Washington courts have confirmed time and again that the right to dispose of one’s property is a valuable right, and a right to be sustained whenever possible. Teresa is an advocate for the exercise and defense of that valuable right. Specifically, Teresa engages in proactive estate planning to help her clients create estate plans that manifest their intentions and values, including caring for family members, creating and funding trusts, advising on gifts, avoiding unnecessary taxes, and protecting family wealth. Beyond the mere transactional aspects of estate planning, Teresa is a partner throughout the aging process, assisting families in navigating transitions and implementing the estate plan by advising agents acting under powers of attorney, establishing and maintaining guardianships for minors and incapacitated adults, engaging in end of life planning, and administering probates and trusts.

Teresa recognizes that not every family engages in timely and proactive planning, and even the best laid plans occasionally fail.  In that event, she handles the litigation needed to resolve trust and estate disputes and protect vulnerable adults.  An experienced litigator, Teresa has represented parties through all stages of litigation, beginning with initial filings in the superior court and continuing through mediation, trial, appeal and ultimately to the Washington State Supreme Court. Teresa worked on many of the seminal published cases interpreting Washington’s Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act (TEDRA).  She also practices in Oregon and Alaska.  While admitted pro hac vice in California, Teresa was part of a team of talented attorneys and staff who made new law regarding the rights of trust beneficiaries.

Teresa is also experienced in working with nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations.

Prior to joining OMW, Teresa was a Principal at Foster Garvey PC.

 

Publications

  • Author, “Representation and Client Communication,” Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Administration in Washington, 2020
  • Author, “Keeping Fiduciaries Out of Trouble,” Northwest Prime Time, 2014
  • Author, “Fiduciaries need good, professional advice,” Puget Sound Business Journal, 2014
  • Author, “Chinese Regulation of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Modern World: Can the Chinese Effectively Profit from One of Their Most Valuable Cultural Resources?” 2002

Practice Areas

Education

  • LL.M., Taxation, University of Washington School of Law
  • J.D., University of Washington School of Law
  • B.A., Lafayette College

Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, "Mind The Gap: 7 Minutes with Teresa Byers," Bernstein, 2020
  • Speaker, Washington Planned Giving Council, 2020
  • Speaker, "Tax Reform," Kitsap County Estate Planning Council, 2018
  • Speaker. "Practical Considerations for TEDRA Arbitrations," 14th Annual Trust & Estate Litigation Seminar, Washington State Bar Association – Seattle, 2017
  • Speaker, "Wine, Women and Wills," Legal Voice, Garvey Schubert Barer – Seattle, 2016
  • Speaker, "Solutions for Difficult Gifts and Post-Mortem Planning," Seattle Children's Hospital CE, Conference on Philanthropic and Legacy Planning for Advisors – Seattle, 2016
  • Speaker, "Estate Planning Ethics," U.S. Judge Advocate General Corps – Bangor Naval Base, 2016
  • Speaker, "Fiduciaries in the Crosshairs," Alaska Bar Association, Estate and Probate Law Section – Anchorage, 2016
  • Speaker, "Estate Planning Ethics," Kitsap Estate Planning Seminar, Kitsap Community Foundation – Silverdale, 2016
  • Speaker, "Fiduciary Pitfalls," Kitsap Estate Planning Council – Silverdale, 2015
  • Speaker, "Capacity to Give and Undue Influence," Washington Planned Giving Council – Seattle, 2015
  • Speaker, "Fiduciaries in the Cross-Hairs," 12th Annual Trust & Estate Litigation Seminar, WSBA Real Property Probate and Trust Section – Seattle, 2015
  • Speaker, "Business and Real Estate Interests in Trusts & Estates," Kitsap Estate Planning Council – Silverdale, 2015
  • Speaker, "Notice, Information-Sharing and Other Issues under the Washington Trust Act – Three Perspectives: the Drafted, Fiduciary and Litigator," 59th Annual Estate Planning Conference, WSBA Real Property, Probate and Trust Section – Seattle, 2014
  • Speaker, "Drafting Tips for the Updated 2011 Trust Act," Washington Bar Association CLE – Seattle, 2013
  • Speaker, "The 2011 Trust Act: One Year Later," Washington Bar Association CLE – Seattle 2012
  • Presenter, 2012 Oregon Estate Planning Seminar, Garvey Schubert Barer – Portland, 2012
  • Speaker, "Estate Planning for and with Nonprobate Assets," Washington Bar Association CLE – Seattle, 2012
  • Speaker, "Drafting Tips for the 2011 Washington Trust Act," WSBA Real Property, Probate and Trust Section CLE – Seattle, 2011
  • Speaker, "Implementing the Estate Plan," Washington State Bar Association CLE – Seattle, 2010
  • Presenter, "2010 Estate Planning Seminar: Who Can Fill Your Shoes?" Garvey Schubert Barer, 2010
  • Speaker, "Post-Mortem Trust Planning," Sophisticated Probate Strategies, National Business Institute, Washington State Convention & Trade Center – Seattle, 2009
  • Presenter, "Aging Well: Planning for Common Aging Issues," Garvey Schubert Barer – Portland, 2009
  • Presenter, "Aging Well: Planning for Common Aging Issues," Garvey Schubert Barer – Seattle, 2009

Honors

  • Chambers High Net Worth, Leading Individual, Private Wealth Law, 2017-2020.
  • Washington Super Lawyers List, 2019-2020.
  • Washington Super Lawyers, Top 50 Washington Women, 2019.
  • Rising Star, Washington Super Lawyers, 2009-2018.
  • Rising Star, Washington Women's Edition, 2013-2018.
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