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Overview

Akane focuses her practice on sophisticated estate planning and probate/trust administration, including international estate planning. Her clients turn to her to explain complicated rules in simple language and to find practical solutions.   

Akane helps her clients on a broad range of estate planning matters, from Wills and powers of attorney to complex gifting strategies involving trusts, business succession, and charitable giving. Her clients include business owners, executives, young entrepreneurs, retirees and beneficiaries of dynasty trusts. In Akane’s view, estate planning is not about just creating the legal documents; it is about understanding the client and the client’s priorities first – taking care of the loved ones, ensuring that the family business continues on to the next generation, and preserving the family legacy. Many long-term clients seek her advice for all sorts of legal advice, sometimes even when they know the issues are outside of her practice area, because they know that she will help them find the solution. She is their trusted advisor. 

Akane is also well-known locally, nationally and internationally for her depth of knowledge in cross-border estate planning, particularly for U.S.-Japan. She is a native Japanese speaker; the Japanese-language book on cross-border estate planning she co-edited frequently ranks high in the tax and inheritance category on amazon.com Japan. Her familiarity with the laws and social norms of Japan, her network of local contacts, and her U.S. legal training allow her to “bridge the gap” when her American clients and/or their professional advisors need to deal with their counterparts in Japan, or vice versa. She also works with U.S. clients living in other countries, U.S. clients with assets or beneficiaries in other countries, and non-U.S. clients with assets or beneficiaries in the U.S.  Interestingly, she often finds that language is not the only barrier. Even when dealing with clients or professional advisors in English-speaking countries, such as Canada or Australia, the differences in the legal systems and customary practices can lead to miscommunication and create problems. The key is to be aware of one’s own assumptions and be open-minded when working in the global context. With her personal and professional background, Akane is well-suited to advising clients in this area.

Professional Activities

  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
    • Fellow
    • International Estate Planning Committee, Member
  • Estate Planning Council of Seattle, Executive Committee Member, 2012-2014 
  • International Academy of Estate and Trust Law, Academician
  • King County Bar Association, Member
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), Seattle Branch Co-Founder 
  • Washington State Bar Association
    • Real Property, Probate and Trust Section, Executive Committee Member, 2010-2012
    • Tax Section, Member
  • Washington Women in Tax, Member

Community Activities

  • Japan-America Society of the State of Washington, Member
  • Japan Business Association of Seattle, Board Member, 2009-2010, 2015-2016
  • Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association of Seattle (MAMA Seattle), Founding Board Member, 2007-2013
  • Nichibei Women's Network, Member

Blog Posts

News & Insights

Speaking Engagements

Past Appearances

Admissions

  • Washington, 2000

Education

  • LL.M., Taxation, New York University School of Law, 2000
  • J.D., University of Washington School of Law (with honors), 1999
    • Executive Editor of Notes and Comments, Washington Law Review
  • B.A., Lewis & Clark College (with honors), East Asian Studies, 1995

Honors & Recognition

  • Chambers High Net Worth (Washington) Leading Individual, Private Wealth Law, 2016-2019
  • Chambers High Net Worth Foreign Expert for Japan based in the USA, 2018-2019
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, Trusts and Estates, 2011-2019
    • Best Lawyers® "Lawyer of the Year," Trust and Estates, 2016, 2018
  • Washington Super Lawyers list, 2010-2019
    • Top 50 Women Lawyers, 2012-2019
    • Top 100 Lawyers 2012-2018
  • Rising Star, Washington Super Lawyers, 2003-2006 and 2009
  • Puget Sound Business Journal's "Forty Under 40," 2009
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent rating
    • Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers, 2012

 

Languages

  • Japanese
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