Press Releases

The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel Elects 32 New Fellows to the College

Washington, DC: The Board of Regents of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) met in March at the 2018 Annual Meeting in San Antonio to review nominations for a new class of Fellows. We are proud to announce that 32 individuals have been peer-elected. This group of new Fellows spans the US and also includes four International lawyers representing Canada, Austria, and Spain.

ACTEC is an organization of peer-elected trust and estate lawyers and law professors who are skilled and experienced in: the preparation of wills and revocable and irrevocable trusts; probate; trust, guardianship and conservatorship administration; transfer taxation planning and administration; integration of asset protection planning with the aforementioned practice areas; fiduciary income taxation; incapacity planning; elder law; employee benefit planning; donative planning; charitable planning; advising exempt organizations; and probate, trust, and protective proceedings litigation to improve and reform probate, trust, and tax laws, procedures, and professional responsibility.

To qualify for membership, a lawyer must have no fewer than 10 years’ experience in the active practice of trust and estate law. Lawyers and law professors are elected to be Fellows based on their outstanding reputation, exceptional skill, and substantial contributions to the field by lecturing, writing, teaching, and participating in bar leadership or legislative activities. It is their aim to improve and reform probate, trust and tax laws, procedures, and professional responsibility.

Skip Fox, the College’s President, offered his congratulations, saying, “The review process is very rigorous, and all the new Fellows should be commended on their commitment to the trust and estate profession. ACTEC is a compilation of the best in the field and we welcome this new class of Fellows.”

ACTEC New Fellows

Joseph L. Bierwirth Jr. of Hemenway & Barnes, LLP in Boston, MA — Joe is the Chair of the Litigation Practice Group at Hemenway & Barnes. He concentrates his practice in the areas of probate, trust, real property, and business litigation. He also provides counsel to individuals and families on estate planning and probate matters and serves as a trustee of private and charitable trusts.

Steven P. Braccini of Hopkins & Carley, A Law Corporation in Palo Alto, CA —  Steve is a trial attorney and member of Hopkins & Carley’s Trust & Estate Litigation Practice.  In addition to his trust, probate and conservatorship litigation, Steve also has an appellate practice and has presented numerous seminars and workshops on issues related to trust and estate litigation.

Florentino Carreño of Cuatrecasas in Madrid, Spain — Florentino’s practice focuses on domestic and international estate and tax planning. He counsels an affluent international client base with connections to Spain on a wide range of sophisticated matters including estate administration, family wealth preservation, and tax compliance as well as personal and business succession, expatriation, and pre-immigration planning. He also designs financing for acquisitions, handles estates with international component and cross-border activities, and agreements regarding international tax. 

Cristine Cioffi of Cioffi Slezak Wildgrube, PC in Schenectady, NY — Cris has been in practice for over 35 years, primarily in the field of estate planning and administration and elder law. She has drafted and explained to clients a wide range of documents: credit shelter trusts, disclaimers into trusts, marital deduction trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts and the mechanisms to fund them, revocable trusts, charitable remainder trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, supplemental needs trusts, education trusts, and irrevocable asset protection trusts. In additional, Cris has formed several public foundations and obtained tax exempt status for them. She is a past president of the NY Bar Foundation and the Schenectady County Bar Association.

Kenneth P. Coyne of Graf Stiebel & Coyne, Co., LPA in Cincinnati, OH — Ken has represented clients in estate planning, trust and estate administration, elder law, estate and gift tax controversies, and contested trusts and estate matters since 1998. He combines in-depth knowledge of the law and a common-sense approach to achieve practical results. 

Stacey Delich-Gould of Capital Group in New York, NY — Stacey advises clients on their personal, tax and estate-planning needs and has significant experience drafting wills, revocable trusts, insurance trusts, grantor trusts, GRATs and other estate-planning documents. She also has significant experience counseling private foundations and public charities and assisting executors in the administration of multimillion-dollar estates and trustees in their ongoing fiduciary activities.

Daniel G. Fish of McLaughlin & Stern, LLP in New York, NY — Daniel practices in the areas of elder law, estate planning, guardianship, and trust and estate law. He is a founding member and past president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and a past chair of the New York State Bar Association Elder Law Section.

