Jay Riffkin

Jay Riffkin

Seattle P +1 (206) 903-8706 F +1 (206) 260-9087 New York P +1 (212) 415-9241



Jay is a partner in the Tax, Trusts and Estates Group. He helps clients through all stages of estate planning, including wills, trusts and charitable gift planning, international estate and tax planning, including foreign bank account and financial asset reporting and offshore voluntary disclosures, and trusts, estate and fiduciary litigation matters. 

Jay serves as a member of the firm’s Policy Committee (Board of Directors), and also serves as a Senior Vice President and Director of the Dorsey & Whitney Trust Company. Jay was previously a board member of Alaska National Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiary Alaska National Insurance Company, an Alaska domiciled workers’ compensation and commercial insurance carrier, which was acquired by CopperPoint Insurance Companies in 2019 for $900 Million.

Jay was named Dorsey & Whitney’s “Scales of Justice Award” for Exceptional Pro Bono Work in 2016 and received Dorsey’s Scales of Justice Award in recognition of exceptional pro bono efforts (2017).

Prior to joining Dorsey & Whitney, Jay worked as a paralegal in the Estates & Personal practice group at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York and as an extern with the Office of Chief Counsel for the IRS.


Education & Admissions

University of Florida Levin College of Law (LL.M., Taxation, 2010), Janice Dawson Quinn Graduate Tax Assistantship

Seattle University School of Law (J.D., 2009), magna cum laude
Managing Editor, Seattle University Law Review

University of Washington (B.A., Political Science, 2004)


  • Washington
  • Alaska
  • New York
  • U.S. Tax Court


Representative Experience

  • Helps high-net worth individuals and families design sophisticated lifetime gifting plans to transfer assets to future generations while minimizing income, estate, and gift taxes, including the use of grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs), installment sales to intentionally defective grantor trusts (IDGTs), qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTs), family partnerships and Limited liability companies, and borrowing transactions.
  • Advises U.S. individuals and families with regard to foreign reporting issues including the Foreign Bank Account Reporting Act (FBAR), the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), the U.S. Streamlined Procedure, the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP), and expatriation.
  • Assists individuals and families based outside the U.S. with the proper structuring of U.S. inbound investment to minimize U.S. income, gift and estate tax.
  • Works with business owners on the successful transition of businesses to the next generation or to outside parties.
  • Designs and administers private charitable foundations, supporting organizations, charitable lead trusts, and charitable remainder trusts.
  • Represent taxpayers in income, estate, and gift tax controversies.

News & Resources


Co-Author on Representation and Client Communication found in the 2020 WSBA Deskbook: ESTATE PLANNING, PROBATE, AND TRUST ADMINISTRATION IN WASHINGTON
"Pre-Immigration Planning Transfer Strategies for Non-U.S. Persons," Trusts & Estates Magazine
“Look Before You Leap – Pre-Immigration Estate Planning,” WSBA Real Property Probate & Trust Newsletter
“Myths About Estate Planning,” 3rd Act Magazine
“What Advisers Should Know about FATCA,” Puget Sound Business Journal
Materials Co-Author, “Probate and Trust Seminar, Drafting Estate Planning Documents From a Litigator’s Perspective,” Washington State Bar Association CLE, December 3, 2012
“How to Give Away Your Home Tax Free,” Puget Sound Business Journal
Comment: "Responsible Development? The Need for Revision to Seattle's Inclusionary Housing Plan," 32 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 443 (2009)

News & Press Mentions

Chambers High Net Worth 2022 Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers and Practices
Chambers USA 2021 Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers and Private Wealth Practice
Super Lawyers Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers in Seattle
Super Lawyers Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers in Seattle
Chambers USA 2020 Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers and Private Wealth Practice
Chambers High Net Worth 2019 Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers and Private Wealth Practice
Super Lawyers Recognizes 14 Dorsey Lawyers in Seattle
Chambers USA 2018 Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers and Private Wealth Practice
Super Lawyers Recognizes 14 Dorsey Lawyers in Seattle
Super Lawyers Recognizes 18 Dorsey Lawyers in Seattle
Dorsey & Whitney Names New Partners
Super Lawyers Recognizes 14 Dorsey Lawyers in Seattle

Select Presentations

  • Introduction to International Estate Planning CLE, Washington State Bar Association International Practice Section, June 28, 2018
  • Pre-Immigration Estate Planning, International Tax Conference, Washington State Society of Certified Public Accountants, May 23, 2017
  • Co-presenter: “Pre-immigration estate Planning," Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) – Seattle Chapter, January 26, 2017 
  • "Ethics in Trust Planning," National Business Institute CLE, August 26, 2014
  • Co-presenter: “Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Expatriation and the Exit Tax," Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) – Seattle Chapter, April 24, 2014
  • “The Probate Process Start to Finish, Family Support and the Washington Laws of Intestacy," National Business Institute CLE, August 26, 2013
  • “Probate & Trust Administration Fundamentals: Dealing with Creditors and Creditor Claims," Washington State Bar Association CLE, August 1, 2013
  • “Gift Tax Planning,” National Business Institute CLE, February 11, 2013
  • “Probate Boot Camp, First Steps," National Business Institute CLE, August 21, 2012 
  • “Trusts 201, Basic Investing Rules and Strategies and Trustee Fiduciary Duties,” National Business Institute CLE, November 15, 2011

Industries & Practices

  • Banking & Financial Institutions
  • Canada Cross-Border Transactions
  • Closely Held Businesses
  • Nonprofit & Tax Exempt Organizations
  • Tax Controversy & Litigation
  • Trusts & Estates
  • Trusts & Estates Litigation

Professional & Civic

Community Involvement

  • Member of the Board, The Dorsey & Whitney Foundation
  • Senior Vice President and Director of the Dorsey & Whitney Trust Company
  • Director, Stanley M. Proctor Company, Twinsburg, OH
  • Director, Kline Galland, Seattle Washington
  • Advisory Board, Full Life Care
  • Finance Committee Member, Stroum Jewish Committee Center
  • Seattle Estate Planning Council


    Pro Bono 50 Hours 2022Contributed 50+ Pro Bono Hours in 2020

  • Contributed more than 50 Challenge pro bono hours, 2020, 2022
  • Dorsey & Whitney – Scales of Justice Team Award (The World Ventilator Foundation), 2021
  • Recognized by Chambers High Net Worth (HNW) for Private Wealth Law – Washington, 2017-2021
  • Listed as a "Rising Star" by Washington Super Lawyers, 2016-2021
Jay Riffkin