Photo of Joseph E. Tierney, III

Joseph E. Tierney, III

111 East Kilbourn Avenue, 19th Floor
Milwaukee, WI 53202
P 414.273.1300
F 414.273.5840

Joseph E. Tierney, III has more than forty years of experience focused primarily on tax and corporate law for businesses, owner families and individuals.  He has particular experience in the design and administration of plans for very large estates, including some whose accumulated assets have totaled in the eight- and nine-figures.  He has also been lead counsel in the purchase and sale of numerous businesses and has extensive experience in entity selection and structuring.

Because tax consequences drive business and estate planning decisions, Joe’s counsel includes guidance in a wide range of situations to achieve both the business and personal goals of his clients.  Joe’s business practice encompasses long-term representation of companies across a broad spectrum of industries, including cold storage, gas line construction, investment management, software development, manufacturing and import-export.  Joe assists at every stage of a company’s growth and development, and advises clients in the day-to-day operation of their businesses, on issues involving personnel, compensation, and negotiation of complex financial issues.   Additionally, he has participated in negotiations with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources with respect to remediation of an important contaminated site.

In the estate planning context, Joe possesses substantial experience in charitable gifting, and the creation and supervision of many forms of charitable organizations, in addition to extensive familiarity with all appropriate tax-advantageous planning strategies.

Joe is a seasoned professional speaker and author, and has written over one hundred articles and speeches on the topic of tax law.  He is now serving as an adjunct professor at Marquette Law School.

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Estate Planning Environment in Wisconsin 

Estate Planning Environment in Wisconsin - Attorney Joseph Tierney



  • The Best Lawyers In America® (1995 - 2020)
  • Wisconsin Super Lawyers® (2005 - 2019)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated



Speeches & Publications

Author, Lessons in Entity Choice and Life from the Dodger Purchase Transaction, article in Journal of Passthrough Entities, dated July-August 2012

Author, Partnership Mergers and Divisions and the Mixing Bowl, published in New York University Tax Institute, dated December, 2011

Author, Problems with Debt in Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts When the Grantor Has Died, article in Journal of Passthrough Entities (March-April 2011)

Author, The Gift Tax, 'Transfers in Trust,' and the Post-EGTRRA Environment, article in Tax Notes, April 12, 2010

Author, Debt in the Creation of a Limited Liability Company—A View from the Third Tier, article in Journal of Passthrough Entities, July-August, 2002

Speaker, Tax Issues in Commercial Leases Timing of Rental Income and Deductions and Improvements to Leased Property, Wisconsin Bar Association, June 15, 2012

Speaker, A Review of Some of the Issues in Intra-family Loans, dated March 14, 2012 – PITS

Speaker, A Review of Some of the Issues in Intra-family Loans, dated March 9, 2012 – MEPA

Speaker, Partnership Mergers and Divisions and the Mixing Bowl, dated October, 2011 in New York and November, 2011in California

Speaker, The Tax Mechanics of Formation of Limited Liability Companies Taxed as Partnerships, dated June 10, 2011

Speaker, The Organization of Professional Sports Leagues—Promotion and Relegation, Serjeants' Inn, dated June 2, 2011

Speaker, Memorial Service Remarks, 2011MBA Memorial Service at Milwaukee County Courthouse, dated May 6, 2011

Author, Problems With Debt in Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts When the Grantor Has Died, article in CCH Financial and Estate Planning, Report No. 375, dated March 2011

Speaker, The Acquisition and Development of Some Land, dated February 18, 2011 (Barristers)

Speaker, Gift and Sale to Defective Trust, dated December 8, 2010 (PITS)

Speaker, Some thoughts on section 1022 – With us all days even onto the consummation?, dated November 12, 2010 (MEPA)

Speaker, Choice of Entity Considerations in Light of Recent and Proposed Tax Law Changes, dated September 23, 2010 (State Bar of Wisconsin - Business Law Program)

Speaker, The Ethics of Backdating, dated June 27, 2010, July 20, 2010, July 21, 2010 and September 17, 2010 (Road Show – State Bar of Wisconsin)

Author, The Meaning of “Limited Partner” in the Context of the Passive Activity Loss Rules and the Self-Employment Tax, article in Journal of Passthrough Entities, March-April, 2010

Speaker, Hard Times and a Perspective on Section 382, dated January 13, 2010 (PITS)

Speaker, Contributions of Cash and Property to Private Foundations, dated November 6, 2009 (MEPA)

Speaker, The Ethics of Backdating, dated December 5, 2008 (MEPA)

Speaker, Private Trust Companies Developments and Prospects, dated October 23, 2008 (MEPA)

Speaker, Income Taxation of the Holder of Distressed Debt, dated June 11, 2008 (PITS)

Speaker, Thoughts on the American Campaign Financing System, dated January 25, 2008 (Barristers)

Speaker, Partnership Mergers and Divisions and the Mixing Bowl, dated December 7, 2007

Speaker, Proposed Regulations under Section 2036 and 2039 Extent of Includibility of a Retained Annuity Interest, dated October 12, 2007 (MEPA)

Speaker, Partnership Mergers and Divisions and the Mixing Bowl, dated May 9, 2007 and June 13, 2007 (PITS)

Speaker, The Noncitizen Spouse In the Federal Transfer Tax System, dated January 12, 2007 (MEPA)

Speaker, Donor Advised Funds under the Pension Protection Act of 2006, Sarjeants' Inn, dated October 5, 2006

Speaker, The Internal Tax Mechanics of Limited Liability Companies, Marquette University, dated September 28, 2006

Speaker, Taxation of the "Service Partner" and the Service Partner's Partners/The New Proposed Regulations and Related Proposed Revenue Procedure, dated May 8, 2006 (The Tax Club)

Professional Organizations

  • American Bar Association
  • State Bar of Wisconsin
  • Milwaukee Bar Association
  • Professional Institute of Tax Study
  • Milwaukee Estate Planning Association