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Jay Van Hyde

Joseph “Jay” Van Heyde II

Shareholder / Orlando

(407) 423-1831

Jay Van Hyde

Joseph “Jay” Van Heyde II

Attorney / Orlando

(407) 423-1831



About Joseph “Jay” Van Heyde II

Joseph (“Jay”) Van Heyde has counseled scores of owners and companies throughout the Southeastern United States to become employee owned corporations (ESOPs) as a significant part of his employee benefits practice that focuses on tax qualified retirement plans and nonqualified plans of deferred compensation.

Jay is nationally recognized in the formation of ESOPs and their use in business succession and estate planning. He has spoken across the country at various conferences of The ESOP Association and the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO).

In addition to his employee benefits expertise, he represents a significant number of Central Florida based companies with respect to their general corporate matters, including the preparation and review of their employment agreements, termination and severance agreements, shareholder agreements, stock and asset purchase agreements and general corporate compliance documentation.

Experience Highlights

Represented numerous corporations and ESOP independent trustees to form Employee Stock Ownership Plans and to sell the corporation stock to the employees through the ESOP. Served as expert witness and consultant to lender’s counsel seeking to attach Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) on the basis that the IRA grantors committed prohibited transactions and thus lost exempt status.

Represented numerous Florida corporations with respect to their tax qualified retirement plans and nonqualified plans of deferred compensation. Established numerous Phatom Stock Plans and Stock Appreciation Rights Plans for entities seeking to provide key employees with equity based compensation.

  • The Florida Bar
  • ESOP Association - Legislative and Regulatory Advisory Committee
  • ASPPA Employee Benefits Council of Central Florida - Past President
  • Notre Dame Club of Greater Orlando - Member and Past President
  • The Florida Bar Foundation, Inc. – Past Fellow
  • Florida Citrus Sports - Bowl Team Selection Committee

  • Juris Doctor Degree: The Ohio State University College of Law, Columbus, Ohio, cum laude, 1980
  • Undergraduate Degree in Accounting: University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, cum laude, 1976 - Beta Alpha Psi, Beta Gamma Sigma

  • Named an Outstanding Employee Benefits Lawyer in The Best Lawyers in America, 2006-2024
  • Named an Outstanding Litigation – ERISA Lawyer in The Best Lawyers in America, 2023
  • Named an Outstanding Employee Benefits Lawyer in Orlando Magazine, 2006-2019, 2023
  • Named Orlando Best Lawyers, Lawyer of the Year, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2013, 2015 and 2018
  • Named an Outstanding Employee Benefits/ERISA Attorney in Florida Super Lawyers Magazine, 2012-2021
  • Named an Outstanding Tax Lawyer in Florida Trend Magazine's Legal Elite, 2005-2016
  • Martindale Hubbell: Preeminent AV Rating

