Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Sitkoff appointed to chair Drafting Committee for Uniform Act on Conflict of Laws in Trusts and Estates

Estate planning"Robert H. Sitkoff, the John L. Gray Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, has been appointed chair of the Uniform Law Commission's drafting committee for an Act on Conflict of Laws in Trusts and Estates."

Sitkoff is an expert in wills, trusts, estates, and fiduciary administration and was the youngest tenured professor to receive a chair in Harvard Law School history. " ". He is the surviving co-author of Wills, Trusts, and Estates (10th ed. 2017), the leading American coursebook on trusts and estates, and a co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Fiduciary Law (2019). He is also the editor of the Wills, Trusts, and Estates abstracting journal of the Social Science Research Network and an Academic Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel." 

Sitkoff has been active in trusts and estates law reform through the American Law Institute (ALI) and the Uniform Law Commission (ULC), so this type of responsibility will not be new to him. 

Sitkoff had this to say about his new appointment, “This will be a fascinating but difficult undertaking. Much of the existing law on conflict of trust laws, which traces mainly to the Restatement (Second) of Conflicts, is stale. It reflects an outmoded and much simpler model of practice,” he said. “Today we have increasing differentiation in state trust laws, an increasingly mobile population, and increasingly complex trust structures that divide fiduciary responsibility among multiple players. So hard conflict of trust laws problems are arising with increasing frequency.”

See Gretchen Ertl, Sitkoff appointed to chair Drafting Committee for Uniform Act on Conflict of Laws in Trusts and Estates, Harvard Law Today, February 12, 2021. 

February 18, 2021 in Appointments and Honors, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The ACTEC Foundation Announces 2020-2022 Class of Dennis I. Belcher Young Leaders

ACTEC_FoundationThe following is from an ACTEC Foundation press release:

Washington, DC, September 30, 2020: Jeffrey C. Thede, President, The ACTEC Foundation and Terrence M. Franklin, Chair, ACTEC Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Committee are pleased to announce the sixth class of Dennis I. Belcher ACTEC Young Leaders.

The Dennis I. Belcher Young Leaders Program was designed to foster scholarship and education in trust and estate matters, promote diversity and inclusivity and encourage the development of potential ACTEC Fellows. Initiated in collaboration with the American Bar Association Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section (RPTE) Fellows program, it provides successful graduates of the two-year RPTE program an opportunity to extend their participation in RPTE leadership activities through the financial support of The ACTEC Foundation. In March 2018, the program was named after Dennis I. Belcher, ACTEC President 2009-2010, a leader of the College and mentor to many young trust and estate lawyers.

New ACTEC Young Leader, Emily Plocki of Venable LLP in Washington, DC said, “I am honored to be a participant in the Dennis I. Belcher Young Leaders Program and look forward to expanding my involvement in the ABA RPTE Section and broadening my knowledge of ACTEC and The ACTEC Foundation. I am excited to attend and learn from regional ACTEC events, which will be extremely beneficial in my growth as an estate planning attorney.”  

The Dennis I. Belcher Young Leaders Program provides lawyers with an in-depth introduction to ACTEC and its role in the trust and estate community and encourages active engagement in responsibilities that support future eligibility for nomination as an ACTEC Fellow. Young leaders are offered tuition-free attendance at the ACTEC-ALI/CLE webinars, financial support to attend ABA/RPTE Section Meetings and are invited to attend regional and state ACTEC events.

The ACTEC Foundation 2020-2022 class of Dennis I. Belcher Young Leaders are:

Jessica Coutré of Freeborn in Chicago, IL

Jessica Coutré received her JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law where she was on the Dean’s Honor List and received the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Federal Transfer Tax. As an attorney in the Corporate Practice Group at Freeborn, she concentrates her practice in estate planning, trust and estate administration and controversy and related gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax issues for high and ultra-high net worth individuals, their families and their businesses. Jessica advises clients on the structuring and implementation of advanced estate planning strategies, supplemental needs trusts for disabled loved ones, pre- and post-nuptial agreements and charitable planning through the creation of private foundations, public charities and charitable trusts.  

Jessica Diaz of Sherman & Howard in Denver, CO

Jessica Diaz received her JD from the University of Chicago Law School and is a Member in Sherman & Howard’s Estate and Tax Planning Group where she focuses her practice on sophisticated estate, tax and business succession planning. She works with clients to address a variety of planning needs and designs creative solutions that integrate each client’s family values and dynamics with sophisticated wealth transfer strategies. Jessica’s practice also includes business, marital and charitable planning; estate and trust administration; advising trustees, personal representatives and beneficiaries; and probate litigation.

Jacob Geierman of Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC

Jacob L. Geiermann is a student at the Georgetown University Law Center where he is obtaining his LL.M. in Taxation with a Certificate in Estate Planning. Jacob is a graduate of the University of North Dakota where he received his JD in 2013 and degree in Accountancy in 2009. Since law school, Jacob maintained an active trusts and estates practice in North Dakota and Minnesota, working closely with a long-time ACTEC Fellow. Jacob has extensive experience in providing legal counsel in the areas of estate planning, tax planning and compliance and trust and estate administration.

Emily Plocki of Venable LLP in Washington, DC

Emily Plocki received her JD, cum laude, from the University of Toledo College of Law and her LL.M. (with distinction) in Taxation, Certificate in Estate Planning from Georgetown University Law Center. Emily assists high-net-worth individuals, multigenerational families and owners of family corporations, both domestically and internationally, with tax planning and wealth preservation. Emily handles a variety of matters, including estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax planning; trust and estate administration; planned charitable giving; and business succession strategies.

Renee Salley of The Salley Law Firm in Marietta, GA

Renee E. Salley earned her JD from Georgia State University College of Law where she was an Outstanding Tax Student Award recipient awarded by the State Bar of Georgia. She is an estate planning attorney who also serves clients in the areas of business planning as well as estate and trust administration at The Salley Firm, LLC located in the metro-Atlanta area. Prior to starting her own firm, Renee spent several years as an associate with deAndrade Mangieri, LLC, focusing on individual, family, and multi-generational estate tax planning, business succession planning, trust and probate administration and small business legal support. Currently serving as a Real Property, Trusts, & Estates Fellow with the American Bar Association, Renee is a member of the State Bar of Georgia as well as the Alabama State Bar.

September 30, 2020 in Appointments and Honors | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

How Conservation Easement Tax Shelters Became An Issue In A Current Georgia Congressional Race

Rome"The controversy over syndicated conservation easements tax shelters has raised its ugly head in the Congressional race in the 14th District in Georgia."

It is likely that representation of the district in Congress will be deterred by a primary run off for the Republican Party on August 11th. The runoff candidates for the nomination for the replacement of Tom Graves are neurosurgeon John Cowan and construction executive Marjorie Taylor Greene. 

Below is a statement Marjorie Taylor Greene's campaign issued criticizing her opponent for his connection to the syndicated conservation easement industry:

I’ve never been fond of rats, snakes, and swamp creatures... or liars. My opponent John Cowan is propped up and funded by the good ‘ole boy corrupt Rome swamp that is desperate for special favors and get out of jail free cards. Rome, Ga is plagued by a massive corrupt abusive tax shelter scam currently being investigated by the IRS and the DOJ. . . John Cowan only cares about slithering his way up to the big swamp in DC to join the other swamp creature and play the same age old game of greedy corruption all for power and money. The people won’t stand for this on August 11th! Vote Marjorie Taylor Greene to drain the swamp!"

Ms. Greene is the favorite to win the runoff as she finished first in the primary with 40.3% of the vote. John Cowan  came in second out of six with 21% of the vote. According to his website "he is Pro Trump, Pro Life and Pro Gun and is ready to “fight against any efforts by the left to rebrand socialism, undermine our Constitution or threaten our freedoms”.

If you own property and contribute an easement and passing on your rights to change the property to a qualified organization, you can take a federal income tax deduction for the value of that easement. "Since there is not a lot of market for easements you generally value them based on the difference between the before easement and after easement value of the property."

This allows an investor to invest in an easement and bring in a a whopping amount in tax revenue all for creating an easement. The IRS and the DOJ aren't too fond of the idea and the topic has become an issue in the congressional race. 

See Peter J. Reilly, How Conservation Easement Tax Shelters Became An Issue In A Current Georgia Congressional Race, Forbes, July 31, 2020. 

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

August 11, 2020 in Appointments and Honors, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Stephanie Loomis-Price named Chair of the Section of Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law for the 2020-21 bar year

Loomis-PriceThe following is from an ABA announcement:

Stephanie Loomis-Price of WinsteadPC has been named Chair of the Section of Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law for the 2020-21 bar year.

