Helping Clients Move Forward in Uncertain Times

Wednesday August 9, 2017 at 1pm ET

Complimentary Live Roundtable Event

Moderator: Vanessa L. Kanaga

Panelists: Jonathan G. Blattmachr, Michael L. Graham, Alan S. Gassman, Andrew H. Hook, Martin M. Shenkman, and Deborah J. Tedford

Playback Recording


Don’t get stuck in neutral – Move your practice forward!

Do your clients seem to be in a holding pattern?  Are they taking a “wait and see” approach due to potential estate tax changes?  You’re not alone.

Tune in LIVE for a very special complimentary roundtable event from InterActive Legal, where legends in Estate Planning, Elder Law, and Special Needs Planning consider and debate best practices to serve your clients in these uncertain times.  Topics on the table for discussion include:

•  The current basic exclusion amount of over $5 million means that the vast majority of Americans, even those whom many would consider wealthy, will not have to worry about the estate tax, even if it is not repealed

•  How do we get clients (or, more importantly, potential clients) to focus on the non-tax motivations for estate planning, which are still just as important as ever?

•  What do estate planners need to discuss with their clients, and address in their documents, to ensure these non-tax goals are achieved?

•  How can estate planners expand their practices to provide security in times of change?

Panelists will even be fielding questions live, directly from viewers!

In uncertain times, only the potential for change is certain.  By tuning in to this live webinar, you’ll learn how the experts are addressing these issues, enabling you to better serve your clients and enhance your practice.  You’ll learn how to make uncertainty your friend, all while providing the highest and best counsel to your clients.


Our Roundtable Moderator

Vanessa L. Kanaga, JD, Director of Content Development, InterActive Legal ^

Vanessa joined InterActive Legal in April 2013 and serves as Director of Content Development. Ms. Kanaga received her J.D. from Cornell Law School, Magna Cum Laude, in 2006, and a B.A. in Philosophy from Wichita State University, with a minor in Music, in 2003. During law school, Vanessa was an Editor for the Cornell International Law Journal, and a Teaching Assistant for Terrorism and the Law. She also served as a Legal Intern in the City Attorney’s Office in Ithaca, New York during the Summer of 2004. In 2011, Vanessa received an Advanced Professional Certificate from New York University School of Law.

Following law school, Vanessa practiced in New York for several years, at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, LLP, and then Moses & Singer, LLP. In 2012, she returned to her home town of Wichita, Kansas, where she was an associate attorney in the estate planning and probate practice group at Hinkle Law Firm, LLC, before joining InterActive Legal.


Meet the Panelists

Jonathan G. Blattmachr, Editor-in-Chief & Co-Author of Wealth Transfer Planning™ ^

Mr. Blattmachr is a Principal in ILS Management, LLC and a retired member of Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP in New York, NY and of the Alaska, California and New York Bars. He is recognized as one of the most creative trusts and estates lawyers in the country and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America. He has written and lectured extensively on estate and trust taxation and charitable giving.

Mr. Blattmachr graduated from Columbia University School of Law cum laude, where he was recognized as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and received his A.B. degree from Bucknell University, majoring in mathematics. He has served as a lecturer-in-law of the Columbia University School of Law and is an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York University Law School in its Masters in Tax Program (LLM). He is a former chairperson of the Trusts & Estates Law Section of the New York State Bar Association and of several committees of the American Bar Association. Mr. Blattmachr is a Fellow and a former Regent of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and past chair of its Estate and Gift Tax Committee. He is author or co-author of eight books and more than 500 articles on estate planning and tax topics.

Among professional activities, which are too numerous to list, Mr. Blattmachr has served as an Advisor on The American Law Institute, Restatement of the Law, Trusts 3rd; and as a Fellow of The New York Bar Foundation and a member of the American Bar Foundation.


Michael L. Graham is CEO of ILS Management, LLC and Managing Partner of the Dallas based law firm of The Graham Law Firm, P.C. ^

Prior to 1994, Mr. Graham was with the law firm of Baker & Botts for 22 years, first as a partner in the Houston Business and Estate Planning group, and then as partner in charge of B&B’s Business and Estate planning group in Dallas. Mr. Graham limits his practice to substantial matters involving business and estate planning, administration of estates and trusts, and fiduciary based litigation.

Mr. Graham received his J.D., cum laude, from Baylor School of Law (1972), and BBA from Baylor University (1971). He is Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate Law in Texas. Mr. Graham’s professional activities include: Fellow of, and past Regent of, the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel; Past Supervisory Council Member of the American Bar Association’s Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, Co-Chair of the Digital Signature Committee; Past President of the Texas Academy of Probate and Trust Lawyers; Past Chair of the Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Texas; and Fellow of the International Academy of Estate and Trust Lawyers.