  • "Use of ESOPs: Business Succession & Estate Planning for Corporate & LLC Owners", Financial Institution, May 4, 2023
  • "The SECURE Act Explained", Vester & Wiler, CPAs Summer CPE Conference, Orlando, FL, June 11, 2020
  • ESOP Association, The New South Chapter Technical Roundtable; Topics, Moderator and Panelist, Orlando, FL, September 15, 2016
  • "Taxation of, and Accounting for, ESOP Transactions and Ongoing Administration", Fall Conference of the New South Chapter of the ESOP Association, Orlando, FL, September 15, 2016
  • "Assessing the Fairness of Warrants & Stock Appreciation Rights in ESOP Companies", Employee Ownership Conference 2016, National Center for Employee Ownership in Minneapolis, MN, April 12, 2016
  • "The Roles of Trustees and Board Members as Fiduciaries", The ESOP Association, New South Chapter, Altamonte Springs, FL, August 27, 2015
  • "Assessing the Fairness of Warrants and Stocks Appreciation Rights", Employee Ownership Conference 2015, National Center for Employee Ownership in Denver, CO, April 23, 2015
  • "Structuring Seller Financing with Warrants", The ESOP Association Las Vegas Convention & Trade Show, Las Vegas, Nevada, November 14, 2014
  • "Equity Compensation Basics for Private Companies", IN TUNE WITH ESOPs Fall Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, September 18th, 2014
  • "Second Stage ESOP Transactions", The ESOP Association, New South Chapter, Stone Mountain, Georgia, September 19, 2013
  • Guest speaker at the ESOP Association Las Vegas Convention & Trade Show in Nevada, November 2012
  • "How to Bulletproof Your Company from DOL and Participant Initiated ERISA Liability", The Association of Corporate Counsel (A.C.C.) Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, April 19, 2012
  • "Use of Warrants and SARs", The ESOP Association 2012 Spring Conference, Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina, March 26, 2012
  • "Fiduciary and New Fee Requirements", Employers Association Forum, Inc. Seminar, Longwood, FL, March 7, 2012
  • "Legislative, Regulatory and Judicial Update", The ESOP Association 2011 Technical Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, November 4, 2011
  • "Federal Tax Update - Employee Benefits", FICPA Summer Vacation Cluster, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, July 30, 2010
  • "Repurchase Obligations, Forecasting and Overview of Funding Methods", The ESOP Association, Tri-State Regional Conference, Pinehurst, North Carolina, March 18, 2010
  • "Increase, Decrease or Hold 'Em?", ESOP Association 2010 Winter Seminar for Minority/Majority; Owned ESOPs, The ESOP Association, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 19, 2010
  • "ESOP Distributions and Understanding Diversification", New South Chapter of the ESOP Association Fall Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, October 22, 2009
  • "Modifications to ESOP Distribution Policies - Planning for the 'High Wave' of Distribution Requests", 2009 ESOP Southeast Regional Conference, Savannah, Georgia, March 27, 2009
  • "Review of Differences Between S and C Corporation ESOPs", The ESOP Association Two-Day Technical Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, November 13, 2008
  • "Construction Industry ESOPs: Bonding and Lender Pitfalls", The ESOP Association Southeast Regional Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 6, 2008
  • "Section 409A Nonqualified Deferred Compensation", Florida Institute on Federal Taxation Conference, Orlando, Florida, December 6, 2007
  • "S Corporation ESOPs", New South Chapter of the ESOP Association, Orlando, Florida October 5, 2007
  • "Successful Financial Settlements For Your Divorce Client - Retirement And Pension Issues", NBI Seminar, Orlando, Florida, April 30, 2007
  • "The Use of ESOPs for Business Succession and Estate Planning", Indian River Estate Planning Council, Vero Beach, Florida, January 25, 2007
  • "Investing in Real Estate in IRAs", Central Florida Realty Investors Association, Melbourne, Florida, September 21, 2006
  • "Employee Benefits in Bankruptcy", Central Florida Bankruptcy Law Association, Orlando, Florida, August 17, 2006
  • "Employee Benefits in Bankruptcy", ASPPA Employee Benefits Council of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, May 16, 2006
  • "Health Savings Accounts and High Deductible Health Plans", Medical Practice Administrators of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, January 24, 2006
  • "Current Developments for ESOPs", New South Chapter of the ESOP Association, Orlando, Florida, July 22, 2005; and in Tampa, Florida, July 23, 2005
  • "COBRA Health Care Continuation Coverage", Central Florida Administrators Council, Orlando, Florida, June 9, 2004
  • "Fiduciary Responsibility and Liability Issues for ESOP Trustees", Carolinas Chapter of the ESOP Association, Charleston, South Carolina, March 2, 2001
  • "Stock Options for E-Commerce Businesses", E-Commerce Seminar - Orlando Business Journal, Orlando, Florida, May 18, 2000
  • "Current Developments in Employee Benefits", Florida Institute on Federal Taxes (Orlando), October 29, 1997
  • "Employee Leasing", Orlando Business Journal Seminar, Orlando, Florida, June 25, 1997
  • "Retirement Plan Assets in Bankruptcy", Central Florida Bankruptcy Attorneys, Orlando, Florida, May 16, 1996
  • "Overview of Employee Benefits for the Hotel/Motel Industry", Central Florida Hotel/Motel Association, Orlando, Florida, January 11, 1995
  • "Current Developments in Employee Benefits", School of Accounting, University of Central Florida CPE Seminar, Orlando, Florida, May 10, 1995
  • "Qualified Domestic Relations Orders", Seminole County Family Law Attorneys Association Orlando, Florida, February 3, 1994

  • Served as an expert witness for bankruptcy trustee to establish an IRA had been engaged in multiple prohibited transactions and to bring the IRA assets into the bankruptcy estate. Expert testimony was adopted by the bankruptcy court and upheld by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Yerian v. Webber.
  • Reorganized the ESOP of a closely held corporation to facilitate its initial public offering, and the subsequent underwritten sale of shares by the participants in the ESOP.
  • Represented companies, selling shareholders and ESOP Trustees in dozens of ESOP purchase and sale transactions for a significant number of specialty and general contractors, government contractors, architectural and engineering firms, design/build entities, manufacturing companies and professional services firms.
  • Represented ESOP trustees in transactions to sell all or a portion of the company stock to outside third parties.
  • Served as ERISA expert co-counsel in unsuccessful attempt by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to enjoin valuation firm from providing appraisal services to ERISA plans and to seek other equitable/ financial relief.
  • Served as ERISA expert in commercial litigation.
  • Represents numerous firm clients with respect to their tax qualified retirement plans, including their 401(k) plans, profit sharing plans, ESOPs and defined benefit pension plans.
  • Successfully re-qualified several retirement plans through the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) of the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Obtained several private letter rulings from the National Office of the Internal Revenue Service with respect to employee benefit and ESOP issues.
  • Designed numerous stock option, unit option, restricted stock, phantom stock, stock appreciation rights and equity based compensation plans for firm clients.

  • “Ninth Circuit Reverses Position on Arbitration of ERISA Claims” – ESOP Report “Legal Update,” September 2019
  • “ESOPs Pros and Cons – When to Implement This Tool For Business Succession Planning,” Dean Mead Tax Law Blog, October 28, 2016
  • “Minority Trustees Permitted to Bring Action Without Authorization of Majority of Trustees” – ESOP Report “Legal Update,” January 2016
  • "Who Benefits From The Benefits: You May Be Surprised" - Dean Mead Newsletter, Winter 2015
  • “District Court Dismisses Money Damages and Injunctive Relief Claims of DOL Against ESOP Valuation Firm” – ESOP Report “Legal Update”, April 2014
  • “Supreme Court Affirms the SPD is not the Plan Document and Cracks Open the Door to Equitable Relief for Fiduciary Breach” – ESOP Report “Legal Update”, June, 2011
  • “New DOL Regulations for Plan Service Providers” – ESOP Report “Legal Update”, October, 2010
  • “Employee Benefits in Bankruptcy” - Dean Mead Newsletter, First Quarter, 2006
  • “Health Savings Accounts” - Dean Mead Newsletter, Winter, 2004
  • “Stock Option Plans - The Basics and Beyond” - Business Laws, December, 2001

  • Florida
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
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