Jonathan L. Grob of McGrath North Mullin & Kratz, PC LLO in Omaha, NE—Jon’s practice focuses on federal and state tax planning and advocacy, business succession, estate planning, charitable giving, probate and trust administration, business entity formation and reorganization, and structuring and implementing executive compensation arrangements and employee benefits. In addition, Jon regularly assists clients with aircraft purchases and sales.

L. Timothy Halleron of McDermott Will & Emery LLP in Chicago, IL — Tim advises individuals and family offices in planning for the preservation and transfer of wealth within families without the imposition of gift, estate, or generation-skipping transfer tax. He frequently writes and speaks on a variety of tax and estate planning subjects.

John N. Hutson Jr. of Young Moore and Henderson, P.A. in Raleigh, NC — John has over 34 years of experience in litigation. His primary focus is on helping individuals and families who need his experience to navigate estate, trust or guardianship issues. He also works with businesses in evaluating contracts and handling commercial disputes.

Carl I. King of Culp Elliott & Carpenter, P.L.L.C. in Charlotte, NC — Carl is a Senior Partner in the firm’s Trusts and Estates group, and has extensive experience implementing intergenerational transfers of wealth, using charitable entities, closely held business interests and life insurance strategies.

Jill Lebowitz of Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus in Bridgewater, NJ — Jill devotes her practice to estate planning, trust and estate administration, and counseling tax-exempt organizations. She advises clients on the development of both simple and complex estate plans, philanthropic planning, and business succession issues.     

Gina L. Lera of Lera Tiberini PC in Sacramento, CA — Gina is well-versed in all related estate, gift, generation skipping, and income tax planning issues as well as specialized high net worth planning. She believes the art of estate planning is crafting a plan which truly meets a client’s objectives while being technically efficient and effective. 

Carla L. Lovell of Sherrard Roe Voight & Harbison, PLC in Nashville, TN — Carla advises individuals and families with regard to their tax and estate planning, charitable planning, and business succession. Since many of her clients are business owners, she frequently advises them with respect to business structure and assists with real estate and other business transactions.

Matthew P. Matiasevich of Evans, Latham and Campisi in San Francisco, CA — Matthew has handled a wide variety of complicated matters in trust and estate litigation including internal trust disputes, surcharge litigation, fiduciary defense, contest litigation, appellate matters, conservatorship matters, and third-party litigation to recover assets on behalf of a trust or estate. 

Timothy Claude Matthews of Stewart McKelvey in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada — Tim works with his clients on a variety of issues, including estate and trust litigation, tax and estate planning, and probate procedures. He works successfully with clients by listening acutely, providing options, and seeking to address the underlying anxieties and concerns rather than to simply “solve” the legal problem.

Lisa M.  Neeley of Mirick, O’Connell, DeMallie & Lougee, LLP in Worcester, MA — Lisa focuses her practice on elder law with an emphasis on Medicaid applications and appeals, estate and special needs planning, probate administration, and guardianship and conservatorship proceedings. Her area of expertise is focused on the preparation and filing of complex MassHealth applications, and in providing client representation in appeals of applications that have been denied for a variety of legal reasons.

Karl Prior of Mannion Prior, LLP in King of Prussia, PA — Karl focuses his practice on trust and estate matters and litigation avoidance. Karl has litigated at the trial and appellate court level seminal cases on will interpretation, the Uniform Trust Act, fiduciary duties of trustees, will contests, the circumstances under which a partially incapacitated person could execute a valid will, and other inter vivos transfers of assets.

Marianna W. Putnam Liddell of Pierce Atwood LLP in Portland, ME — Molly works with clients to help them plan for complicated personal transitions, which can occur at marriage, birth of a child, transfer of a business, death, or through gifting to family members or charitable organizations. Her practice involves estate planning, estate administration, trust administration, business succession planning, and the tax planning related to these areas.

Timothy G. Richard of Serkland Law Firm in Fargo, ND — Tim’s estate planning practice consists of a wide range of clients. Tim has approximately 1,500 current and past estate-planning clients in North Dakota and northwest Minnesota and meets with 10-15 new estate planning clients each month. Tim has drafted hundreds of simple and complex wills, revocable living trusts, durable powers of attorney, and health care directives for clients. Tim frequently assists clients with planning for children and grandchildren, including basic spendthrift/asset protection trusts, GST trusts, and conduit “see-through” trusts for retirement assets. Tim has also drafted many special/supplemental needs trusts for clients with disabled or special needs children/grandchildren.

