Amy L. Hespenheide

Partner | San Francisco

Secretary Katie Gradwohl


Amy is a partner in the private client and tax team.

Her practice is focused on estate planning for high net worth clients, clients with complex family structures and/or complex assets, international and cross-jurisdictional planning and irrevocable trust and tax planning. She also manages multi-faceted trust administration and probate matters and advises clients on charitable giving, including the negotiation and drafting of gift agreements.

Amy counsels individual clients, married spouses, registered domestic partners and legally unrelated life partners as well as multiple generations of families in all aspects of estate planning, including wealth transfer, succession of digital assets, estate tax freezing techniques, generation-skipping transfer tax planning, income tax planning, charitable giving and disposition of retirement assets. She advises founders and senior executives of emerging companies on initial estate and tax planning and in advance of, during and after funding rounds, liquidity events such as an initial public offering (IPO) or sale, and/or an exit from the company.

Amy has extensive experience in designing and drafting irrevocable inter vivos trusts, including grantor retained annuity trusts, charitable split-interest trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, intentionally defective grantor trusts, and domestic non-grantor trusts designed to receive transfers of assets from non-resident non-citizen donors and/or foreign grantor trusts. Before earning her Master of Laws in Taxation in 2010, Amy practiced as a business litigator for ten years, with particular emphasis on trust and fiduciary litigation and real estate litigation.
Headshot of Amy L. Hespenheide

Me in a minute

I particularly enjoy the logic-puzzle aspect of tax law.

As a former litigator, one of my goals in designing each client's estate plan is to avoid ambiguities that might open the door to disputes in the administration phase. Working on the front end to understand clients' needs and goals and to establish comprehensive plans rather than fighting after the fact gives me great professional and intellectual satisfaction. I particularly enjoy the logic-puzzle aspect of tax law and applying that in ways specifically tailored to each client.