August 10, 2023

9:00 – 10:00 am

Basics of Estate Planning

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

Molly Depew
Grant Herrmann Schwartz & Klinger
New York, NY

10:15 – 11:45 am

1:00 – 2:30 pm

Estate and Gift Tax Part 1 and Part 2


This session will provide an introduction to the various federal tax rules governing lifetime gifts and transfers at death.  We will discuss the basics of the gift tax and the estate tax together with their interaction with the generation skipping transfer tax and related income tax concepts.  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

11:45 AM – 12:45 pm 

Leader’s Lunch (Non-CLE Program)

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. Lunch will be provided for all conference registrants.

2:45 – 3:45 pm

Planning for Probate Contests

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 Skills Training 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
Perkins Coie LLP
Dallas, TX
Briana Loughlin
Perkins Coie LLP
Austin, TX

4:00 – 5:00 pm

Special Needs Trusts and Clients with
Diminished Capacity

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.

David English
University of Missouri School of Law
Columbia, MO
Benji Rubin
Rubin Law
Chicago, IL

5:00 – 6:30 pm

Networking Reception

August 11, 2023

9:00 – 10:00 am

Basics of Estate and Trust Administration

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.

Anthony Engel
Bessemer Trust
Chicago, IL
John Strohmeyer
Strohmeyer Law PLLC
Houston, TX

10:15 – 11:15 am

Individual and Fiduciary Income Tax

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

11:30 am – 12:30 pm

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

Even in these times of economic turbulence, many clients are exploring more advanced wealth transfer and tax planning opportunities. As we shift from a low interest rate environment to a higher rate environment, some of the tools that have been “on the shelf” for many years may become more widely utilized again. 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

Washington, DC

12:30 – 1:30 pm

Young Leaders’ Lunch

Network with other program attendees and the Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law’s young leaders over lunch. Lunch will be provided for all conference registrants.

1:30 – 2:30 pm

Retirement Accounts and Charitable Giving

An estate planner must be aware of the fundamental rules concerning retirement accounts and how to incorporate these accounts into a client’s estate plan. This program will cover the complex rules concerning retirement accounts, including tax considerations and appropriate beneficiary designations. This program will also address the different ways an estate planner can incorporate charitable giving in a client’s estate plan.

Jeffrey Hopkins
Barnes, Alford, Stork & Johnson, LLP
Columbia, SC
Ryan Session
Chicago, IL

2:45 3:45 pm

Testamentary Estate Planning: Marital and Credit Shelter Formulas

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

4:00 – 5:00 pm

Ethics for Estate Planners

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).

Deadra Woods Stokes
IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
Chicago, IL