Staying Current on Estate Planning

Jun 3, 2019

It’s important for estate planning attorneys to stay up on the latest developments and techniques. The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorney held its semi-annual conference in Atlanta last week. Read on to learn more about the topics discussed at that cutting-edge conference.

Compliments of our firm

By:  Stephen C. Hartnett, J.D., LL.M.
Director of Education
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.


Estate planning is a complicated area of the law. It’s the nexus of several substantive areas of law, including taxation, property law, family law, and other substantive areas. The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys held its semi-annual conference last week in Atlanta. The members of the Academy learned the latest developments in the law and estate planning techniques at the conference.

The presentations included the following:

Dana Fitzsimons, Fiduciary Counsel at Bessemer Trust, gave a humorous presentation on the most recent developments in the law relating to trustees, executors, and beneficiaries.

Professor Sam Donaldson of Georgia State University College of Law gave two lively presentations. The first was an overview of the latest developments and techniques in tax law. The second presentation focused on ways to modify estate plans which are no longer working as intended.

Barry Nickelsberg, Chief Development Officer for Estate & Gift Planning at The Carter Center, gave a great presentation providing an overview of various ways to give back through Charitable Giving, including the “charitable IRA rollover, charitable remainder trusts, and many other strategies.

I gave three presentations. The first was on the importance of funding when using a trust. The second presentation concerned the ins and outs of planning for IRA distributions during life and after death. The final presentation was a foundational session on the basics of estate planning for newer attorneys and those transitioning from other practice areas.

It’s critically important for estate planning attorneys to keep up-to-date on the latest developments in the law. That’s why the Academy requires its members to complete 36 hours of continuing legal education each year in the areas of estate planning, taxation, elder law, and ethics. This is much more than the requirements in any state, even for specialists. A well-educated estate planning attorney is better able to serve their clients’ needs.

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