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Trusts and Estate Planning


Schwabe helps clients protect assets, retain privacy and provide for the future of loved ones.

Advance planning is key

Everyone should have an estate plan. We routinely assist clients in Oregon and Washington in setting up wills, revocable living trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives, healthcare directives and healthcare powers of attorney. These documents have a very real impact on our clients’ lives—helping them plan for incapacity, nominate guardians for minor children, avoid probate delays and ensure that property is properly distributed at death.

We also assist with trust funding and beneficiary designations on retirement plans and life insurance policies. Following the death of a loved one, we help administer trusts and estates, file probates and resolve disputes. Flat-fee billing arrangements are available for certain basic estate planning services.

Preparing for the next generation

Our goal is to achieve our clients’ tax, business and charitable goals by minimizing estate or gift taxes, transitioning a business to the next generation of owners, evaluating and implementing charitable giving strategies, and protecting intended beneficiaries.

We form, administer and advise clients with taxable and nontaxable estates on: 

  • Grantor trusts, including GRATs, GRITs and GRUTs
  • Intentionally defective grantor trusts (IDGTs)
  • Irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILITs)
  • Education trusts
  • Personal residence trusts (QPRTs)
  • Nonprofit corporations
  • Private foundations
  • Charitable remainder trusts, including CRTs, CRATs, and CRUTs
  • Charitable lead trusts, including CRTs, CLUTs and CLATs
  • Qualified domestic trusts (QDOTs)

We help transition family businesses to the next generation of owners by evaluating and implementing business succession strategies involving minority discounts, fractional interest discounts, estate freezes, family limited liability companies, and family limited liability partnerships and trusts qualified to own stock in subchapter S corporations.

Easing the burden of probate and trust administration

The administration of trusts, probates and estates can be difficult and time consuming without experienced legal assistance. We guide personal representatives and trustees through their roles in administering trusts and probates of all types and sizes, including preparing and filing federal estate tax returns (Form 706), federal gift tax returns (Form 709), and Oregon and Washington estate tax returns.

Resolving disputes, tax audits and litigation

Any probate or trust administration can be the subject of a tax audit or the focus of a family dispute. Our attorneys are skilled at resolving tax issues with the IRS and Departments of Revenue at audit, on appeal and in court. We are experienced in will contests; modification, reformation or termination of irrevocable trusts; contested creditor claims; and fiduciary proceedings alleging breach of fiduciary duty, elder abuse and other improper behavior.

Where necessary, we help families establish and maintain guardianships and conservatorships to care for minors and adults who need help with medical and/or financial decisions.


  • Assisted an Oregon family in transitioning the family ranch through five successive generations of owners.
  • Helped charitably -minded clients form and administer a $20 million charitable remainder trust and a $20 million charitable lead trust.
  • Crafted and implemented an estate plan for a farm owner that ensured continuity of farming operations and minimized the imposition of estate tax.
  • Modified numerous irrevocable trusts to reflect changed circumstances unanticipated by the trustor.
  • Created basic estate plans for hundreds of professionals, young families and retired individuals.
  • Helped a client transition a closely held business to a key employee.
  • Reduced the proposed tax deficiency by over $400,000 in an estate tax audit.
  • Created an estate plan for a business owner that provides for the continuing operation of a $70 million business and defers estate taxes under Code Section 6166.

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