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Note From the Editor: May 2020

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

The COVID-19 pandemic that continues to devastate the world has spurred many clients to think about making sure their estate-planning documents are in order. Some may be revisiting (or possibly, creating) their wills and trust documents to make sure they reflect their wishes as they face their mortality. As part of this process, your client may be considering choosing or replacing a trustee for a trust or may even be called on to act as a trustee for someone else’s trust. “Considerations for Non-Professional Fiduciaries,” p. 45, by Martin M. Shenkman, Gail E. Cohen and Gerard F. Joyce, Jr. should prove helpful to assist clients in handling this responsibility. It details the duties you should review with your clients and includes a checklist they can use to make sure they don’t miss anything in their decisions.

A related article, “Trusts and the Modern Family,” p. 37, by R. Hugh Magill, explains how demographic trends can impact whom to choose as a trustee and how to set up the trust so that your client can ensure that the fiduciary selected will fulfill the client’s intent. Our Fiduciary Professions Committee Report also includes a round-up of significant court cases relating to fiduciary issues and the use of special purpose entities.

This month’s issue also includes: (1) our Review of Reviews Special Report, which examines articles on the stranger-to-the-marriage doctrine, the succession of social media and other digital assets, and donor-advised funds; and (2) a Special Section on Valuations, which includes articles ranging from the differences between calculation reports and full appraisals to a discussion of the recent Tax Court case of Grieve v. Commissioner

And, most importantly, we at T&E hope that everyone stays safe and healthy during this difficult time.

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