Thursday, March 10, 2016

50th Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning

The 50th annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning that recently took place in Florida marked its celebratory golden anniversary with a wide-ranging program that highlights just how much the estate-planning landscape has revolutionized since the American Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA).

Two of the conference attendees, Martin Shenkman, founder of Shenkman Law and Jonathan Blattmachr, Principal in Pioneer Wealth Partners, supported this theme at the conference.  Shenkman argued, “we are estate counselors, as much as we are tax planning advisors.”

Since statistics show people are living longer than ever and federal estate tax exemption has encountered a substantial jump, renders a change in clients’ priorities.  Now, clients are much more focused on two areas:

1.       Finding a way to make sure their income lasts for the rest of their lives
2.       Finding a way to help them avoid guardianship proceedings while they encounter diminished cognitive abilities.

So these days the primary role of estate-planning teams has moved away from reducing estate taxes and broadening this to a wider spectrum including the above two points as well as broad trust for trustees, etc.

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