Estate Planning for Scientologists

Part of a Complimentary Webinar Series on Religion and Estate Planning

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 12:30 EST

Presented by:  Martin Shenkman, Esq.

and Thomas Cummins

 View Recording


This webinar is the 5th in an ongoing series exploring how estate planners can tailor estate, financial, charitable, and related planning, and drafting to reflect a client’s particular religious beliefs.  One goal of this series is to promote diversity and inclusion, and enhance understanding of other faiths.  If you are knowledgeable of a faith we have not yet covered in this series and willing to help us present on that religion, let us know.

This installment will explain how estate planners might modify planning and documents for a client who is a member of the Church of Scientology, or a Scientologist.  How should all estate planning, and even business entity, documents be modified to reflect Scientology views of psychiatry and psychotropic drugs? How can belief in future lives be integrated into an estate plan? When and how should mandatory arbitration before board of Church members be used in estate planning? How might bequests to heirs who are active members of the Church (Sea Org) be modified given the support they are given from the Church?  It might be important for the planning for a client who is a Scientologist to take additional steps to secure privacy and assure that his or her wishes are carried out. How might practitioners address this goal? These are in addition to the modifications which might be necessary or desirable to conform documents to Scientology beliefs. Some practical suggestions on practice modifications to guide Scientology clients will also be provided.

Webinar Speakers

Martin M. Shenkman is an attorney in private practice in Fort Lee, NJ, and New York City.  His practice concentrates on estate and tax planning, planning for closely held business, and estate administration. Mr. Shenkman is an author of over 40 books and more than 800 articles.  He is an editorial board member of Trusts & Estates Magazine and the Matrimonial Strategist, and an advisor for InterActive Legal. He is the recipient of many awards including being a 2013 recipient of the prestigious Accredited Estate Planners (Distinguished) award from the National Association of Estate Planning Counsels.  Mr. Shenkman was named Financial Planning Magazine 2012 Pro-Bono Financial Planner of the Year for his efforts on behalf of those living with chronic illness and disability. Investment Adviser Magazine featured him on the cover of its April 2013 issue naming as the lead of their “all-star lineup of tax experts.”

Tom Cummins is a lifelong Scientologist, a prominent and active member of the Church, and a  successful businessman.  His international business and investment interests span three continents, and a wide array of industries. Mr. Cummins has been actively involved in developing various planning techniques and sample clauses to help estate planning conform with tenets of the Church of Scientology.



Webinar Sponsors

Religion and Estate Planning Webinar Series

View Recorded Webinars


Yasar Ali, Esq., Jonathan G. Blattmachr, Esq., Pastor Chris Edmondson, and Martin M. Shenkman, Esq.


Jonathan G. Blattmachr, Esq., Pastor Chris Edmondson, and Martin M. Shenkman, Esq.


Salvatore J. LaMendola, Esq., and Martin M. Shenkman, Esq.


Yasar Ali, Esq. and Martin Shenkman, Esq.


Martin M. Shenkman, Esq. and Thomas Cummins


Martin M. Shenkman, Esq., Rabbi Mathew Hoffman, Esq, Rabbi Shlomo Weissmann, and Robby Berman

CLE Credits:

Event sponsors are not approved Continuing Education Sponsors. However, some states or regulatory agencies for professionals that participate in our teleconferences may provide 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, Peak Trust Company, or Shenkman Law.

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