Heckerling 2024 Reports from the ABA

The 2024 Heckerling Institute was held in-person (and virtually) in Orlando on January 8-12 and marked the conference’s 58th year. The Phillip E. Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning is the nation’s premier conference for estate planning professionals, offering unparalleled educational and professional development opportunities for all members of the estate planning team.  Over the course of the conference’s five days, numerous timely topics of interest to estate planners of all designations—including, but not limited to, attorneys, trust officers, accountants, charitable giving professionals, elder law specialists, wealth management professionals, and nonprofit advisors. As they have done for many years, the American…

Which Jurisdictions Are Best in 2024?

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) It often makes sense to situs clients’ trusts in a trust jurisdiction where there is no state income tax, where the trust assets are protected from creditors and divorcing spouses, where estate taxes can be avoided forever or close to forever, and where there is flexibility to make changes to irrevocable trusts that are otherwise protected. But which jurisdictions are best? The First Tier Two trust jurisdictions stand above the rest, Nevada and South Dakota.  Although one can argue for one or the other as #1, there is absolutely no believable argument that…

5 Digital Marketing Trends and Predictions for 2024

By Foster Web Marketing If you take a look back at 2023, you’ll see a lot of change over just 12 months. Google’s algorithms and analytics evolved dramatically. Online behavior and user preferences evolved, too. AI technology rapidly took center stage, and lots of law firms rose or fell based on how willing they were to embrace all the changes. Overall, I’d say it was a year full of seismic shifts in the ways that estate planners market and grow their practices online! And, looking ahead, 2024 promises to be another year of significant transformations. Of course, we all know…

8 Steps to Hiring a Great Executive Assistant

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach An executive assistant is an often overlooked position for many estate planning professionals. I know this because I often interact with a lot of attorneys, financial advisors, and CPAs directly on matters that I also know would be best handled by an executive assistant. Not having an executive assistant means that you, the executive, are often stuck with a lot of daily administrative tasks in the office. And that’s fine if that’s something that you enjoy doing and it works for you. But, for most estate planning professionals, that’s a huge misappropriation of the…

Should You Have a Full-Time Marketing Person on Your Staff?

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law We often espouse the importance of building your firm infrastructure with competent staff, adding first an executive assistant and/or paralegal, then an associate attorney, and then more staff. Having effective staff is the primary way to leverage your own time and output and increase your profit margin. But most attorneys overlook one particular key staff person when building their practice – – a dedicated full-time person to handle their marketing. Everything from making and confirming appointments to managing the…

7 Reasons Marketing Automation Software Is the Ultimate Gift to Yourself

By Foster Web Marketing You spend all year working with clients and crafting plans to secure their legacies. Now that it’s December, why not give a little something back to yourself that will make your life easier, save you time, and boost your business in 2024? If it’s not already part of your strategy, marketing automation software is a real game-changer because it takes so much “busy work” off your plate—but that’s not all it can do. Below, let’s unwrap seven reasons why marketing automation software might be the ultimate gift for your estate planning practice this year. 1. Increase…

Domestic Asset Protection Trusts: Why the Huber Case is a Million Percent Wrong

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) In Waldron v. Huber (In re Huber), Waldron v. Huber (In re Huber), Case No. 11-41013 (Bankr. W.D. Wash. Nov. 25, 2013), the court (in dicta) ruled that the law of the residency of the settlor of a Domestic Asset Protection Trust (“DAPT”) applies rather than the law chosen in the trust agreement for purposes of determining whether a DAPT is protected from the creditors of the settlor. [Dicta is a portion of the judge’s opinion that is not essential to the resolution of the case.  Huber was a bankruptcy and fraudulent transfer…

It’s You! Hi! You Might Be the Problem! It’s You!

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach I am not going to sugarcoat this article and it may rub some people the wrong way.  This is a topic that has the power to be life-changing and transformative to your life and your practice, but it depends on what you do with this information. I recently had the pleasure of sharing the success story of estate planning attorney, Leigh Cowden, who finished up her first year of practice with close to $400,000 of revenue in her first year!  While I was like a proud mama bear to share how much she had…

Everyone is in Sales

By Tom Hopkins As a public speaker and sales trainer, I have taught millions of career sales professionals how to effectively sell their products and services. But, more importantly, I have helped them understand that they must sell themselves first. And that’s a lesson I would like to share with everyone on the planet. Everyone is in Sales You may not want to believe me because you think “selling” is a nasty word or dishonorable profession. Perhaps you’ve had a bad past experience with a salesperson who matches Hollywood’s description of the stereotype—pushy, manipulative and slick. All I can say…

Not a Big Fan of the Federal Estate and Gift Tax Exemption Rules

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) I’ll be the one to come out and say what many of us are thinking… I’m not a big fan of the federal estate and gift tax exemption rules!  The exemption is currently $12.92 million per person, adjusting for inflation each year, and then dropping in half when the clock hits midnight the night of December 31, 2025.  Cinderella!  Cinderella! Ability to Plan How can we possibly plan for our clients when we don’t know whether each unmarried client will have roughly $15 million of exemption versus roughly $7.5 million of exemption, or…