About Steven

Steven Bell focuses his practice on the creation and administration of complex trusts to meet business succession planning, tax planning, and family needs, and in charitable gift planning for both individual donors and for tax-exempt entities. Through his practice, Steve helps clients create customized structures to preserve and perpetuate closely held businesses and to meet diverse objectives. Steve brings innovative solutions to multifaceted issues that can arise in the administration of irrevocable trusts, estate, charitable giving structures, and for private foundations. Steve’s passion lies in developing creative solutions to help clients meet their goals in a tax efficient manner, whether in crafting a new estate plan, facilitating charitable giving, administering complex estates, modifying and restructuring irrevocable trusts, or developing trust structures to meet business objectives.

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  • Advised family in settling large federally taxable estate, addressing valuations and distributions of private equity and closely held family-owned company interests, tax planning and preparation of estate tax returns, and coordination with beneficiaries and existing irrevocable trusts.
  • Advised closely held business owner in creating estate plan to provide for business succession, probate avoidance, and estate tax planning for unique family situation.
  • Advised foundations and educational institutions in gift planning and administration matters including the creation and reformation of charitable remainder trusts, settlement of problematic estate gifts, and modification of endowment fund restrictions.
  • Advised beneficiary of irrevocable trust and negotiated settlement and division of trust.
  • Advised trustees of irrevocable trusts in navigating modifications, divisions, and terminations of trusts to facilitate family goals and tax planning objectives.
  • Developed noncharitable perpetual purpose trust to assist closely held corporation in transition to purpose-driven ownership model.
  • Advised professional trustee regarding fiduciary duties in distributions and administration decisions in contested trust administration.
  • Assisted nonprofit in transition of operations to successor organization and in restructuring of entity.
  • Developed complex estate plan and structured charitable gifts through donor advised funds and charitable remainder trusts for owner of closely held company in anticipation of liquidity event.
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Honors & Activities

  • Included in Best Lawyers®: Ones to Watch in America (Nonprofit / Charities Law, Trusts and Estates), 2022–2024
  • Member, Estate Planning and Administration Section, Oregon State Bar
  • Member, Estate Planning Council of Portland
  • Member, Estate Planning Council of SW Washington
  • Former Adjunct Professor of Business Law, University of Portland Pamplin School of Business Administration, 2013–2016
  • Member, Multnomah Bar Association
  • Member of OHSU & Doernbecher Foundations Gift Planning Council
  • Non-charitable Purpose Trust Legislative Work Group, 2018 (Part of group working with Ore. State Rep. Julie Fahey to develop proposed legislation to better define “non-charitable purpose trusts” for business purposes.)
  • Board Member and Chair of Governance Committee, EarthShare Oregon
  • Volunteer Coordinator, Village Baptist Church Community Garden (former)
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Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

  • “Fixing Broken Irrevocable Trusts,” Basic Trust Administration, Estate Planning and Administration Section, Oregon State Bar CLE, November 18, 2022
  • “You Can’t Take it With You, but You Can Control Where it Goes,” ‘a Gift Planning Virtual Event,’ OHSU Foundation, March 2, 2022
  • “Planning for the Future,” Portland Community College Foundation webinar, February 2, 2022
  • “Estate Planning 101,” Portland Community College Foundation webinar, February 3, 2021
  • “Making Something Out of Nothing: Managing Challenging Charitable Gifts from Estates and Trusts,” Northwest Planned Giving Roundtable Annual Event, September 17, 2020
  • “Issue Spotting for Educational Institutions: Gifts & Estates—How to Avoid Scary Stories,” Stoel Rives LLP seminar, Portland, Oregon, October 24, 2019
  • “Addressing rural Oregon’s talent gap with careful transition planning” (co-author with Kirk Maag), Portland Business Journal, June 28, 2019
  • ‘Stewardship Trusts’—House Bill 2598: The Non-Charitable Business Purpose Trust Bill (Keynote speaker), UO School of Law Green Business Initiative, Innovative Oregon: Building a Climate for Success, Portland, Oregon, April 5, 2019
  • “Probate Fee Agreements,” Chapter 15 of Fee Agreement Compendium—OSB BarBooks™
  • “Estate Planning for Owners of Closely Held Businesses” (co-author with Emily Karr), Chapter 47 of Advising Oregon Businesses—OSB BarBooks™
  • “Estate Planning and Administration: The Complete Guide,” National Business Institute CLE, Portland, Oregon, August 2016
  • “Build Your Own Healthcare Practice,” Pacific University Continuing Interprofessional Education Series, January 15, 2015
  • “LLC Workshop: Choose, Draft and Maintain,” National Business Institute CLE, Portland, Oregon, August 2014
  • “The Way the Winds are Blowing These Days: The Rapid Growth of Wind Energy and Legal Hurdles of North Carolina’s General Statutes,” 8 N.C. J.L. & Tech. 117 (2006)

Related News & Publications

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