Monday, June 30, 2014
John J. Scroggin recently published an article entitled, Where is the Estate Planning Profession Going?, Wealth Strategies Journal, June 26, 2014. Provided below is the author's executive summary of the article:
This commentary will address the issue of the estate planning opportunities for younger estate planning attorneys and whether those opportunities are diminishing. While the focus of this commentary is on estate planning attorneys, many of the issues discussed in this commentary apply equally to other estate planning professionals.
The estate planning profession continues to change as tax rules change and our culture evolves. But the truth of Ben Franklin’s insightful comment remains no matter what Congress does or how the demographics change: “‘In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Taxes are always going to be a part of the estate planning process. While estate taxes will not govern estate planning as much as they have over the last several decades, the expanding deficit increases the possibility of new taxes in the future. As George Harrison noted in his 1966 song ‘Taxman” (written when he realized that his revenue was subject to a 95% super-tax), the government will always find a way to collect its “fair share”:
Should five percent appear too small Be thankful I don’t take it all cause I’m the taxman Yeah, I’m the taxman
If you drive a car car, I’ll tax the street If you try to sit sit, I’ll tax your seat
If you get too cold cold, I’ll tax the heat
If you take a walk walk, I’ll tax your feet
The Bottom Line: While the nature of the applicable taxes and clients may change over time, there will always be work for estate planning professionals because neither death nor taxes are going to disappear. Moreover, because of a number of factors, work for estate planning professionals (particularly those in their 30s and 40s) should increase between now and the middle of the century.
This commentary will discuss thirty positive and negative trends that will impact estate planning over the next several decades.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.