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Issue 37 – July, 2021

Editor’s Note

NAEPC Would be Better with You! (Volunteer with NAEPC)

Harvey A. Hutchinson III, AEP®
Birmingham, AL

Upon completing my rotation through the director and officer roles within the Financial & Estate Planning Council of Huntsville (AL), I learned of the opportunity to work with the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (“NAEPC”) while attending their annual estate planning conference.  As designed, the conference’s rewards luncheon and smaller breakout sessions provided me the chance to meet national board members and staff.  Upon hearing these individuals’ stories, I was intrigued to learn more about NAEPC and how I might contribute to its mission to “… promote excellence in estate planning by serving estate planning councils and their credentialed members, delivering exceptional resources and unsurpassed education ….”

My three years of voluntary service to NAEPC has been personally and professionally rewarding.  In fact, my time with NAEPC has provided some of the highest returns (advancing the estate planning profession, nationally) on investment (my individual time) I’ve ever received!  NAEPC’s national office and staff are elite professionals that carry the burden of administering every part of the organization allowing me (and you) the opportunity to use our volunteer time on strategic initiatives (not on administrative tasks).  A few experiences I’ve been able to participate in during my short time volunteering include the following:

Work on prominent, national issues.  Piloted by the leadership of Mary Katherine “Kit” Mac Nee, CFP®, CRPC, Pasadena, CA and Susan J. Travis, CFP®, CTFA, AEP®, Houston, TX, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (“DEI”) Task Force formed and began to address NAEPC’s response to various national issues regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Not too long afterwards, NAEPC’s national office and officers realized the continuing need to provide resources and training along DEI issues and moved to form NAEPC’s DEI Committee.  The DEI Committee has created a resource page on NAEPC’s website for affiliated estate planning councils to utilize in their efforts to address DEI issues and provide training to their members (see  [Note, while reviewing the resource page or this issue of the Journal of Estate & Tax Planning, don’t miss the recent Trusts & Estates’ article “How to Make Your Practice More Diverse and Inclusive” developed by NAEPC DEI Committee members Karen McCrae-Lee Fatt, CTFA, AEP®, CES, Tampa, FL, Martin M. Shenkman, CPA/PFS, MBA, JD, AEP® (Distinguished), Fort Lee, N.J. and New York City, and Susan J. Travis.]  If you would like to learn more about volunteering with NAEPC’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, please contact NAEPC at or return a committee volunteer application.

Work with renown estate planning professionals.  Guided by the leadership of Ginger F. Mlakar, JD, CPA, AEP®, Cleveland, OH, and myself, the Accredited Estate Planner® (“AEP®”) Designation Committee is tasked with supporting the value and promotion of the AEP® designation (i.e., awarded only to estate planning professionals who meet special requirements of education, experience, knowledge, professional reputation, and character).  Central to the AEP® designation is the “commitment to the team concept of estate planning.”  Also, the AEP Committee is responsible for the selection of prominent estate planning professionals to enter NAEPC’s Estate Planning Hall of Fame.  This recognition is to highlight an individual’s distinguished service to the field of estate planning as an attorney, accountant, insurance professional and financial planner, philanthropic advisor, or trust officer.  Several inductees into NAEPC’s Estate Planning Hall of Fame include:  Steve R. Akers (2006), Jonathan G. Blattmachr (2004), Natalie B. Choate (2004), Samuel A. Donaldson (2011), Martin M. Shenkman (2013), and Diana S.C. Zeydel (2016).  For a complete list of NAEPC’s Estate Planning Hall of Fame inductees, see  If you would like to learn more about volunteering with NAEPC’s Accredited Estate Planner Committee, please contact NAEPC at or return a committee volunteer application.

Martin (“Marty”) Shenkman’s Collaborative Writing Experience offers aspiring estate planning authors, that are members of a local NAEPC-affiliated estate planning council, the opportunity to work with Marty in developing an article to be published within the Journal of Estate & Tax Planning.  Having worked with Marty (i.e., the author of forty-two (42) books and more than one thousand (1,000+) articles, he serves as an Editorial Board Member of Trusts & Estates Magazine, CCH, and the Matrimonial Strategist) through this experience gave me behind-the-scenes perspectives and insights into the world of writing and publishing that I had never known or experienced before.  If you haven’t published an article before and would like to co-author an article with one of this generation’s greatest estate planning writers and thought-leaders, sign-up for the next Collaborative Writing Experience.  Please contact NAEPC at to learn more about Shenkman’s Collaborative Writing Experience.

Build a national network of estate planning professionals.  AEP® designees and Estate Planning Law Specialists (EPLS) certificants have access to special benefits that include forum events to hear from prominent estate planners.  Oftentimes, these forums are structured in a way that permit attendees to speak to the presenter and fellow attendees.  A recent forum event entitled “Creative Planning in Light of the Changing Political Landscape and Possible Tax Consequences” was presented by Marty Shenkman, Sandra D. Glazier, Esq., Bloomfield Hills, MI, and Abigail O’Connor, JD, MS, Anchorage, AK.  Don’t miss out on these future events:

Thursday, July 15th 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET – Special Social Event with Alex Sheen, Because I Said I Would Foundation, on “Promises Made, Promises Kept.”

Thursday, October 21st 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm ET – Forum Session during National Estate Planning Awareness Week – Topic and Speaker TBD.

If you or a colleague would like to learn more about the AEP® designation, please mark your calendar for the following event:

Thursday, September 23rd 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET – “Why Earn the AEP®?”

I have had the opportunity to meet and work with more exceptional and diverse estate planning professionals with NAEPC in three years than I have ever met during my previous twenty-year financial and estate planning career.  Not only does NAEPC benefit from a diverse membership and volunteer group but the individuals that volunteer gain different perspectives that will enrich their counsel to clients, employers, and communities.  Take a look at the following links to NAEPC’s current officers and directors to gain an appreciation of the diverse backgrounds, geographic locations, and practices of the volunteers.  See and  Nevertheless, could the above group of volunteers be even better (i.e., more diverse, more inclusive, more equitable)?  Yes!  That said, that’s where you come in – we need you!  You have to take action and raise your hand and let NAEPC know you want to help it make a difference.

I implore you to volunteer with NAEPC!  Your small investment of time could make significant changes to the organization that impacts the profession.  Come help NAEPC meet its vision to “… be the association of choice for professionals engaged in the practice of estate planning ….”  Your ideas are wanted here and your voice will be heard.  Please contact me ( or Eleanor M. Spuhler, Executive Manager of NAEPC ( if you have any questions concerning volunteering with NAEPC.  We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Email me at with your comments and suggestions.