Alan S. Gassman, Gassman, Crotty and Denicolo, P.A. ^

Alan S. Gassman is the founder of the Clearwater, Florida law firm of Gassman, Crotty and Denicolo, P.A., which focuses on the representation of high net worth families, physicians and business owners, and their companies in estate planning, taxation, and business and personal asset structuring.

Mr. Gassman is the lead author on Bloomberg BNA’s Estate Tax Planning in 2011 and 2012, Gassman and Markham on Florida and Federal Asset Protection Law, Florida Law for Tax, Business & Financial Planning Advisors, Eight Steps to a Proper Florida Trust and Estate Plan, A Practical Guide to Kickback & Self-Referral Laws for Florida Physicians, The Florida Power of Attorney & Incapacity Planning Guide, The Florida Advisor’s Guide To Counseling Same Sex Couples, and a co-author of the recently published Legal Guide To NFA Firearms and Gun Trusts, among others.

Mr. Gassman is a frequent speaker for continuing education programs, and has published well over 200 peer reviewed articles with publications such as Bloomberg BNA Tax & Accounting, Trusts and Estates Magazine, Estate Planning Magazine, The Florida Bar Journal, and Leimberg Estate Planning Network (LISI).  He is also a past President of the Pinellas County Estate Planning Council and has co-chaired two annual Florida Bar programs for over fifteen years: Wealth Protection and Representing the Physician.

Mr. Gassman holds a law degree and a Masters of Law degree (LL.M.) in Taxation from the University of Florida, and a business degree from Rollins College.  Mr. Gassman is board certified by the Florida Bar Association in Estate Planning and Trust Law, has the Accredited Estate Planner designation from the National Association of Estate Planners & Council, has maintained an AV rating from the Martindale-Hubbell for over 20 years and is listed in both Best Lawyers in America and Florida Super Lawyers.


Andrew H. Hook, Hook Law Center ^

Andrew H. “Andy” Hook is the president of Hook Law Center, where he practices in the areas of elder law, estate and trust administration, estate, tax, retirement and financial planning, long-term care planning, asset protection planning, special needs planning, business succession planning and personal injury settlement consulting.

A 1975 graduate of the University of Virginia’s School of Law, Mr. Hook is both an ACTEC Fellow and a NAELA Fellow, and is certified as an Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation.  Mr. Hook is also a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Accredited Estate Planner (AEP), and an accredited attorney for the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for veteran benefits before the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Mr. Hook is a former President of the Special Needs Alliance, a nationwide network of disability attorneys, a former Director of NAELA, and a former editor-in-chief of the NAELA Journal.  He is the author of the BNA Tax Management Portfolio on Durable Powers of Attorney, and a co-author of “Representing the Elderly and Disabled Client” published by RIA.  Mr. Hook in 2018 will become a co-author of the SNT Handbook published by Wolters Kluwer.  He also is a frequent speaker at state and national professional meetings and for continuing legal education programs.


Martin M. Shenkman, Shenkman Law   ^

Martin M. Shenkman is an attorney in private practice in Paramus, NJ, and New York City. His practice focuses on estate and tax planning, planning for closely held business, and estate administration. Mr. Shenkman is an author of more than 800 articles and over 40 books, including his most recent book on powers of attorney, co-authored with Jonathan Blattmachr. He is an editorial board member of Trusts & Estates Magazine and the Matrimonial Strategist, and the recipient of many awards including the prestigious Accredited Estate Planners (Distinguished) award from NAEPC and Financial Planning Magazine’s 2012 Pro-Bono Financial Planner of the Year for his efforts on behalf of those living with chronic illness and disability.


Deborah J. Tedford, Tedford Law Firm ^

Deborah J. Tedford is an attorney and principal in the Tedford Law Firm of Mystic, Connecticut.  She graduated from Yale University, cum laude in 1972 as a member of one of the first classes to include women, and from Boston University School of Law in 1976. She is also a qualified mediator, having completed 40 hours of formal mediation training.

Deb was elected as an ACTEC fellow in 1992, a fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation in 1995; and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation in 2012.  She recently served three years as Chair of the Elder Law Committee of ACTEC and is a Regent of the College. She is a member of ACTEC’s Fiduciary Litigation Committee and has served on a number of other administrative committees for the college.  Currently she is serving as ACTEC’s observer to the Uniform Law Commission’s re- writing of the national guardianship and conservatorship act.

Deb is a frequent speaker at the state and national levels on topics related to the field of trust law, including special needs trusts, estate and gift taxation, social security and undue influence in probate matters.


CLE Credits

InterActive Legal is not an approved Continuing Education Sponsor. However, several states and regulatory agencies for a variety of professionals that participate on our teleconferences may still receive continuing education credit for their participation. If a participant wishes to receive CE credit for their participation in these teleconferences, they must apply to receive credit on their own and through their individual states and regulatory authorities. It is the responsibility of the participant to file for CE credit and is not guaranteed by InterActive Legal.

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