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ACTEC Launches Video Series Addressing Diversity and Inequality in America


Contact: Pamela Goldsmith, 202.702.2655

Washington, DC — December 8, 2020: The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) today released the first video in its newly developed series – Planning for a Diverse and Equitable Future. The monthly series was created as a project of ACTEC’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Committee, funded by The ACTEC Foundation.

Focusing on economic inequality in America, the purpose of the premiere video is to explore and recognize obstacles to equitable inclusion and seek actionable solutions to mitigating the nation’s existing racial wealth gap. ACTEC considers the historical and continuing detrimental impact of institutionalized racism against people of color in our society to be a humanitarian issue. The College’s series strives to educate and address relevant issues surrounding racism while offering guidance and recommendations to help eliminate inequality by introducing those in the wealth management profession to prevailing economic challenges and hindrances to equitable inclusion and encouraging them to take action to achieve more equitable results. According to the Pew Research Center, the black-white income gap in the United States has held steady since 1970. In 2018 the median black household income was 61 percent of median white household income. ACTEC recognizes that building intergenerational wealth is essential to closing the wealth gap.

“It is critical for all of us, as estate planners, to acknowledge the significance of equitable inclusion and empower ourselves and others to develop solutions and take actions for the betterment of our practices and society at large,” said Terrence M. Franklin, ACTEC Fellow and Chair, Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Committee. “The opportunity exists to ameliorate economic inequality by sharing the relevance of developing estate plans and promoting asset transfer between generations in diverse communities.”

In the first video of the series, ACTEC Fellow Stephanie Perry and acclaimed author and former syndicated columnist for the Detroit Free Press Rochelle Riley examine why the wealth gap in our country is prevalent in the context of estate planning and discuss concerns about the slow pace of economic progress for African Americans. Riley emphasizes the significance of generational wealth and provides recommendations for diversifying networks through outreach. She introduces decisive and intentional actions individuals can take to effectuate change that will reduce wealth inequity and the racial strife that leads to further economic hardship for African Americans.  

“It begins with starting a conversation, engaging and introducing diverse individuals into your circle who you can learn from and at the same time enlighten,” said Riley.

The series, hosted by Franklin, will continue throughout 2021 featuring new guests and topics each month. For further information about the Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Committee, please visit Economic Inequality in America can also be shared via YouTube

About The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC): Established in 1949, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) is a national, nonprofit association of approximately 2,500 lawyers and law professors from throughout the United States and abroad. ACTEC members (Fellows) are peer-elected on the basis of professional reputation and expertise in the preparation of wills and trusts, estate planning, probate, trust administration and related practice areas. The College’s mission includes the improvement and reform of probate, trust and tax laws and procedures and professional practice standards. ACTEC frequently offers technical comments with regard to legislation and regulations but does not take positions on matters of policy or political objectives.

About The ACTEC Foundation The ACTEC Foundation is the philanthropic arm of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel or ACTEC. The Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) that offers education to families and professionals and supports students interested in the trust and estate area of the law. Through continued financial support, The ACTEC Foundation offers professional development, scholarships and education for a number of important efforts, including legal education, educational support, public initiatives, legal publications and the student editorial board.

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