Estate Planning
At Tonkon Torp, our approach to estate planning is both prudent and creative. Our firm maintains a comprehensive estate planning practice focused on wealth management and legacy development.

We represent clients with a broad range of estate planning needs and we have great depth of experience in succession planning for owners of closely-held businesses. Our assistance is customized for each client and each family.

Estate Planning: Wills, Trusts, and Other Estate Planning Tools
Our estate planning attorneys develop flexible and personalized plans to minimize taxes on the transfer of wealth. We apply up-to-date techniques to help our clients achieve their goals, including the creation of family limited partnerships and limited liability companies, asset protection tools and trusts, grantor trusts, and installment sales and gifts for family members and for charities.  

We design, structure, and draft a variety of wills and specialty trusts for our clients for planning throughout the lifecycle. For example, we have a unique fixed fee program for young adults with emerging estates – pairing them with an attorney who can grow with them as their needs change. We also create the documents and directions needed to craft solutions to more complicated situations like late-in-life estate planning.  
 
Examples of the work we do include:
  • Emerging estate plans including wills, powers of attorney, and education about estate planning for families with young children. 
  • Revocable (sometimes known as "living") trusts for estate and disability planning purposes, and other disability planning documents such as powers of attorney and medical advance directive
  • Irrevocable trusts, including insurance trusts, grantor defective trusts, grantor annuity trusts, generation-skipping transfer trusts, spousal trusts, asset protection trusts, and plan documents for second or multiple marriages
  • Premarital agreements for clients and for their children
  • Restructured business documents to accommodate family business succession planning and to obtain more favorable valuation for tax purposes
  • Testamentary trusts for the benefit of children, grandchildren, and further generations
  • Solutions for challenges arising from special heirs such as unrelated minors, spendthrifts, or persons with physical and other challenges that create special needs heirs
  • Charitable trusts and family foundations
  • Estate plans and trusts for U.S. citizens with foreign assets and non-citizens living in the U.S.
  • Tax efficient disposition of retirement plan assets and life insurance proceeds
Some of the trusts noted here are known by acronyms such as QDOTS, GRATS, CRATS, INGS, CRUTS, CLATS, IDGTS, and SLATS.

Charitable Planning
Many of our high net worth clients give generously to the community and we help structure these gifts to maximize the philanthropic and tax benefits. We help families organize and operate charitable private foundations as well as forming and implementing gifts to charitable unitrusts, charitable annuity trusts, and charitable entities. Our expertise extends to assisting with public and private charitable and tax-exempt organizations, which are often the beneficiary of our clients' gifts. We also prepare the gift tax returns associated with these gifts.

Administration of Estates and Trusts
We represent personal representatives during the probate of wills, and trustees in all aspects of trust administration during life and on death. This assistance may be simple advice and counsel, or it may involve legal guidance with respect to complex ministerial duties such as a sale of real estate or business interests, the preparation of estate and gift tax returns, post-death tax and legal planning, or management of estate claims and creditor claims against an estate. 

Disputes and Litigation
Good estate plans and business succession planning generally results in smooth administration. But, disputes and challenges can still arise. Together with our litigation team, we represent trustees, beneficiaries, family members, and other interested persons in their estate and trust disputes, including contesting wills, challenging or defending the validity of a trust, and handling cases defending or asserting claims involving a trustee’s breach of duty to beneficiaries.

Ongoing Estate Plan Maintenance for Multi-Generational Family

As part of an ongoing partnership with a multi-generational client family, conduct annual meetings with family members, the family business office, and financial advisors to review and assess the health of the estate and revisit trustee protection plans. After each review, adjust plans to best maintain the overall estate and succession goals.

Optimizing Estate Tax Planning Through Company Sale

Assisted a company founder with selling their business in order to optimize estate tax planning as part of a coordinated estate transfer to the founder’s children.

Establishing an Estate Plan for a Young Family

Worked with a young family who has an emerging estate to develop a customized estate plan that is focused on providing for the needs of their children, and that will extend to succeeding generations. Counsel included how to identify long-range goals, and how to identify proper beneficiary designations for insurance and retirement plans.

Securing a Conservatorship for a Family Member

Represented a client to petition for and secure conservatorship (Oregon’s "guardian over the estate") of a family member who could no longer manage their own affairs due to disability. The conservatorship allows the client to manage the finances and health care for their loved one.

Planning for an Estate that Span States

Assisted client with residences in multiple states to create a plan that meets both lifestyle and financial goals. Determined best approach to incorporate property assets into retirement planning, transfer tax applications, and transitions to the next generation. Strategies for achieving these goals include the creation or reallocation of LLC structures to manage the multiple properties, and facilitating transitions between community property states and non-community property states.

Late-Stage Life Plan that Includes Elder Abuse Protection

Assisted a client that belongs to the "Silent Generation," who is single and has no children, to develop a late-stage life plan that includes layers of protection against elder abuse should they become vulnerable, and to avoid state interference in their affairs if they need financial or legal assistance as they age.

Applying Corrective Language to Resolve Post-Death Dispute

Settled an estate dispute that was brought to Tonkon Torp by the estate’s descendants. Resolution was achieved by applying corrective language to an estate plan that did not properly express the parents’ wishes when it was originally created.

Creating Security for a Surviving Spouse

Provided overall estate administration for a surviving spouse that included the sale of a medical practice to establish long-term financial security.

Premarital Agreement to Preserve Goals of Founding Generation

Negotiated a premarital agreement for a high-wealth client to preserve the estate planning goals of the founding generation of a family-owned manufacturing company.

Business Reorganization to Facilitate Estate Planning

Reorganized a family-owned corporation, including recapitalizing entities into preferred and common interests, to help client meet the goals of their estate plan.

Federal Estate & Gift Tax Reform - What We Know Now

We now know that each individual has a $10 million estate tax exclusion (adjusted for inflation) under the new federal estate tax legislation (the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act). In 2018, the applicable exclusion amount will be approximately $11,200,000…
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Proposed Federal Estate & Gift Tax Reform – What You Need to Know Now

The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have now passed separate versions of the β€œTax Cuts and Jobs Act.” The proposals that are being discussed in the news as "repeal of the death tax" are much more complex than the TV sound bites…
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Abby Wool Landon
Practice Area Chair

Abby Wool Landon

Partner