Elise H. Salek of Sulloway & Hollis PLLC in Concord, NH — Elise concentrates her practice in estate planning and probate administration with an emphasis on federal estate and gift taxation, charitable planning, and probate litigation. She has presented numerous seminars on estate planning, probate, wealth transfer planning, business succession planning, and estate and gift taxation.

William I. Sanderson of McGuireWoods LLP in Washington, DC — Bill represents both high-net worth individuals and families on a variety of sensitive and complex estate and business planning matters. His practice focuses on the areas of estate planning and estate and trust administration.

Niklas J.R.M. Schmidt of Wolf Theiss Attorneys at Law in Vienna, Austria — Niklas has a broad cross-border trust and estates practice, with consistently strong ties to the US, and heads the tax team at his firm. His publications include various books and articles in international tax journals and he sits on the editorial boards of the “taxlex” and “SteuerExpress” magazines.

Greg P. Shannon of Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP in Calgary, Alberta, Canada — Greg’s practice encompasses corporate finance, M&A, tax, and corporate governance. He has worked in both Canada and the United States and uses his significant cross-border experience to inform his practice. Nearly all of the issues he addresses in his private client tax and trusts and estates practice involves cross-border transactions and the taxation of U.S. citizens residing in Canada or Canadian residents who own U.S. situs real property or are engaging in cross-border limited partnership and/or corporate M&A transactions where proper cross-border tax planning is vital to the success of the transaction.

Jennifer E. Shirkey of Lenhart Petitt, PC in Harrisonburg, VA — Jennifer concentrates her practice in estate planning, employee benefits, tax, and business law. She assists families and individuals with their trust and estate needs daily and serves as an Assistant Commissioner of Accounts for Harrisonburg & Rockingham County.

Rebecca L. Smitherman of Craige Jenkins Liipfert & Walker, LLP of Winston Salem, NC — Rebecca’s practice areas include estate planning, estate administration and corporate law. She is also a Board-Certified Specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law, North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.

Barbara A. Taylor of Reid and Riege, P.C. in Hartford, CT — Barbara represents individuals, couples, and families with their estate planning and estate settlement needs. She also represents individuals and fiduciaries in probate and fiduciary litigation matters.

Angela C. Titus McEwan of Day Pitney LLP in Parsippany, NJ — Angela assists high-net worth individuals and families with trust and estate planning, administration, and litigation, which includes business planning, lifetime giving, charitable giving, and taxation. She is also experienced with special needs, such as guardianships, special needs trusts and elder law planning.

Matthew Triggs of Proskauer Rose LLP in Boca Raton, FL — Matt is a probate litigator who represents both corporate and individual fiduciaries in a wide variety of probate and trust disputes ranging from will and trust contests to fiduciary duty lawsuits, surcharge actions, and removal proceedings. Matt leads a probate litigation team of four fiduciary litigators in his office and is a member of his law firm’s National Fiduciary Litigation Team. During the last ten years, he has been “first chair” counsel for the trial and appeal of several complex trust and estate matters.

Michael Lewis Van Cise of Arnall Golden Gregory, LLP in Atlanta, GA — Michael focuses his practice on assisting individuals and families with sophisticated wealth transfer planning, federal and state wealth transfer taxation, business succession planning, charitable giving, probate, and estate administration. He advises high-net worth individuals and families on planning vehicles to preserve family wealth, family values, business interests, and legacy assets. 

Daniel P. Wheeler of Kirkland Woods & Martinsen PC in Liberty, MO — Dan focuses his practice on fiduciary litigation, probate administration, adult and minor guardianships, and mediation in cases throughout Missouri and Kansas. He also served as a Probate Commissioner for the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri for more than fourteen years. Since retiring from the bench, Dan has spent the last three years representing corporate and private fiduciaries and beneficiaries in litigation and administration of trusts and estates.

Denton E. Woods of RMP LLP in Fayetteville, AR — Denton’s practice is focused in the areas of estate planning, probate and trust administration, taxation law and planning, business law and tax-exempt organizations. He is admitted to practice in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and before the United States Tax Court. In September of 2017, Governor Asa Hutchinson appointed Denton to the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy.