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TRUSTS AND ESTATES                                                                                          Deutsch

Our law firm views the estate planning relationship as a lifelong relationship. We listen to the desires of our clients and integrate them into their estate plan. As their needs change we carefully integrate them into their estate plan. As our client's wealth increases we help them arrange their wealth so that it is transferred to the appropriate people or institutions and their estate tax is minimized.


Wills are the most common way that people establish their intentions for their property after their death. They can also be a way to share feelings toward their loved ones.  A will makes the probate process simpler and offers the person drafting the will (“testator”) the opportunity to make their wishes for their property known yet most people do not have a will. While it is difficult to contemplate mortality, it is much more peaceful to have planned ahead.

Wills can be simple one page documents or they can be much longer. It depends on the wishes of the testator and the size of the estate. They can offer special instructions about the care of minor children,  pets, charitable giving, and formation of posthumous trusts. For all these examples, the attorneys at HK Law will make sure that the will complies with applicable Virginia law.


Trusts are estate-planning tools that can replace or supplement wills, as well as help manage property during life. A trust manages the distribution of a person's property by transferring its benefits and obligations to different people. There are many reasons to create a trust, making this property distribution technique a popular choice for many people when creating an estate plan. The basics of trust creation are fairly simple. To create a trust, the property owner (called the "trustor," "grantor," or "settlor") transfers legal ownership to a person or institution (called the "trustee") to manage that property for the benefit of another person (called the "beneficiary"). The trustee often receives compensation for his or her management role. Trusts create a "fiduciary" relationship running from the trustee to the beneficiary, meaning that the trustee must act solely in the best interests of the beneficiary when dealing with the trust property. If a trustee does not live up to this duty, then the trustee is legally accountable to the beneficiary for any damage to his or her interests. The grantor may act as the trustee himself or herself, and retain ownership instead of transferring the property, but he or she still must act in a fiduciary capacity. A grantor may also name himself or herself as one of the beneficiaries of the trust. In any trust arrangement, however, the trust cannot become effective until the grantor transfers the property to the trustee.

Family Limited Partnerships

A family limited partnership is an effective estate planning tool to minimize estate taxes.  The family puts their assets into a partnership and the parents are both general and limited partners.  Then the parents gift their limited partnership interests over time to their children.  This allows the parents to retain control of their assets but also allows them to give gifts to their children to minimize estate taxes.

Qualified Domestic Trusts

A qualified domestic trust is used to preserve the marital deduction for spouses who are not citizens of the United States.  The marital deduction allows transfers of unlimited amounts of assets between spouses at death.  The benefit is that the surviving spouse does not have to pay any estate taxes when the first spouse dies. 


Our ambition is to serve clients with business interests worldwide. That's why we offer sophisticated estate planning strategies which take into account business interests and real estate located abroad. Many of our clients were able to acquire real estate and businesses in foreign countries which have to be part of an estate planning strategy. Our firm addresses the need of metro Washington D.C.'s growing immigrant population and addresses their special need with cross-border estate planning strategies. Through our familiarity with foreign legal systems and our extensive global network, we are able to offer Northern Virginia's global community unmatched outbound and inbound estate planning services.

You can find further information about selected estate planning topics in our Publications section.


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