Estate Planning

Estate planning is increasingly complicated as technology, family relationships and tax laws evolve. Assets are unique, families can be untraditional, and the strategies to transfer and protect wealth are as diverse as the lives and interests of our clients.  The estate planning process demands attention to detail and navigation of technical nuances in order to achieve family goals.

Key Contacts

Wendy S. Goffe Partner Seattle, WA
Nancy L. Cowgill Partner Portland, OR
Emily V. Karr Partner Portland, OR
See all contacts

We represent high net worth individuals, including professionals, executives, investors, entrepreneurs, artists, farmers and ranchers, and business owners. Our clients have a wide array of assets, business interests and personal and family priorities.  We work with each client to provide tailored solutions that bring together divergent interests, eliminate administrative hassles and minimize tax liability.

We provide counsel on:

  • Estate planning
  • Estate and trust administration
  • Personal income, business, gift and estate tax planning
  • Business succession planning
  • International estate planning and estate administration
  • Charitable giving and philanthropic planning
  • Fiduciary litigation, including will and trust contests and claim disputes 

Estate Planning and Wealth Transfer Strategy

We provide lifelong estate planning and management focused on strategies to maximize wealth transfer and minimize tax liability. This starts with thorough understanding of our clients’ objectives and goals.  As we develop wealth transfer solutions, we consider a full range of strategies, such as business succession planning, establishment of trusts or creation of planned giving vehicles. 

International Estate Planning

We advise U.S. citizens with business or personal interests abroad and citizens of other nations who have business or personal assets in the U.S. Both situations can involve complex and specialized tax matters, unique community property and asset protection issues, and other compliance matters. We have experience with estate planning for citizens and noncitizens with assets spanning multiple jurisdictions, reporting of foreign bank and financial accounts, estate and gift taxation of noncitizens, and reporting obligations related to foreign trusts.

Charitable Giving

Our team has extensive experience matching philanthropic goals and priorities with tax and financial planning strategies. This involves thorough discussion to develop a giving plan that aligns with the overall estate plan. We create and provide guidance to private foundations and assist with the creation of donor advised funds. We draft and fund charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts and similar split interest gifts.

Business Succession Planning

Planning for the future of a family or closely-held business is a complicated endeavor requiring a trusted advisor who appreciates the sensitivities surrounding succession planning. We work with business owners across industries to assist with succession planning in a way that is designed to achieve current and future business goals.

  • Draft and implement gifting plans, including gifts to minors, generation-skipping (GST) dynasty trusts, qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTs), grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs), irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILITs) and sales to grantor trusts.
  • Prepare estate and gift tax forecasts and plans for payment of estate taxes for business succession and personal planning.
  • Plan for clients with nontraditional families, including issues related to marital and gender status and alternative reproduction.
  • Assist clients with stock in a rapidly appreciating family business transfer to the next generation with a succession plan including a combination of installment sales to grantor trusts, grantor-retained annuity trusts (GRATs), and gifts using creation of LLCs and partnerships to hold commercial real property.
  • Advise clients on estate planning when one spouse is a noncitizen and continues to hold assets in the country of origin.
  • Help clients create a charitable giving plan, including creating and advising a private foundation that the clients and their children administer, and forming charitable remainder trusts to which company stock is given before the family business is sold.
  • Advise a client who is the beneficiary of multigenerational trusts established by parents and grandparents, including helping the client with a premarital agreement, estate planning for children, exercising powers of appointment, and assisting the client in the role of trustee with respect to modifying existing trusts to conform to current law and changed family circumstances.
  • Advise a couple regarding literary or artistic executors to arrange and promote their artwork and written work after death, including advice about contract and intellectual property rights necessary to facilitate the transfer.
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