Estate Planning

Planning for your unique family and financial goals

We are a team of experienced attorneys and paralegals who work closely with our clients to create plans that fit their unique circumstances. Our priority is to build long-term relationships with our clients and help guide families and individuals through a variety of difficult issues, while protecting their assets for the future. We help our clients plan for incapacity and transitions, and we work closely with seniors and families after a death of a loved one. We stay current with the complex and changing tax laws. Our group includes a member of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, a Certified Elder Law Attorney, and a former CPA. We are listed as a “First-Tier Ranking in Trusts & Estates Law” by Best Lawyers in America, are regularly named as “Washington Super Lawyers,” “Rising Stars” and “Best Lawyers,” and receive AV Preeminent ratings by Martindale Hubbell.

Range of Services:

Wills, Trusts and other personal planning

We work with clients to determine the best plans for managing their affairs in the future, including the critical questions of who will manage their assets if they are unable to themselves. We also help develop estate and gift tax planning strategies to maximize our clients’ intentions. Our planning tools include Wills, community property agreements, revocable living trusts, premarital and postnuptial agreements, irrevocable life insurance trusts, and others.

Probate and Trust Administration

In the event of a death, we help clients who serve as Personal Representative (executor) or trustee to manage and distribute estate assets, deal with creditors, and address tax obligations. We help beneficiaries who have questions regarding how estates are handled. And we handle probate disputes, whether through negotiation, mediation or litigation.

Attorneys

Lifetime giving and family entities

Many clients have questions regarding gifts and the best way to make them, both for their family members and for tax planning. We work with each client to develop a plan that will help minimize state and federal estate taxes, as well as future capital gains tax. We are experienced in developing lifetime giving plans, including life insurance trusts, irrevocable trusts, charitable gifts, conservation easements and more. We also help create and manage family entities to protect assets during life and to help transition them to the next generation. We can set up LLC’s, partnerships or S corporations, and help you manage ongoing entity matters, including buy/sell agreements to minimize the risk of non-family ownership.

Planning for incapacity, special needs, and guardianships

Incapacity is unfortunately all too common. We are well versed in ways to plan for incapacity, and deal with it when it arrives. We help clients plan for potential incapacity in themselves and their children; we advise fiduciaries helping their incapacitated loved ones; we plan trusts for those with special needs; and we work with the courts on creating court-supervised Special Needs Trusts. When necessary, we help our clients with guardianships.

Representative Matters

Lottery legacy

One couple, already clients, won the Mega Millions lottery, an astounding amount of money. Balanced and sensible people, they didn't allow it to blow their lives apart. We helped them craft an evolving estate plan that provided nicely for family and charity.

Litigation diverted

A widow came to us after learning her husband’s estate plan left her nothing, including the home they had shared during their long marriage. The widow believed this wasn’t the husband’s intent, and indeed, the husband’s intentions were not clear. This had turned into a dispute between family members that was ripe for litigation. Instead we protected the widow’s home using provisions in state law that provide for a surviving spouse, and created an agreement between all family members that settled all disputes without a single court hearing.

Estate Tax Planning with Revocable Living Trust

We set up a Revocable Living Trust for a retired couple several years ago. When the husband passed, we avoided probate and funded a trust for his wife per the terms of the Revocable Trust. We helped his widow make gifts of their vacation home to their only daughter. When the widow died, the remaining assets of both parents passed to their daughter without probate. No estate tax was due in either estate. The daughter was not only relieved that things passed smoothly and economically, but she appreciated the continuity of our support. We are now working with her to plan her own estate to benefit her son.

Doing good smartly

Another couple has a passion for nursing education, derived from past experiences. They will leave an endowment for that purpose, but they are going further and shaping the endowment during their lifetimes, by making smaller lifetime gifts to see how those work and can help shape the terms of the eventual endowment.

Caring for special needs

A family was concerned for their special-needs son, who they feared was particularly vulnerable because his special needs were not apparent. After he turned 18, we successfully petitioned for the parents to be appointed his guardians. Then we drafted an estate plan for the parents that provided that their son’s inheritance will instead be held by a trustee in a special needs trust. The trustee will be able to spend money for the son’s benefit in certain limited ways, and the trust won’t hurt the son’s ability to qualify for state and federal benefits such as Medicaid. After the son’s death, the remainder of the trust will be distributed to the parents’ other heirs.

Careful planning for those with no heirs

For a couple with no children or close family, we drafted an estate plan with a pet trust to provide for long-term care for their beloved animals, plus charitable donations that would establish a legacy for them to leave behind. After the first spouse’s death, we were able to transfer assets to the surviving spouse with minimal hassle in a very difficult time.

A favorite family place

One family whose children are now adults loves going to Hawaii. They have established an LLC to hold an investment-and-vacation property there, with funds to cover shortfalls in expenses. Their children and grandchildren will enjoy this legacy for decades to come.
  • Reflection pond by the Tacoma Glass Museum
  • Duwamish Waterway and brown field cleanup
  • Pioneer Square
  • Fireboats on the Seattle Waterfront
  • Tacoma Arches at the History Museum
Gordon Thomas Honeywell LLP

Tacoma

1201 Pacific Ave, #2100
Tacoma, WA 98402

Telephone: 253.620.6500
Fax: 253.620.6565

Seattle

One Union Square
600 University St, #2100
Seattle, WA 98101

Telephone: 206.676.7500
Fax: 206.676.7575

Visit the Gordon Thomas Honeywell Governmental Affairs Web Site

Tacoma

1201 Pacific Ave, #2100, Tacoma, WA 98402
Telephone: 253.620.6500  Fax: 253.620.6565

Seattle

One Union Square, 600 University St, #2100, Seattle, WA 98101
Telephone: 206.676.7500  Fax: 206.676.7575