- What We Do
- Trusts, Estates and Charitable Organizations
Making It Easier for Our Clients
Most people, upon death, want to pass their assets to their beneficiaries in the most efficient manner possible. No one wants to create or encourage a family dispute. Yet, many people have difficulty following through on these intentions. At Garvey Schubert Barer, we make it easier for our clients to do this. We help our clients gather information, understand issues and make decisions. We explain the benefits of estate planning clearly so our clients can focus on the positive, proactive aspects of it.
We enjoy long-term relationships with our clients, which is important because an estate plan should be updated periodically to accommodate changes in the client's life and goals and to keep pace with changes in state and federal tax laws.
Benefits of Proper Estate Planning
- Ensure your estate is divided among your intended beneficiaries
- Choose the right person to wind up your affairs upon death
- Avoid family disputes over the guardianship of minor children
- Create trusts for younger beneficiaries or those with special needs
- Reduce or eliminate estate taxes
- Maximize the income tax step-up in basis upon death
- Simplify the process of property succession upon death
- Plan for management of financial and health care affairs in the event of incapacity
- Protect your assets from creditors
Our attorneys, and offices, are spread throughout the U.S., covering Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, New York and Washington D.C. Our lawyers are recognized as leaders in the field and include members of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, are named in The Best Lawyers in America and several are recognized as Super Lawyers. Most have advanced tax-law degrees. One has a hybrid estate-planning and estate-litigation practice that gives a unique perspective on dispute resolution matters.
We keep abreast of developments in federal and state tax laws. We bring considerable knowledge and experience to bear on issues arising in complex estates, including succession planning for family businesses, international estate-planning issues, and generation-skipping transfer tax planning.
Our seasoned paralegals and our team of experienced legal assistants are highly committed to client service and assist us with estate and trust administration and gift and estate tax return preparation.
Our lawyers are active in our community as well, serving on the boards of various charitable organizations.
Range of Services Offered
- Wills, living trusts, durable power of attorney and community property agreements
- Prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements
- Succession planning for family businesses
- Estate and gift tax planning and tax return preparation
- Irrevocable life insurance trusts
- Grantor retained annuity trusts
- Private foundation formation
- Charitable giving planning and tax-exempt organizations
- International estate planning
- Administration of trusts and estates, including probate
- Advising heirs, beneficiaries and fiduciaries as to their rights, interests and obligations in an estate or trust
- Will contests and other trust and estate dispute resolution
Represented trust beneficiary client in claims against former trustee for breach of fiduciary duties in state court.
- Senior trial counsel in 9 week trial in King County Superior Court, direct appeal taken by Supreme Court
In Re Estate of Lint: Senior trial counsel in 9 week trial in King County Superior Court, direct appeal taken by Supreme Court. 9-0 win. Supreme Court’s last major word on undue influence, fraud in Washington. Made new law, establishing a common law right, in cases involving “fraud of the grossest kind”, for those not a party to a marriage, to challenge it after the death of one of the spouses (statute otherwise controlling statute limits challengers to either spouse, while both alive)
In Re Estate of J. Thomas Bernard: Lead Appellate counsel in case decided by First Division of Washington Court of Appeals, affirming use of a so-called TEDRA Agreement regarding changes to a testator’s testamentary scheme to modify a previous TEDRA Agreement, even where first agreement specified a specific procedure not followed by the testator in the second agreement, on grounds that testamentary right is “fundamental”, and should not be unduly restricted by technical requirements beyond those related to execution. Made new law, establishing that a PR may appeal a decision overturning a testamentary scheme, even if such appeal runs contrary to the interests of the new beneficiaries.
Individual v. national banks. We brought suit on behalf of the primary beneficiaries of two trusts against the professional trust departments at two of the largest banks in the world. The trusts had been established by the beneficiaries’ grandparents. We proved that the trust officer at one of the banks failed to comply with the terms of the trust agreement. We also showed that the other bank failed to resign as trustee (which in turn caused that bank to sue its own lawyers for failing to ensure the bank resigned). After an18-hour mediation before trial, we succeeded in negotiating a confidential settlement about which we can only state that “the parties have resolved their differences with respect to this matter to their mutual satisfaction.”
Individual Beneficiary v. Individual Trustee and former counsel advising the trustee. We brought suit on behalf of a successor trustee to remove the current trustee and fund trusts which were to have been funded upon the decedent’s death – three years prior. After successfully removing the initial trustee, we addressed a variety of issues arising from her negligence, including federal and state tax issues, marshalling assets, environmental compliance, recovery and sale of multiple business enterprises, and ultimately funding of the trusts. Suits for damages were filed against both the former trustee and her counsel, both of which settled.
Will Contests. Multiple cases involving a sub-species of Will contest based upon insane delusion, in which the testator does not necessarily lack testamentary capacity, nor is being unduly influenced, but is suffering from persistent and irrational delusions as to a natural object of her bounty that materially affects that potential devisee's share. Our litigation of these cases, while difficult, led to favorable settlements on behalf of our clients.
News & Events
- West Coast Trusts & Estates Litigation, 2.14.17
- Speaking EngagementTokyo, Japan, 4.20.17