The Academy’s 25th Anniversary Spring Summit recently concluded. The event was amazing!
There were numerous great sessions on marketing, practice management, and technology for the law office. The keynote speaker, James Farrell, from the Arbinger Institute, spoke about how changing your mindset to a more outward mindset leads to success and happiness. An outward mindset takes into consideration the impact of your actions on others and the needs of the organization as a whole. The Academy will have a special two-day training by the Arbinger Institute after our Fall Summit event.
Jeff Haden, author of The Motivation Myth, gave a great presentation on how high achievers set themselves up to win. In a nutshell, set realistic goals. This allows you to have small successes which builds your confidence in a virtuous cycle. Jeff’s presentation was full of wonderful examples and, coupled with his warm, humorous approach, made for a fun experience! Jeff is a contributing editor to Inc. Magazine and their most popular columnist. The reason is clear.
Members learned a great deal in the many education sessions at which they earned CLE credit and picked up some new ideas. Dennis Sandoval demonstrated how Life Care Planning and Hiring a Geriatric Care Manager leads to a better Elder Law practice. In his session on Special Needs, Dennis discussed new attacks on Special Needs Trusts and gave members a roadmap to respond to those attacks.
Kristin Simmons from Oshins & Associates in Las Vegas gave a wonderful presentation on Asset Protection planning. Kristin is very knowledgeable and spoke of the strengths and pitfalls of various asset protection techniques. Kristin warned of the dangers of trying to get greedy and put every last dime into a Domestic Asset Protection Trust. “Hogs get slaughtered.” Kristin wisely suggested a more moderate strategy would be more successful in the end.
I gave several presentations at this event. For example, on the final day, I gave two presentations. The first examined the New Tax Law and provided some strategies which members could share with their clients to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the new law, including the Qualified Business Income (“QBI”) deduction. I showed how the use of non-grantor trusts could allow one to get under the income caps for the QBI deduction or the $10,000 limit on the deductibility of State And Local Taxes (“SALT”). In the last presentation, I showed how income tax basis planning is now at the heart of estate planning. I also showed how the newly-doubled estate tax exclusion could be used to generate income tax savings by shifting income-producing assets to people in lower income tax brackets. I also showed how swapping assets with grantor trusts could be used to maximize the benefit of the step-up in basis at death.
On a personal level, this 25th Anniversary event was a heartwarming reunion for many longtime members. Many retired members came back to celebrate the event. The Academy is more than a professional organization, like the state bar. It is a community of like-minded individuals who care deeply about their clients and strive for excellence.
Stephen C. Hartnett, J.D., LL.M.
Director of Education
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128