I recently returned from the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning conference in Orlando, Fla. I wasn’t able to attend all the sessions (although I did lots of running around—I logged in over five miles of walking a day without even leaving the hotel), but I did make it to R. Hugh Magill’s presentation, “Estate Planning and Trust Management for a Brave New World: It’s All in the Family … What’s a Family?” Hugh presented some fascinating statistics about how the composition of families has changed over the years, and I even learned a new term: “diblings,” which he defined as the descendants of one male genetic donor, who are related to each other by blood (either half blood or whole blood). To keep up with the modern family, practitioners need to be aware of these changes and update their practices to serve their clients.
Moving from the modern family to the modern practice, our Modern Practice Committee Report covers some important issues that practitioners deal with on a day-to-day basis. One such issue is the decision to retain or destroy client files. In “Document Retention for the Modern Trusts and Estates Practitioner,” p. 41, David A. Bamdad and Christopher J. Clarke explore the importance of developing and enforcing internal policies with respect to the retention and destruction of client files to avoid malpractice claims and/or grievances. In his article, “The Quid Pro Quo Explorer,” p. 31, Craig R. Hersch tackles the tough question of getting and receiving referrals without expectations of a quid pro quo. And, we have a point/counterpoint article, “Document Assembly Systems: Friend or Foe?” p. 36, by Jonathan G. Blattmachr and Martin M. Shenkman (friend) and Douglas J. Paul (foe).
Finally, I’d like to welcome a new member of our editorial advisory board: Lawrence Lipoff, director of Trusts & Estates at CohnReznick LLP in New York City, has joined our International Practice Committee.