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 planning needs and we have great depth of experience in planning for owners of closely-held businesses. Our assistance is customized for each client and each family with estate and business succession planning needs.

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.
Abby Wool Landon
Practice Area Chair

Abby Wool Landon

Partner