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Note From the Editor: February 2023

Editor in Chief Susan R. Lipp discusses this month's issue.

Estate-planning practitioners are often busy with cerebral functions like analyzing the various tax laws and drafting the perfect trust documents to meet the needs of their clients. But sometimes, it’s nice to take a step back and think about more philosophical  issues like what an estate-planning practice may look like in the future. With the current high estate and gift tax exemptions, what other client goals can estate planners achieve aside from tax savings? What are some of the growth areas for estate-planning practices? And what size firms are best suited to handle these issues? As part of this month’s Modern Practice Committee Report, we asked four thought leaders to share their views. Their responses are included in “The Future of Estate Planning,” p. 54. Unsurprisingly, not everyone agreed on what the future will or should look like. But some common themes did emerge, such as the myriad of growth areas for firms, the role attorneys should play in helping to resolve family conflicts and the many opportunities for talented attorneys to join the field.

Returning to the more analytical side of estate planning, this month’s issue also includes our Valuations Committee Report. Determining the value of assets in an estate or donated to a charity is a crucial component of estate planning and one that practitioners must understand and address. Our articles this month cover how the Inflation Reduction Act impacts business valuation, how the Tax Court has determined the value of a conservation easement donation and the evolving law on discounts for lack of marketability in family limited partnerships.

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