe is recognized by many organizations as one of the country’s best places to work. Crowe serves clients worldwide as an independent member of Crowe Horwath International, one of the largest networks in the world, consisting of more than 140 independent accounting and management consulting firms with offices in more than 400 cities around the world.
Blanche Lark Christerson is a managing director at Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management, where she works with clients and their advisors to help develop appropriate planning strategies. She is also the author of Tax Topics, a regular commentary on current legislation and other tax issues. Prior to joining Bankers Trust Company (now Deutsche Bank) in 1997, she was in the estate planning department at U.S. Trust for 10 years, and had primary editorial responsibility for Practical Drafting, the estate planning publication. Ms. Christerson lectures to various planning and professional organizations nationwide, and is a frequent source for the media. She received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, her J.D. from New York Law School and her LL.M. in taxation from New York University School of Law. Ms. Christerson is a member of the New York State Bar Association, the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, the Bar of the City of New York and the American Bar Association; she is also the president of the Bagby Foundation for the Musical Arts.
Jim Raaf specializes in comprehensive tax and financial planning for high net worth families and entrepreneurial businesses. He has over 29 years of experience working with clients on succession planning, estate and gift tax structuring, and income tax planning for both operating entities and their owners. Before joining WTAS, Jim was a Tax Partner in two international professional services firms and led a comprehensive wealth management team within a major financial institution. Jim’s practice focuses on:
- Succession planning for closely-held businesses
- Estate and gift tax planning
- Individual income tax planning
- Taxation of S corporations and partnerships
- Broad-based financial planning
Jim is a co-author of a book addressing entrepreneurs’ concerns surrounding succession planning and has been a contributor to a number of publications with articles relating to planning concerns for closely-held businesses and their owners.
Mr. Hills graduated summa cum laude from Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana in 1981. He then joined Crowe, where he is currently the Partner-in-Charge of the Private Client Services Group. Mr. Hills is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Indiana CPA Society, the Personal Financial Planning Division of the AICPA, and the Society of Financial Services Professionals. (Although Mr. Hills has obtained the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) designations, he is not licensed to sell any insurance or securities products.) He is a past president and current member of the Michiana Estate Planning Council, and served 8 years on the board of directors.
Mr. Hills is a frequent speaker for professional and civic organizations on estate planning and fiduciary income taxation topics, including seminars taught for PESI Law & Accounting (PESI), the Notre Dame Tax and Estate Planning Institute, the American Bankers Association, the Michigan Bankers Association, and the Illinois Bankers Association, and presentations to the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, the Young Lawyers Section of the Chicago Bar Association, and the Estate Planning Council of Indianapolis. He has written articles on various topics for publications including Estate Planning, The Tax Adviser, Hoosier Banker, TAXES -The Tax Magazine, and Kentucky Banker.
Chuck’s practice focuses on tax and estate planning for high net-worth individuals and trust and estate administration. As an undergraduate, Chuck spent a year studying at the London School of Economics. Chuck is a frequent lecturer and writer on tax and estate topics. He has been a pioneer in incorporating the computer into the practice of law, drafting document assembly systems for preparing complex estate planning documents, and developing spreadsheet and Power Point presentations to make even the most complicated estate planning concepts simple for others to understand. Named one of the Top 100 Attorneys by Worth magazine (2008-2009) and selected as a “Super Lawyer” by Philadelphia Magazine and Law & Politics Magazine (2006, 2007).