Thursday, January 03, 2008

ACTEC Offers T&E "Tool Box" Online

On December 7, 2007, the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel (ACTEC) announced upgrade & expansion of its website, which now offers a trust & estate "Tool Box" publicly. It is a fine online resource regarding personal & estate planning, fiduciary taxation, legal technology, and trust & estate administration.

ACTEC is described on its website as "a nonprofit association of lawyers established in 1949. Its members are elected to the College by demonstrating the highest level of integrity, commitment to the profession, competence and experience as trust and estate counselors. * * *[A]ll ACTEC members have made substantial contributions to the field of trusts and estates law through writing, teaching and bar leadership activities."

The College is becoming more visible recently, as evidenced by the message circulated to ACTEC members by its Strategic Communications Committee (which I reproduce with permission) that announced its website's expansion for more public access:

ACTEC Fellows have long been known for their abilities and contributions to the field of trust and estate law. Curiously, ACTEC itself has historically not given much attention to how it, as an institution, has been perceived by educators, legislators, affiliated professionals or the public at large.

Because the effectiveness of any organization is related to some degree to its visibility within its intended audiences, the Strategic Communications Committee was formed to create mechanisms by which the profile of the College would become more commensurate with the profiles of the individual Fellows.

Because the most effective means of broad communication to the public at large are now electronic, the Committee's first initiative was to create an entirely new Public ACTEC Web site which is intended to describe the College by way of its accomplishments and by the accomplishments of its individual Fellows.

Though doubtless none of the individual activities of the College and its Fellows were unknown before, it is still somewhat surprising to see the breadth of those activities once they are all compiled in one place on the new Public site.

The new site was created entirely within the College, with special thanks to Don Kelley who completely updated and revised the Public Resources (originally the College's "Toolbox") materials, and to Bill Crawford, the College's Webmaster and Systems Administrator, who created the design, formatting and functionality of the new site. [Links added.]
To access this planning & administration "Tool Box", go to ACTEC's website, and click on the tab at the top labeled "Public Resources".

You will find the following categories of links:
  • (1) PRIMARY LAW AND GOVERNMENT RESOURCES -- "Federal law, state law, the federal government, tax law, AFRS etc." (12 subcategories)
  • (2) FACTUAL RESEARCH RESOURCES -- "Statistical Databases, News Services, Finding People, Lawyers, Expert Witnesses, Competitive Intelligence, Business Internet Addresses, Zip Code Finders & more." (14 subcategories)
  • (3) TRUST & ESTATES LEGAL & PRACTICE MATERIALS -- "Secondary legal materials, T & E focused resources -- T & E and Tax research on the internet, Estate Planning topics, Elder Law, Estate Administration, Charitable Planning, Retirement Planning, International Estate Planning, etc." (7 subcategories)
  • (4) USING THE INTERNET FOR GENERAL LEGAL RESEARCH -- "The internet as a general legal research resource -- search tools, guides and techniques -- Bar Associations, Law Reviews." (9 subcategories)
  • (5) TECHNOLOGY IN THE PRACTICE -- "Technology useful in the Trust & Estate practice, including Software, Computer Security, Presentations and Calculating Tools." (7 Subcategories)
  • (6) TRUSTS & ESTATES BLOGS -- "Made available for your perusal, but not ACTEC created or sponsored" (5 Subcategories)
Consumers can find useful resources in Topic 3, under the subcategory "Information for Consumers" regarding "Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, etc."

Practitioners can find many useful references throughout the "Tool Box".

Readers of blogs, like this one, will find links to active ones, as compiled by Don under five headings. I had provided some suggestions to Don, so you will see some commonality in the list appearing in the right column of this Blog.

The ACTEC groupings of "blogs" include:

This Blog is one of eight listed under the heading "State Specific". It is noted by Don as "Edited by ACTEC Fellow Neil Hendershot -- PA specific, but including broader T & E issues".

This "Tool Box" is a valuable online resource now made available publicly. Explore it, bookmark it, and use it when in need.

Update: 01/05/08:

Prof. Gerry Beyer noted this posting on January 5, 2008, on the definitive Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog, in "
Trust and Estate Resources Online", which also provided a link to the ACTEC "Tool Box".

That Blog is the first of four listed in the ACTEC Tool Box under its listing of
Trusts & Estates blogs, where it is described as follows: "Edited by ACTEC Fellow Prof. Gerry Beyer of Texas Tech Law School -- new developments, national news stories and a list top SSRN downloads."