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W. Bjarne Johnson

Email W. Bjarne Johnson Bjarne is a member of the firm’s trusts, estates and taxation group where his practice consists solely of estate, tax and business planning in an effort to keep his clients safe from excess taxation, litigation or other unpleasantness. Even without guarantees in this regard, his clients appreciate the focus.

Through a combination of the selection and structuring of business entities, the determination of recommended tax planning techniques, and the assistance with personal estate planning issues, Bjarne works to provide for the safeguarding of a family’s assets and for the smooth passage of businesses and wealth between generations.

Bjarne has been selected for inclusion in "The Best Lawyers In America" and "Mountain States Super Lawyers," and has been elected a Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), a national organization of approximately 2,600 lawyers elected to membership by demonstrating the highest level of integrity, commitment to the profession, competence and experience as trust and estate counselors. See http://www.actec.org

Elected as a Regent to ACTEC’s governing body, the Board of Regents, and active in ACTEC’s Web site development and its various hard copy and electronic publications efforts, Bjarne was elected as President of the College, and served in that capacity until March of 2009.

As the result of a seemingly complete inability to say no, Bjarne is also a frequent lecturer on topics ranging from charitable tax planning to the application of technology to the practice of law.

Graduating from the University of Montana with the perfect degree for a career in tax planning (history, with enough unstructured dabbling in English to keep it interesting) in 1968, Bjarne also obtained his J.D. from the University of Montana School of law in 1974 and his LL.M., in taxation, from New York University in 1975. Bjarne also attended the University of Bordeaux in Bordeaux, France, about which he will only say that he received a wonderful education, if not a degree.

Bjarne also remains active in local civic and charitable causes, serving at one time on the Board of Directors and as Chair for the former Deaconess Hospital and the Board of Directors of McLaughlin Research Institute. And, due no doubt in large measure to his inability to think quickly when asked, Bjarne also was elected in the year 2000 as President of the Cascade County Bar Association.

Working with the firm since 1976, Bjarne managed to entice his wife, Dena, to move from San Francisco to Montana where she was a former trust and estate lawyer for the San Francisco firm of Pilsbury, Madison & Sutro, and is now a practice systems consultant to law firms nationwide. Bjarne and Dena currently reside with their daughter, Jenny, on the left bank of the Missouri River.

Practice Areas

Agricultural Law
Business Planning
Charitable Planning
Estate and Trust Administration
Estate Planning/Wills
Real Property
Taxation

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