Kara Kalenius Novak counsels clients on all aspects of estate and trust planning and administration, including complex income, estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax planning issues. A significant portion of her practice involves representing fiduciaries and beneficiaries in trust and estate disputes, including guardianships and court-supervised trusts. Kara also advises Washington state trust companies and certified professional guardians on corporate and regulatory compliance matters.
What do you like about your work?
The aspect of my work I enjoy most is interacting with clients and gaining an understanding of their values, goals, and concerns. Estate planning and administration is a deeply personal process. It is an honor to be invited into some of the most sensitive conversations in a person's life.
When did you start practicing law as a licensed attorney?
While I was licensed in 2007, I started practicing in April 2008 after receiving my LLM in Taxation from the University of Washington School of Law.
What do you consider your most significant career accomplishment to date and why?
I helped a client through a tense situation which had the potential to ruin family relationships. The family members were able to resolve their differences and can now effectively communicate and work together on their common goals.
When was the last time you said "no" to a client?
When clients propose a course of action which they want to undertake but which has significant downsides, I try to explain the risks and help them make an informed decision. It is not so much saying "no," but helping the client look at their situation differently.
Can you name any skills or personality traits that you think are needed in your kind of practice that might differ from other practices?
Compassion, sensitivity, and a commitment to client education.