Profiles in Membership

Probate & Property Magazine: Volume 28 No. 01

A project of the Section’s Standing Committee on Membership

Marianne R. KayanMarianne R. Kayan

Marianne is a senior manager in the Individual Global Tax Planning group of Ernst & Young’s National Personal Financial Services practice, located in Washington, D.C. She provides technical guidance to high net worth individual clients and their affiliated entities on global tax planning matters. She regularly provides advice on pre-immigration to the United States tax planning, both domestic and foreign trust taxation and compliance, and U.S. estate and gift tax planning in a cross-border context.

From the start of her career Marianne was encouraged by law firm mentors to participate in bar activities. The RPTE Fellows program provided Marianne the opportunity to attend Section meetings and to learn about all the avenues for participating in the Section. Marianne eventually moved her practice to Ernst & Young to work with her mentor from the Fellows program.

Marianne is currently the co-chair of the Section’s International Tax Planning Committee. She has been a contributor to and an editor of a forthcoming Section book: A Guide to International Estate Planning: Drafting, Compliance, and Administration Strategies, Second Edition. In 2012, she was appointed the Section Liaison to the National Conference of Lawyers and CPAs. Marianne also serves on the Section’s Publications Committee as the editor of the Insurance Counselor Series and has been involved in coordinating the development and marketing of several books and related CLE presentations.

Marianne and her husband, Mert, are parents of two young children. While traveling to a Section meeting with her toddler son, and struggling with the toddler and baggage, another Section member who was boarding the plane at exactly the right moment was an indispensable help and, as luck would have it, was sitting in the next seat. Section membership has provided Marianne with the opportunity to discuss the highs and lows of practice with members from around the country and to come away with relationships that make Section membership and her career a joy.

James Ramseyer

James Ramseyer

Jim has used his law degree in a number of settings, including private practice, as an underwriting attorney and county manager with a major title insurance underwriter, and as general counsel for a title insurance agency. He currently oversees operations and compliance for Merit Title, LLC, a Wisconsin-based title agency that operates in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.

Jim became active with the ABA in 2007, while he was a solo general practitioner in West Bend, Wisconsin. “Being on my own after many years with a Fortune 500 company made me appreciate the resources that the ABA and my state bar offer. Working with RPTE has given me a much larger perspective than I would have otherwise had in a small town, small practice setting. It also has given me the opportunity to meet and work with attorneys from around the country, who all speak the same language, and face the same challenges helping people build, buy, and hang onto homes during the recession.”

Jim’s current practice presents the daily challenge of running a successful business while completely changing its business model. Merit Title, LLC, began as a captive title company servicing a foreclosure law firm. That niche drove significant growth for several years. “I was brought in by management to help transition the operation from a foreclosure to a conventional business. Because we had been involved for many years with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and their asset companies, we were in the strange position of having a national reputation but not a local one. At first, we were ‘The biggest title company that you haven’t heard of.’ We have had to retire that slogan, as more and more and more of our business has been generated in the local market.”

Jim lives in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, with his wife, Mitzi. Grandchildren in San Diego and Houston have made those cities their preferred travel destinations.


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