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Overview

Akane Suzuki focuses her practice on sophisticated estate planning and probate/trust administration, including international estate planning.  Her clients turn to her to explain complicated rules in simple language and to find practical solutions.   

Akane helps her clients on a broad range of estate planning matters, from Wills and powers of attorney to complex gifting strategies involving trusts, business succession, and charitable giving.  Her clients include business owners, executives, young entrepreneurs, retirees, and beneficiaries of dynasty trusts.  In Akane’s view, estate planning is not about just creating the legal documents; it is about understanding the client and the client’s priorities first – taking care of the loved ones, ensuring that the family business continues on to the next generation, and preserving the family legacy.  Many long-term clients seek her advice for all sorts of legal advice, sometimes even when they know the issues are outside of her practice area, because they know that she will help them find the solution.  She is their trusted advisor. 

Akane is also well-known locally, nationally, and internationally for her expertise in cross-border estate planning, particularly for U.S.-Japan.  She is a native Japanese speaker; the Japanese-language book on cross-border estate planning she co-edited frequently ranks high in the tax and inheritance category on amazon.com Japan.  Her familiarity with the laws and social norms of Japan, her network of local contacts, and her U.S. legal training allow her to “bridge the gap” when her American clients and/or their professional advisors need to deal with their counterparts in Japan, or vice versa.  She also works with U.S. clients living in other countries, U.S. clients with assets or beneficiaries in other countries, and non-U.S. clients with assets or beneficiaries in the U.S.  Interestingly, she often finds that language is not the only barrier.  Even when dealing with clients or professional advisors in English-speaking countries, such as Canada or Australia, the differences in the legal systems and customary practices can lead to miscommunication and create problems.  The key is to be aware of one’s own assumptions and be open-minded when working in the global context.  With her personal and professional background, Akane is well-suited to advising clients in this area.

Professional Activities

  • Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel; Member, International Estate Planning Committee
  • Co-Founder of the Seattle Branch, Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)
  • Past Executive Committee Member, Estate Planning Council of Seattle, 2012-2014 
  • Past Executive Committee Member, Washington State Bar Association Real Property, Probate and Trust Section, 2010-2012
  • Member, Washington Women in Tax
  • Member, Washington State Bar Association Tax Section
  • Member, King County Bar Association

Community Activities

  • Board Member, Japan Business Association of Seattle, 2009-2010, 2015-2016
  • Founding Board Member, Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association of Seattle (MAMAS), 2007-2013
  • Member, Japan-America Society of the State of Washington
  • Member, Nichibei Women's Network

Blog Posts

News & Insights

News

Speaking Engagements

Admissions

  • Washington, 2000

Education

New York University School of Law, LL.M., Taxation, 2000

University of Washington School of Law, J.D., with honors, 1999

  • Executive Editor of Notes and Comments, Washington Law Review

Lewis & Clark College, B.A., East Asian Studies, with honors, 1995

Honors | Recognitions

  • Ranked in Chambers High Net Worth as one of its "Leaders in their Field" for Private Wealth Law (Washington), 2016 
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Peer Review Rated
  • Named in Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers, 2012
  • Named by peers to The Best Lawyers in America©in the area of Trusts and Estates, 2011-2017
  • Named by Best Lawyers®, Trust and Estates, Seattle, WA, "Lawyer of the Year," 2016
  • Named by peers as a "Super Lawyer" in Super Lawyers Magazine  2010-2017; named one of the Top 50 Women Washington "Super Lawyers," 2012-2017; named among “Top 100 Washington Super Lawyers 2012-2017” by Super Lawyers Magazine
  • Named by peers as one of the "Rising Stars" of Washington law in Washington Law & Politics magazine, 2003-2006 and 2009
  • Selected as one of Puget Sound Business Journal's "Forty Under 40" for professional accomplishments and community involvement, 2009

 

Languages

  • Japanese
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