Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning


The Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning is the nation’s premier educational conference for all members of the estate planning team including attorneys, trust officers, accountants, charitable giving professionals, elder law specialists, wealth management professionals, and nonprofit advisors.  In addition to providing the highest quality educational programming, the Institute offers unparalleled networking and professional development opportunities, including the nation’s largest exhibit hall dedicated entirely to the estate planning industry.

The educational programming, presented by the nation’s leading experts, offers comprehensive coverage of today’s most important tax and non-tax planning issues, and offers practical guidance on planning effectively in an unpredictable economic and legal environment. The Recent Developments Panel analyzes the significant tax and non-tax developments of 2023 and provides valuable insights on what might lie ahead. The same panel of experts reconvenes later in the week to answer questions from attendees.  During the remainder of the week-long program, attendees can benefit from presentations covering a broad range of advanced level planning topics, or can customize their educational experience with the following specialized program tracks:

Focus Series – Practical Tools Every Planner Should Know: This series of programs provides practical strategies, tools and techniques essential for planning for both your wealthiest clients, and the more modest ones.  Topics include planning with GRATs, new issues in modern estate administration, new techniques for charitable giving and philanthropy, planning for retirement benefits, and life insurance policy valuation.

Planning with Trusts: These programs look at innovative techniques for planning, drafting, and administering successful  GRATs including how to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks. They also provide a review of recent fiduciary cases,  examine the use of directed trusts, and offer a framework for comparing the use of directed trusts, family offices and private trust companies. Finally, the series will untangle the different forms of ESG investing, identify fiduciary hurdles, and provide ideas for beneficiary engagement.

Business and Financial Assets: This series of programs explores the new reporting requirements under the Corporate Transparency Act with a focus on family offices and trustees, including compliance tips and ethical considerations.  The series will also address the valuation of life insurance policies for income and transfer tax purposes.  Finally, the series will provide both a review of the rules under Chapter 14 and an advanced level discussion of how they can cause unanticipated consequences in sophisticated family transactions.

Litigation: These programs cover current issues in estate and gift tax audits and litigation, explore the penalties that can be asserted by the IRS in tax cases, and offer tips on planning to avoid them.

Charitable Giving and Philanthropy: This series of programs examines planning with conservation easements, including the many “perpetuity” requirements developed in Tax Court rulings outside of the syndicated easement context.  The programs also explore issues involved in ESG and social welfare activity, including potential hurdles for fiduciaries, planning and drafting ideas, and alternative ways for philanthropists to have an impact that goes beyond traditional grantmaking.

International Planning: These programs review the rules on when a trust is classified as a foreign trust versus a domestic trust including the income tax and informational tax reporting requirements for U.S. grantors or beneficiaries of a foreign trust, penalties associated with the failure to properly report, and how to get back into compliance.   A separate panel presentation will further examine the complex U.S. tax rules associated with foreign grantor and non-grantor trusts, including the special rules that apply when you have a foreign trust involving a U.S. beneficiary.  

Ethics, Technology, Diversity and Elimination of Bias: This series analyzes reporting requirements and ethical considerations  under the new Corporate Transparency Act, including their application to family offices and trustees. It also examines emerging issues, best practices, and ethical duties for the technological solutions available for cybersecurity, data protection, and artificial intelligence.  Finally, the series offers practical pointers on how to be more attuned to and effective with a range of equity and inclusivity issues for diverse clients. 

Fundamentals: These programs offer practical strategies, tools and techniques that all planners should know to effectively serve both their high net worth and their more modest clients.  They also provide a primer on life insurance policies and explain policy valuation. Finally, they provide both an introduction and an advanced look at the rules of Chapter 14, and the unanticipated consequences  that can arise under those rules to undermine family transactions.

We hope to see you in Orlando on January 8th – 12th for the 58th Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning. Although it will be possible to attend virtually, we encourage you to join us in person in Orlando.  On-site attendees will enjoy connecting with colleagues both old and new at social and networking events scheduled throughout the week-long Institute. On-site attendees will also enjoy the opportunity to review the latest in technology, goods and services in our unique exhibit hall dedicated entirely to the estate planning industry.  Please join us in Orlando to take advantage of this exciting professional opportunity!