Thomas C. Hoffman, II


Tom has represented thousands of businesses and high net worth individuals during his career as a lawyer and CPA. He has helped plan hundreds of business successions for a diverse group of clients, including entrepreneurs engaged in manufacturing, oil & gas, timber, publishing and other industries in more than 15 states. He began his career as a CPA with Ernst & Young in Pittsburgh from 1990 to 1993.

Tom often uses atypical approaches seeking the best possible solution for clients’ complex ambitions and circumstances. He works closely as a team with clients’ accountants, bankers, insurance agents and wealth management advisors, aspiring to provide high quality, seamless client care. He also taps into his own working group of key strategic legal and tax advisors, including former IRS agents who bring an even broader base of knowledge and experience to bear on clients’ more unusual matters.

Tom concentrates his practice on closely held business planning, business succession planning, implementation of sophisticated estate and trust planning, administration of complex estates and trusts, and the tax consequences of these matters.

In business successions, Tom knows how to ask tough, devil’s advocate questions on whether a successor to the business will have the right skills to replace the seller’s abilities and maintain a profitable business. He also knows how to communicate difficult or thorny issues in clear, plain English. When needed, he has represented clients before the IRS in federal income, estate and gift tax cases.

He is a major contributor to our Knox Law Institute® for topics including business succession planning, estate planning, tax law, asset protection, shale energy planning, trusts, charitable giving and more.

Practice Areas

  • University of Pittsburgh School of Law, J.D.
  • Pennsylvania State University, B.S., Accounting


  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Alaska
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Tax Court


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Community and Professional Service

  • Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, Council of Fellows Member
  • Erie Center for Arts and Technology (ECAT), Board Member
  • Catholic Foundation of Northwest Pennsylvania, Board Member
  • The Foundation for Sustainable Forests, Board Member, Secretary
  • Penn State University, Gift Planning Advisory Council, Member and Former Chair (2018-2022)
  • Hagen History Center, Board of Governors
  • Hospice of Warren County, Planned Giving Council Member
  • Community Foundation of Western PA and Eastern OH, Planned Giving Advisor
  • Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, Past Board Member and Past Executive Committee Member

Professional Affiliations

  • Erie County Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Estate Planning Council of Erie, Member; Past President
  • Estate Planning Council of Pittsburgh
  • Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Tax Division Member
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)

Speaking Engagements

  • Exit Planning Summit: Panelist on Family Private Enterprise/Equity Model, April 2024
  • Firm's Annual Professional Advisor Symposium, 2013-2023
  • Forest Landowner Conference, James C. Finley Center for Private Forests at Penn State, March 2023
  • Knox Law Institute®
  • Association of Consulting Foresters Northern Regional Meeting, October 2021: Legacy and Estate Planning for the Woodland Owner
  • Webinar: The Family Private Equity Model, hosted by the Robert H. Jackson Center, September 2020
  • St. Peter Cathedral Estate Planning Seminar, 2020 & 2018
  • Webinar: Business Succession Planning for Uncertain Times, hosted by Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership, April 2020
  • Rising Rust Belt: Business Succession Session, October 2019
  • Penn State Harrisburg Business Succession Seminar, September 2019
  • Penn State Center for Private Forests/Ag Sciences Private Forest Landowner Conference, Altoona, PA, March 2015, 2017 and 2019
  • Business Succession and Family Governance Seminar for Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce, February 2019
  • Estate Planning for Association of Fundraising Professionals NWPA Chapter, January 2019
  • Elk County Community Foundation "Pay It Forward" Open House, November 2018
  • Penn State Behrend Business Succession Seminar, June 2018
  • Foundation for Sustainable Forests Loving the Land Conference, May 2015, 2016 and 2018
  • Penn State Smeal College of Business, Business Succession Seminar, April 2017
  • Clarion Forest Landowner Conference, Clarion, PA, February 2016
  • PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry Winter Meeting, State College, PA, January 2016
  • Business Succession Seminar, Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership, December 2015
  • Community Foundation of Greene County (PA) Shale Energy & Forest Legacy Estate Planning Seminar, September 2015
  • Financial Planning Association of Pittsburgh (FPA) Estate Planning Conference, September 2015
  • North Central PA Landowners Association Seminars, September and October 2014; September 2015
  • Fairbanks (Alaska) Estate Planning Council, May 2015
  • Penn State Behrend Financial Planning Seminar for Employees and Retirees, January 2015
  • Various seminars in Alaska
  • Frequently speaks about estate planning and business succession issues for various organizations including the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, PICPA, Northwest Industrial Resource Center, The Community Foundation of Western PA and Eastern OH, Foundation for Sustainable Forests, and other groups and charitable organizations

Articles and Publications

External Publications

  • Landowners, Legacies and Legalities,” first published in Pennsylvania Forests, the quarterly magazine of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association (Volume 105, Number 3; Fall 2014)

Audio Presentations