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Note From the Editor: May 2024

Editor in Chief Susan R. Lipp weighs in on the contents of this month's issue.

When I hear the term “dead hand,” I always think of the “jump scare” scene at the end of the movie Carrie, when Sue visits Carrie’s grave, and Carrie’s hand pops out. But that’s not what practitioners have in mind when they use the term in trust planning. Instead, it’s a strategy that allows the owner of an estate to control beneficiaries and property even after death. In their three-part series, Niké Anani, Todd A. Flubacher, Kristin Keffeler and Philip J. Hayes consider the downsides of dead-hand control in trust planning. In their prior articles, the authors addressed the challenges of trust planning and why so-called “silent trusts,” which limit the information the beneficiaries receive about the trust, can negatively impact beneficiaries and make the trustee’s job more difficult. Their last article in the series, which appears in this issue (p. 40), offers practical tools for planners to help clients consider how trusts can be structured and administered to enhance beneficiary growth and well-being to effectuate the clients’ true objectives for their families.

This month’s issue also includes our Review of Reviews Special Report, covering topics such as the practical difficulties in sorting out who owns “heirs property,” the merits of a tax law subsidy for perpetual donor limits, common law and statutory approaches to undue influence as a means of invalidating bequests and perpetual testamentary structures.

Finally, I’d like to welcome two new members to our editorial advisory board: Kristy Bryce of Kristy Bryce Fine Art has joined the Art, Auctions & Antiques Committee, and Christopher P. Siegle of JP Morgan Private Bank has joined the Fiduciary Professions Committee.

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