President's Letter - Summer 2019

Greetings, BEPC Members and Visitors to the BEPC website!

I would like to introduce myself to those of you may not know me. I am Charles B. (Chas) Jones of the law firm of Thomas & Libowitz, P.A and I am honored to have been selected to represent you as the next Baltimore Estate Planning Council (“Council”) President. I want to personally thank Anne Meltzer, the Immediate Past President, the other Officers and Board members, the sub-committee members, and our new Executive Director, Melissa Dornan, for their hard work this past year. I want to once again thank our long time, and now retired, former Executive Director Anna Leonhardt for her diligent and excellent work for over 15 years with the Council.

At the Council Annual Meeting in early June, Colleen McCloskey of PNC was elected as Treasurer and Ed Fee was brought on as a new Board member. Congratulations, Colleen and Ed!

Through combined efforts, the Council accomplished the following objectives in the past year:

  1. Recruit and hire a new Executive Director
  2. Provide an outreach program to the public to explain the importance of estate planning
  3. Move into a third full year of programing for Emerging Planners (those with less than 10 years’ experience in estate planning)
  4. Submit an application for the NAEPC Council of Excellence Award

In addition to the successes of last year, I look forward to collaborating on several projects this year to create more value for the members. The Board of Directors is currently investigating an approach to streamline the process of providing continuing education certificates, meeting educational content, and surveys. I would like to grow our Council membership in number and diversity; a LinkedIn page for the Council was recently created so that members can add membership to their professional profile. The Emerging Planners have really hit their stride.  Under the tutelage of Joel Simon and now Tina Lignos, the Emerging Planners are planning seminars and meet and greet dates for the upcoming year. The details of the next event are attached in this link.  BEPC - Emerging Planner's Social Invitation Flyer

The Council has also been actively involved in the accreditation of our more experienced members as AEP®. Each year we have been actively seeking members who are interested in such accreditation, will you consider learning more about the AEP®? The educational programs the Council provides have been focused on the current challenges our clients face such as standard estate planning, business succession, charitable giving, taxation, life insurance and/or investment risk management. The 2019-2020 speaker series offers robust offerings and I hope to see many of you in attendance. Pending any last-minute changes, they are as follows.

Federal Tax Update
Sam Donaldson
September 25, 2019

LTC Planning, Elder Care, Asset Protection, Special Trusts
Bernard Krooks
October 29, 2019

Charitable Topic
Stephanie (Stevie) Casteel
December 5, 2019

Adapt, Change, or Disappear
David R. York
January 22, 2020

Economic Update
Anirban Basu
February 27, 2020

Traps for the Unwary – Some Estate Planners Duties, Proscriptions, and Conundrums
Dick Oshins
May 5, 2020

I hope you will consider prepaying for the entire series of speakers, which not only helps the Council with budgeting, but also provides you with convenience and cost savings.

Before closing, I express my continued gratitude to the generous sponsors who each year allow our dues and event fees to remain very affordable. Please consider them when forging professional relationships.

Since its inception, the Council has consistently delivered excellent educational programs, collaborative opportunities, and public outreach. Because of the creative thinking and ideas of the Board, it is no surprise that the Council is as relevant today as it has ever been. The BEPC is now in its 82nd year and the more complex the tax code and estate planning techniques become, the more relevant the Council has become. It is well worth the cost of membership and attendance. For those of you who have not attended events in recent years, you are missing the opportunity to hone your knowledge of your practice area and a further understanding of your allied professionals. When we grow in knowledge, the client is better served, and we prosper.


Charles B. Jones, Esq., LL.M., MAS, AEP®
Baltimore Estate Planning Council