Kara Kalenius Novak

Practice Emphasis and Experience

Estate Planning, Litigation, Trust & Estate Litigation and Dispute Resolution

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.

Representative Work

Estate Planning & Probate

  • Advised estate planning clients on wide variety of issues; prepared Wills, Powers of Attorney, Revocable Trust Agreements, and other documents
  • Drafted prenuptial and property status agreements to protect inherited assets and family business interests
  • Assisted personal representatives in probate matters, including tax, real estate, and other matters
  • Assisted with LLC, irrevocable trust, life insurance trust, qualified personal residence trust, and grantor retained annuity trust planning for high net worth families
  • Counseled business owners on succession and sale issues

Trust & Probate Litigation

  • Assisted elderly client with uncovering financial exploitation by family member and breach of fiduciary duty claim against family member
  • Resolved various trust administration disputes on behalf of trust beneficiary with minimal court intervention
  • Successfully defended personal representatives in probate breach of fiduciary cases, creditor’s claim matters, and other issues
  • Developed exit strategies for fiduciaries dealing with difficult beneficiaries and/or assets
  • Negotiated resignation and replacement of trustees on behalf of beneficiaries
  • Represented professional fiduciary in intervention (court-supervised) probate; handled approval of periodic reports, contested motions, and real estate matters

Guardianships & Court-Supervised Trusts

  • Represented professional fiduciary in complex guardianship and court-supervised trust with related assets in excess of $20 million, including real estate purchases and sales, periodic reporting, investment decisions, and court-approved estate planning
  • Ongoing representation of national bank as trustee of various court-supervised special needs and settlement trusts
  • Successfully petitioned for termination of settlement trusts for minor beneficiaries after beneficiaries reached age of majority


Professional and Community Activities

Kara is a member of Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church in Seattle, where she cooks meals for a local women’s shelter and serves in a variety of roles, including as confirmation mentor, lector, and Eucharistic minister.


Author, “Estate Planning Update,” Montgomery Purdue Blankinship and Austin, Winter 2012.
Author, “Estate Planning & Tax Update,” Montgomery Purdue Blankinship and Austin, Spring 2013.