Some estate-planning professionals may consider it a calling to go into this area of law—helping clients deal with difficult issues, such as making sure their affairs are in order and avoiding discord among their children. But, like most professions, estate planning is also a business. You can’t do your job if you don’t have any clients. Our Committee Report on The Modern Practice deals with both sides of the estate-planning practice. To make sure clients have prepared their heirs for the many details they’ll have to take care of at the client’s death, “Filling in the Gaps,” by Marvin E. Blum, p. 37, explains how clients can use a “red file” to advise their loved ones on issues beyond traditional estate planning. In fact, this article struck a personal chord with one of our editors, whose father had created such a file before his death. On the business side, Craig R. Hersch, in “Marketing the Modern Estate-Planning Practice,”
p. 43, explains how to get and keep clients. New technology makes this goal easier and less costly to attain. And, in light of the possibility of the repeal of the estate tax, you might want to read “Overlooked or Underappreciated Reasons for Estate Planning,” by Janice A. Forgays (p. 48), which reviews some of the non-tax reasons for planning discussions and documents.
This month’s issue also contains a Special Section on Valuations, which includes practical information on preparing clients for the audit process, an update on new developments such as the December 2016 hearing on the proposed Internal Revenue Code Section 2704 regulations, issues to consider when planning with undivided interests and instructions for taking subsequent events into account when determining a valuation.