Freeman, Freeman & Smiley LLP

Professional Details

Gary M. Stern, Partner

Gary M. Stern's practice emphasizes business transactions, taxation and estate planning.  In particular, Mr. Stern has extensive expertise in buying, selling and joint venturing of businesses, creating opportunities through domestic and foreign distribution and licensing relationships, structuring executive compensation programs, designing family business and real estate succession plans, income tax planning for businesses and real estate investors, and designing and implementing sophisticated estate planning documentation and techniques. His focus is always on creatively maximizing after-tax value, successfully completing the transaction or plan, and protecting the client against future surprises. 

In addition, Mr. Stern has considerable hands-on accounting and business experience, having passed the CPA examination in 1973, and served as head of the family office of the direct descendant of the founder of a 140-year old NYSE company, Chief Executive Officer of a real estate subsidiary of a Savings and Loan Association, and Chief Executive Officer of a national distribution and publishing company. 

Mr. Stern has been awarded an AV Preeminent® Rating by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review, the highest rating in legal ability and ethical standards.  In 2006, 2007 and again for 2011, he was named to the Southern California Super Lawyers list, a designation bestowed on only the top 5% of lawyers in this region.  He has been selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2016 and 2017 editions of Best Lawyers in America® in the field of Trusts and Estates.

Professional & Community Involvement

  • State Bar of California | Taxation, Estate Planning and Business Law Committees
  • Beverly Hills Bar Association | Taxation Committee | Past Chairman
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • American Institute of CPAs and Illinois Society of CPAs | Former Member

Presentations & Publications

  • The National Association of Accountants
  • The California Continuing Education of the Bar
  • The California Society of Certified Public Accountants
  • The CPA Foundation
  • “Living Trusts & More” | “It’s Your Estate” Workshop Series | 2014, 2015