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2018 Trusts & Estates Distinguished Authors Awards

This year’s winners are revealed.

The ballots are closed, and the votes are in. Continuing with our new annual tradition, the Trusts & Estates editorial staff once again met and reviewed the articles that appeared in the print edition of the magazine over the past year. We nominated articles that we felt were standouts in three respective categories: Philanthropy Planning, Rising Star and Thought Leadership. Nominations were based on factors, including the novelty of the topic, the feedback we received from readers and the significance of the topic in the current estate-planning environment.

We then sent out a survey, asking our subscribers to vote for their nominees in each category. The winners will be honored at a Trusts & Estates dinner ceremony taking place during the 2019 Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning in Orlando, Fla.

Here are the winners: 

Philanthropy Planning

“The Rise of Women as Philanthropic Family Leaders” by Amy Castoro and Kathleen Loehr

Castoro and Loehr knew that women are increasingly in the driver’s seat when it comes to philanthropic decision-making. Yet, many estate planners don’t fully understand gender differences when it comes to giving and the rising influence of women as philanthropic leaders. Women are more inclined to use philanthropy as a teaching tool to unify the family around shared values and the purpose for wealth. Given the increased money being earned and inherited by women, their influence in household giving is now more significant than ever. The takeaway: If estate plans are to be implemented as intended, estate planners need to engage more women in the planning process. 

Rising Star

It was a tie.

“Aging at Home” by Mark Gilfix

Gilfix lives in the heart of Silicon Valley, where he’s acquainted with leaders in the world of technology and keeps a close eye on developments relevant to multigenerational planning. He believes that, “we, as attorneys who take care of families, have the ability and opportunity to expand client relationships beyond their traditional structures, if we’re equipped to do so.” He wrote this article to help fellow attorneys to think “outside of the box” to achieve this goal. 

“Coming to America” by Steve Maggi, Jay Scheidlinger and Jonathan I. Shenkman

Each aware of the challenges involved in planning for immigrant clients, Maggi, Scheidlinger and Shenkman collaborated on this two-part article to provide practitioners an overview of the obstacles that may arise when advising these clients.

They anticipate immigration maintaining dominance in national headlines as foreigners continue to move here in search of the stability and opportunity that their home countries can’t offer. They note that advisors who understand the nuances involved with advising wealthy immigrants can benefit greatly from this trend.

Thought Leadership

Drafting and Updating Your Retainer Agreements” by Sandra D. Glazier and Martin M. Shenkman

Glazier and Shenkman wrote this article about retention letters because they are vital to protect attorneys, and define the scope and terms of engagement. They advise attorneys to regularly review their letters to address changes in laws, technology, evolving composition of family units, challenges of aging, and a range of other issues. According to Glazier and Shenkman, the practice of law continues to evolve and so should retention agreements. “We hoped to encourage a re-evaluation of retention agreements and recognition of the import in identifying: (1) the client, (2) engagement, and (3) conflicts of interest, as well as in ‘vetting’ clients (that is, weeding out liability and recognizing acts of procurement, which could be an indicia of undue influence) and addressing privilege and future diminished capacity issues.” Retention letters can communicate a firm’s practices, procedures, client responsibilities, and more. The authors added, “They can be a valuable form of communication, not merely a means of defining billing terms.”

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