Skills Training for Estate Planners - An Interactive Virtual Experience


August 6-7, 2020

This program is a consolidated take on the ideal estate planning CLE program for both new and experienced lawyers. Young and transitioning lawyers new to the practice will receive an educational experience focused on the “how to” of estate planning in the program. The outstanding facility includes experts in all aspects of estate planning and will cover a wide range of topics.
Skills Training for Estate Planners

Skills Training for Estate Planners

An Interactive Virtual Experience

Thursday, August 6 - Friday, August 7, 2020
All times are Central Times Zones

Program Schedule

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Basics of Estate Planning

Thursday, August 6, 2020
9:00 – 10:00 AM

This session will discuss an overview of the estate planning process, from the initial client intake through the final execution of the plan, and beyond. We will discuss document and drafting considerations, the estate planning team approach, as well as the softer side of planning. Estate planning is a profound and daunting endeavor for clients. What impact will you have in your clients’ lives?


  • Hugh Drake, Brown Hay & Stephens, Springfield, IL
  • Melisa Seyhun, Merrill Lynch, Chicago, IL

Estate and Gift Tax Part I

10:15 – 11:45 am

Estate and Gift Tax Part II

1 – 2:30 pm

This session will provide an introduction to the various tax rules governing lifetime gifts and transfers at death. We will discuss the basics of the gift tax and the estate tax together with considerations on planning considerations. Among the topics to be discussed include the annual gift tax exclusion, gifts which are specifically excluded from the gift tax, the definition of the gross estate for estate tax purposes, the deductions available in both the gift tax and the estate tax, the credits available to offset any estate and gift tax liability (including the lifetime exclusion and the deceased spouse unused exclusion amount) and the calculation of the estate and gift tax.


  • Marc S. Bekerman, Law Office of Marc S. Bekerman, Woodbury, NY
  • Thomas M. Featherston, Jr., Baylor University School of Law, Waco, TX

Leaders’ Lunch

12:00 – 12:45 PM

Join us during the program’s lunch break for networking and discussion with the Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law’s leaders. Learn more about the section, how to get involved, and our other programs.  

Planning for Probate Contests

2:45 – 3:45 PM

Although many estate planning arrangements are implemented without controversy, given family dynamics involved in such planning, drafting attorneys should be mindful of the possibility that family members will disagree. Those who are dissatisfied with an estate plan may resort to court proceedings. This segment of the STEP program will introduce attendees to the essential concepts of probate litigation, including will and trust disputes, contests, and fiduciary litigation. Those engaged in the estate planning process should be aware of the manner in which probate litigation arises so that they can plan to avoid such disputes (as much as possible). After reviewing those concepts, this segment will explore some of the planning approaches that can be pursued to avoid probate litigation.


  • Abigail Earthman, Winstead PC, Houston, TX
  • Margaret Lodise, Sacks Glazier Franklin & Lodise, Los Angeles, CA

Planning for Incapacity: Public Benefits and Supplemental Needs Trusts

4:00 – 5:00 PM

Planning Options for financing Long Term Care, including the use of governmental benefits such as Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans Benefits. Discussion of trust options for the preservation of assets.


  • Michael Kirtland, Kirtland & Seal LLC, Colorado Springs, CO
  • Catherine Anne Seal, Kirtland & Seal LLC, Colorado Springs, CO

Friday, August 7, 2020

All times are Central Times Zones

Basics of Estate and Trust Administration

9:00 – 10:00 AM

The session will review the steps in an estate administration and considerations for executors, as well as the operational side of trusts including the role of trust accountings and the duties of a trustee.


  • Toni Ann Kruse, McDermott Will & Emery, New York, NY
  • John Strohmeyer, John Strohmeyer Law, Houston, TX

Individual and Fiduciary Income Tax

10:15 – 11:15 AM

Ramping up the discussion about the income tax rules applicable to trusts and estates, we’ll explore the complex issues that estate planners need to know to help fiduciaries avoid income tax traps they may encounter when administering trusts and estates. Discover how language in governing documents and steps taken during administration can minimize unexpected income tax liabilities and secure special income tax planning benefits for decedents, trusts, and estates.


  • Raj Malviya, Miller Johnson, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Brandon Ross, JP Morgan Private Bank, Washington, DC

Common Planning Techniques (e.g. ILITs, Grantor Trusts and gift/sales, GRATs, QPRTs)

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

In the current environment of low interest rates and high exemptions, many clients are exploring more advanced wealth transfer and tax planning opportunities. This presentation will provide a general overview of sophisticated estate planning techniques to transfer wealth to younger generations and to charity while leveraging your client’s remaining estate and gift tax exemptions. Techniques that will be explored include grantor retained annuity trusts, sales to intentionally defective grantor trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, and charitable remainder trusts. During the presentation, we will highlight the technical process as to how each technique is structured as well as explore the various tax and non-tax considerations that drive each technique.


  • Christine Quigley, Schiff Hardin LLP, Chicago, IL
  • Emily Plocki, Venable, Washington, DC

Young Leaders’ Lunch

12:45 – 1:30 PM

Network with other program attendees and the Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law’s young leaders over lunch.

Tax Considerations in Drafting Trust Issues

1:45 – 2:45 PM

This program will review common tax traps to be aware of when drafting and funding trusts, including:

  • retained interests in trust property causing incomplete gifts, deemed gifts under Chapter 14 and/or estate tax inclusion;
  • retained control;
  • inadvertent grantor trust triggers;
  • powers in a trustee or beneficiary creating gift, estate or income tax exposure, and
  • when a trust becomes a foreign trust for US income tax purposes.


  • Marissa Dungey, Withersworldwide, Greenwich, CT
  •  James Dougherty, Withersworldwide, Greenwich, CT

Testamentary Estate Planning: Marital and Credit Shelter Formulas

3:00 – 4:00 PM

A discussion about the various clauses common to marital and credit shelter trusts, taxation issues and how to approach drafting such trusts.


  • Joshua Husbands, Holland & Knight, Portland, OR

Ethics for Estate Planners

4:15 – 5:15 PM

The presentation covers important ethical aspects of representing estate planning clients. Two fundamental issues involve confidentiality and loyalty (conflicts of interest) that are especially relevant when representing couples. The program will also discuss other conflict issues, including gifts to the lawyer or the lawyer’s family, naming the lawyer to serve as personal representative or trustee, and the subsequent representation of only one client when the lawyer formerly represented the couple. In addition, the discussion will include confidential communications when representing a fiduciary as well as the requirements for disclosing the basis for fees. Applicable rules include Model Rules 1.5 (fees), 1.6 (confidentiality), 1.7 (conflicts of interest), 1.8 (gifts to drafter), 1.9 (duties to former clients), and 1.18 (duties to prospective clients).


  • Alan Medlin, University of South Carolina School of Law, Columbia, SC


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