The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (the “Academy”) held its Fall Summit in San Diego centered on the idea of refreshing and resetting. It was fitting that we held this Summit in San Diego. It’s the city where the Academy began, it houses our headquarters, and truly represents the best place for us to refresh, reset, and reconnect with one another. When I deplaned in San Diego, it felt like coming home. Admittedly, it was colder than I expected, but that didn’t dampen the energy, excitement, or enthusiasm the Academy Team and Members felt being together. Too much time had passed since Spring Summit in Austin; everyone felt the need to gather, and hugs were in abundant supply.
Academy founders, Robert Armstrong and Sandford M. Fisch opened the conference by updating the Members about the Academy’s progress in 2022 and plans for 2023. They acknowledged the 49 Academy Members that have been with us for over 20 years. What an incredible achievement and testament to the value the Academy provide to its Members. The Academy requires its Members to earn 36 hours of continuing legal education (“CLE”) in Estate Planning, Tax, Elder Law, and Ethics. The Academy’s rigorous continuing education requirement ensures its Members know and understand the latest developments in these fields. Many Members earn significant hours at the two semi-annual Summit conferences each year at which they can create their ideal schedule by choosing sessions on marketing, practice management, technology, or education.
Day one marked the end of an era for one of the Academy’s own. We said so long to Lillian Valdez who joined us for a final day to say goodbye. During her nineteen years with the Academy, Lillian inspired countless Members with her innovative and creative coaching techniques. Her smile, wit, and dedication have left a hole that will be hard to fill. Our cocktail party overlooked the San Diego Bay and provided a breathtaking view of the San Diego skyline. The first day ended with a bang as the lucky few who stayed until the end of the party caught sight of fireworks lighting up the night sky. It felt good to be home. Friday morning opened with Carole J. Buckner who gave an enlightening talk on Practical Ethics for the Estate Planning Attorney while fielding multiple Member questions. Carole reminded us that Trust and Estate Planning has become one of the fastest growing areas for malpractice and she provided practical guidance about how to best protect ourselves.
Dale Krause took the stage first thing Saturday morning and gave a talk on Demystifying Medicaid and Medicaid Compliant Annuities. His presentation did just that. Dale gave an illuminating explanation of planning for Medicaid in a crisis with practical examples. Members hung on his every word, and it was clear that all who attended left with a better understanding of how to help their clients when the unexpected occurs. Steve Hartnett, the Director of Education for the Academy, demonstrated his versatility and took the stage multiple times, beginning on Saturday afternoon. Steve presented on international estate planning issues and gave the Members much to consider with his various hypotheticals.
I opened Sunday morning with a talk on Trust Administration and enjoyed answering the questions Members had for me. Steve ended Fall Summit with a Continuing Education program on IRAs and Retirement Plans. This program was designed to give Academy Members a roadmap for giving this presentation to their own centers of influence. Once we completed Fall Summit, Steve and I gave an optional training that covered Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts, Charitable Remainder Trusts, and Income Taxation issues for Trusts. While we appreciate presenting for the main sessions, we also enjoy interacting with the Members on this level, especially when they bring their own hypotheticals and real-life client issues.
Fall Summit 2022 marked the end of one chapter as we said goodbye to one of our own and the beginning of a new chapter as we embark upon 2023 which marks the 30th anniversary of the Academy. Many Members shared how much they enjoyed the speakers and programming offered. Others shared how much they learned, not only from the speakers but from the free and open exchanges with one another. We have an incredible Academy Team dedicated to the success of our Members and Fall Summit 2022 demonstrated that many times over. Of course, the Members themselves make the Academy all that it is. They push us, they inspire us, and they motivate us. This mutually beneficial relationship allows Members to adapt to changes in Estate Planning while maintaining excellent client relations. Perhaps it’s time to see what the Academy can do for you.
Tereina Stidd, J.D., LL.M.
Associate Director of Education
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128
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