December 2008 "Certified Estate Planning & Administration Specialists"
PLANNING FOR WEALTH & SECURITY
By attorneys Jennifer & Jeff Hawkins
Certified Estate Planning & Administration Specialists
Previous installments of this column have described the advanced attorney credential system that the Indiana Supreme Court established under its Admission and Discipline Rule 30. This article discloses key parts of that rule and key requirements for an attorney to become a Certified Estate Planning & Administration Specialist.
The Supreme Court rule says that the certification plan is intended to: “(a) enhance public access to and promote efficient and economic delivery of appropriate legal services; (b) assure that lawyers claiming special competence in a field of law have satisfied uniform criteria appropriate to the field; (c) facilitate the education, training and certification of lawyers in limited fields of law; (d) facilitate lawyer access to certifying organizations; (e) expedite consultation and referral; and (f) encourage lawyer self-regulation and organizational diversity in defining and implementing certification of lawyers in limited fields of law.”
The rule authorizes the Indiana Commission on Continuing Legal Education (the “CLE Commission”) to certify independent organizations to certify attorneys as specialists. The CLE Commission authorized the Indiana State Bar Association’s Probate, trust and Real Property Section’s Estate Planning and Administration Specialty Certification Board (the “EPASCB”) in 2006 to certify estate planning and administration specialists.
The EPASCB’s rules require certification candidates to satisfy these requirements:
1. Admission to practice law in Indiana and in good standing with the Indiana Supreme Court for at least 5 years;
2. Pass an intensive, written examination of the attorney’s knowledge of estate planning and administration law, practice and procedure;
3. Receive recommendation for certification by at least 5 judges or attorneys that practice estate planning or administration law;
4. Attend at least 45 hours of classroom instruction on estate planning and administration law, practice and procedure within 3 years before certification and continue attending at least 60 classroom hours of instruction on the subject every 5 years; and
5. Devote at least 1/3 or 500 hours of their practice each year to estate planning and administration.
An attorney does not have to be a certified estate planning and administration specialist to plan or help clients administer estates. The certification demonstrates that an attorney claiming special competence in estate planning and administration has satisfied uniform criteria appropriate to the field. Of course, it can’t hurt for an estate planning and administration attorney to have achieved certification.
THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE OR ESTABLISH AN ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
© 2008 by HAWKINS LAW PC, Estate, Trust & Business Attorneys. All rights reserved.