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William E. Karnatz, JR.


In 1995 I started my career in a very well-respected trust department within a large Cleveland bank and fell in love with the richness of the trust business:  the development of uniquely personal client relationships, as well as the opportunity to be trained by and work alongside incredibly dedicated trust professionals. As the wealth management business has evolved, and with it an ever-increasing focus on investment management, Western Reserve was formed to recapture the traditional, rich approach to the trust business; its clients are like partners and employees are client centric trust professionals. It is our mission to bring back the personal touch of a caring institutional trustee, run by trust professionals.

Bill Karnatz is a co-founder of Western Reserve Trust Company and has over 25 years of experience in the trusts and estates industry. In his role as President, Bill oversees all aspects of the Company’s day-to-day operations and different lines of business, establishing its position in the marketplace and setting its overall strategic plan. 

Prior to the creation of WRTC, Bill was a partner at Perry & Karnatz, LLC, a boutique law firm in Cleveland, specializing in probate and trust administration, coordination of legal and financial matters for individuals and family groups, estate and succession planning, and tax planning and compliance for individuals and fiduciaries. Before that, he was Senior Vice President, team leader, and member of the management committee of Sterling, a National City Bank (“NCB”) company providing financial services, including trust administration, to affluent individuals and families. Bill began his career as an attorney with Ziegler Metzger & Miller, before becoming a trust officer at NCB’s Private Client Group, prior to his roles at Sterling.

Throughout his career, Bill has been actively involved in local charitable organizations, including St. Rapheal Church (Bay Village, Ohio), the Jesuit Retreat Center (Parma, Ohio), St. Augustine Manor (Cleveland), and Providence House, Inc., a crisis nursery in Cleveland. 

He and his wife, Lisa, reside in Avon Lake, Ohio, and have four children.


  • University of Dayton (Bachelor of Arts in History)
  • Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (Juris Doctor)

Bar Admissions

  • Ohio

Professional Organizations

  • Estate Planning Council of Cleveland, former member of the Board of Trustees and chair of the Sponsorship Committee
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, member and former chair of the 2022 Estate Planning Institute

Community Involvement

  • Raphael Church (Bay Village, Ohio), member of the Planned Giving Committee and former member of the Finance Council
  • Jesuit Retreat Center (Parma, Ohio), member of the Board of Trustees and chair of the Trustee Committee
  • Augustine Manor, Child Enrichment Center (Cleveland), former volunteer preschool teacher
  • Providence House, Inc., former member of the Board of Trustees and member of the Finance and Fund Development Committees


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