Stephanie, a trust and estate attorney, will lead the Section of 17,000 active members. Stephanie handles federal gift and estate tax litigation against the Internal Revenue Service across the nation, as well as state fiduciary and probate controversy work. She has assisted clients in numerous cases in the United States Tax Court, the United States Court of Federal Claims, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuits, as well as County Probate Courts in Texas. She also counsels clients regarding complex estate administration and minimizing litigation and audit risks.

August 5, 2020 in Appointments and Honors | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 4, 2020

National Association of Estate Planners & Councils May 2020 Newsletter Provided by Leimberg Information Services

AEP Logo(2)The National Association of Estate Planners & Councils has released its May 2020 newsletter in which Steve Leimberg offered commentary on what every planner needs to know about the psychology of death and dying. You can read the illuminating newsletter here.

Below is the executive summary of Steve Leimberg's enlightening commentary:

The current coronavirus pandemic is a “moment of awakening and focus” for everyone throughout the world with regard to the inevitability of dying and death. Yet I suspect that all too many individuals in our country do not have the proper end-of-life documents for a very simple but very human reason; we professionals have difficulty, both as professionals and as family-members, bringing up and talking about the subjects of dying and death. This commentary is about the psychological aspects of dying and death – and what you as a planner – and as a human – need to know. We are – EACH OF US - in the middle of a life-threatening pandemic – so at no time in the memory of anyone still walking today is the subject of death and dying more on our minds. This commentary will cover why every member of the estate planning team must think and know more about the psychology of death and dying. I’ll cover the five payoffs of the estate planning process – beyond tax savings and appropriate disposition of assets – why we as professionals need to be more involved as counselors – and the feelings our clients are likely to go through in their late aging and dying process. I’ll also cover success factors in working with clients – and the emotional problems of the survivors and the tools you have to help them get through their most difficult trials.

June 4, 2020 in Appointments and Honors, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

John A. Terrill, II is the new President of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC)

ACTECThe following is from ACTEC's press release:

Washington, DC: The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) is proud to announce that John A. (“Jack”) Terrill, II became President. The official “Passing of the Gavel” ceremony took place Saturday, March 23, 2019, at ACTEC’s Annual Meeting in La Quinta, California. Terrill, a partner at Heckscher, Teillon, Terrill & Sager, P.C. in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania succeeded ACTEC Fellow Charles D. “Skip” Fox, IV from Charlottesville, Virginia. 

ACTEC is a professional organization of approximately 2,500 lawyers from both the United States and abroad. Fellows of ACTEC have extensive experience in one or more of several practice areas including among others estate and trust planning; estate tax, gift tax and generation-skipping tax planning; fiduciary income tax planning; charitable planning; planning for owners of closely-held and family businesses; fiduciary litigation; and estate and trust administration. Terrill was elected to ACTEC in 1991 and has been an officer since 2015. He has been an active participant in the work of the College and is the founding Chair of ACTEC’s Asset Protection Committee. He also chaired the FATF Task Force and has been an active member of a number of committees including Professional Responsibility Committee, Sponsorship Advisory Committee, Legal Education Committee, and Executive Committee. 

Terrill is a nationally recognized authority on asset protection planning and on the international efforts to involve lawyers in the war against money-laundering and terrorist financing under the auspices of the Financial Action Task Force. Terrill was a lecturer at University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he taught Trusts and Estates, and an adjunct professor in the graduate tax program at Villanova University.

“Knowing ACTEC, its Fellows and Staff, as I do, I must say that it is the greatest honor of my professional life to be chosen to lead this organization during its 70th year. I have had a close-hand view of the Fellows of the College showing the highest level of professional excellence in what they do, for their clients and for the trust and estate practice in their broader communities. Collectively they play an important role in the creation, improvement and interpretation of laws and rules for the benefit of our local communities, states and country. As President, my most important role will be to facilitate the delivery of that excellence in every possible way.”

At the La Quinta Annual Meeting, ACTEC’s Board of Regents elected the following 2019-2020 officers, each of whom will serve with Terrill on the Executive Committee and on the Board of Regents:

Skip Fox will also serve on the Executive Committee as the immediate Past- President during the 2019-2020 year.

About the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC):  Established in 1949, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, ACTEC, is a national organization of approximately 2,500 lawyers peer-elected to membership by demonstrating the highest level of integrity, commitment to the profession, competence, and experience as trust and estate counselors. Our members, "Fellows," are the best and brightest in the trust and estate practice, with decades of experience representing and advising families. ACTEC offers technical comments about the law and its effective administration but does not take positions on matters of policy or political objectives.

April 2, 2019 in Appointments and Honors | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Jonathan G. Blattmachr to receive Hartman Axley Lifetime Service Award.

The National Association of Estate Planners & Councils has selected Jonathan G. Blattmachr as this year’s winner of its prestigious Hartman Axley Lifetime Service Award. The award recognizes “those that have been highly active in the estate planning community and crucial to the development of the Association.”  Past winners include Conrad Teitell, David Eugene Lajoie, Robert G. Alexander, L. Henry Gissel, Jr. and Leonard H. Neiman.  More information about the award is here. The award will be presented at NAEPC’s annual meeting to be held in New Orleans November 15-17, 2017.

Mr. Blattmachr is the director of estate planning for the Peak Trust Company and a director of Pioneer Wealth Partners, LLC, a boutique wealth advisor firm in Manhattan. He is a retired member (and former Chair of the Trusts & Estates Department) of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP and a retired member of the California and New York bars. He is the author or co-author of eight books and over 500 articles. He is co-developer of Wealth Transfer Planning, a computerized system for lawyers that automatically generates estate planning documents, such as wills and trusts, and provides specific client advice using a form of artificial intelligence. Mr. Blattmachr graduated from Columbia Law School in 1970, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and Bucknell University, from which he received an A.B. degree in Mathematics. Mr. Blattmachr served on active duty in the United States Army from 1970 to 1972.  He has been an adjunct professor at several New York area law schools and held a variety of leadership positions in the New York State Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. He is the primary author of New York’s decanting statute as well as a variety of statutes in other jurisdictions relating to self-settled asset protection trusts, elective community property trusts, and the repeal of the rule against perpetuities.

November 10, 2017 in Appointments and Honors | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Here’s Who  Stashes Their Riches in Offshore Havens

10-celebrity-tax-1New research based on data taken from the Bank for International Settlements shows that the affluent using offshore tax havens tend to be from countries stocked with natural resources, living in close proximity to Switzerland, or residing in nations that are politically or economically unstable. The data also strongly indicate that tax evasion rates increase sharply as wealth increases. In Scandinavia, the average rate of tax evasion is about 3%. But, 30% of the top .01% evade personal taxes.

See Steve Goldstein, Here’s Who  Stashes Their Riches in Offshore Havens, MarketWatch, September 12, 2017.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 9, 2017 in Appointments and Honors, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2017 Recognizes Eleven Day Pitney Attorneys

Ec6f2ed09c52cfe893304aa5b1c2e074--oscar-winners-award-winnerEleven Day Pitney LLP attorneys specializing in trusts and estates were recognized in the 2017 Chambers High Net Worth Guide. The publication is targeted specifically at the private wealth market and features extensive evaluation of leading lawyers and law firms. “All of the lawyers recognized are listed below:

Leila Dal Pos, Private Wealth Law– Massachusetts

Steven Fast, Private Wealth Law– Connecticut

Barbara Freedman Wand, Private Wealth Law– Massachusetts

Christiana Gianopulos, Private Wealth Law– Connecticut

Gregory Hayes, Private Wealth Law– Connecticut

Leiha Macauley, Private Wealth Law– Nationwide, Private Wealth Law– Massachusetts

David Silvian, Private Wealth Law– Massachusetts

Dina Kapur Sanna, Private Wealth Law– Nationwide, Private Wealth Law– New York

Darren Wallace, Private Wealth Law– Connecticut

Warren Whitaker, Private Wealth Law– Nationwide, Private Wealth Law– New York

Stephen Ziobrowski, Private Wealth Law– Massachusetts”

See Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2017 Recognizes Eleven Day Pitney Attorneys, Day Pitney, September 20, 2017.

September 26, 2017 in Appointments and Honors, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Application For ABA Real Property, Trust, & Estate Law Fellowship

ABAThe ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate (RPTE) Law Fellows Program encourages the active involvement and participation of young lawyers in Section activities. The goal of the program is to give young lawyers an opportunity to become involved in the substantive work of the RPTE Section, while developing into future leaders.

If appointed as an RPTE Fellow, you will:

  • Work with a designated Committee Chair, who will serve as a mentor and teach you how to successfully participate in committee leadership
  • Get involved in a substantive project, which could include writing for an RPTE publication or speaking at a Section CLE event
  • Become a Section liaison to the ABA Young Lawyers Division or your local bar association
  • Become an active member of the Membership Committee
  • Participate in important Section leadership meetings

The application may be found here.


March 21, 2016 in Appointments and Honors, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)