The Washington, D.C. Estate Planning Council is organized to help its members render the highest possible service to the public; to acquaint those in need of estate planning with the advantages it offers; to provide to the members a forum for the discussion of such topics; to foster intelligent understanding of the relationship each participating group, namely, the lawyers, the certified public accountants, the financial planners, the life insurance professionals, the trust officers, the valuation specialists and the charitable giving professionals, bears to the others; and to promote acquaintance and cooperation among the participating groups; and to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to enter the field of estate planning; all to the end that the clients or customers of the members and the general public may better be served.
In January of 1940, some of the leading trust officers and insurance professionals in Washington, D.C. organized the Insurance-Trust Council. In 1958, the Council was expanded to include certified public accountants and lawyers. In 1988, it was expanded to include financial planners. Since then, the Council has been further expanded to include other professionals in the estate planning community, business valuation specialists and charitable giving professionals. The Council is a corporation organized under the law of the District of Columbia as the Washington, D.C. Estate Planning Council, with approximately 250 active members. The Council is a member of the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils.
The responsibility for carrying out the Council’s objectives and activities rests in a nine member Board of Directors consisting of four officers, four directors and one ex officio director who is the immediate past President. The officers and directors are elected by the membership and consist of representatives available from the disciplines that make up the membership of the Council and are assisted by the Membership, Arrangements, Programs and other committees listed on the Committees & Past Presidents page.
The membership, elected by the Board of Directors, consists of individuals currently engaged in estate planning on a regular basis and who have demonstrated a continuing interest in the furtherance of estate planning in the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. A Nominee must be nominated by two active members of the Council and must meet the membership requirements set forth in the Council’s Bylaws and as further clarified by the Council’s Membership Nomination Package. Any questions regarding membership can be directed to the Membership Committee Chairs or any member of the Board of Directors.
Members are invited to educational meetings that are held throughout the year and the Council’s annual meeting in late spring. Such meetings are designed to provide for social gatherings before or after the formal program to foster the exchange of information and mutual understanding among the respective disciplines. Members are encouraged to bring guests and prospective members to all meetings other than the annual meeting. Some educational programming is held in a webinar format. In addition to WDCEPC programs, the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils has an annual conference to which all members are invited and hosts monthly webinars with a reduced rate for Council members.
The William M. Goldenzweig Memorial Lecture was established in 1980 in memory of William M. Goldenzweig, CLU®, who died in a plane crash during his presidency of the Council in 1979. The annual lecture focuses on an estate planning topic of particular relevance to the life insurance industry.
In 2001, the Council established the Morris B. Hariton Memorial Study Group Forum to honor the late Morris Hariton, Council President in 1964. The Forum is designed as a multi-disciplinary, interactive program with limited enrollment to facilitate discussion among participants.
In 1992, the Council created the “Estate Planner of the Year” award, which was awarded from 1992 through 1995. This award was given in recognition of the contributions to the estate planning profession and to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area community. This award was replaced by the Distinguished Service Award. Recipients of the “Estate Planner of the Year” Award were:
Ronald D. Aucutt, Esq. 1995-1996
Morris B. Hariton, CPA 1994-1995
Howard M. Zaritsky, Esq. 1993-1994
Shirley D. Peterson, Esq. 1992-1993
In 2004, the Council established the Distinguished Service Award to provide recognition for outstanding service to the community, the profession and the Washington, D.C. Estate Planning Council. This award replaced the “Estate Planner of the Year” award. It is bestowed by the Council from time to time in recognition of a member’s extraordinary service and achievements over the course of their career.
The Distinguished Service Award was presented to:
Virginia A. McArthur, Esq. 2006
Edward J. Beckwith, Esq. 2004
ARTICLE I PURPOSES | ARTICLE II MEMBERSHIP | ARTICLE III BOARD OF DIRECTORS | ARTICLE IV OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR | ARTICLE V NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS OF OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS | ARTICLE VI MEETINGS | ARTICLE VII QUORUM AND VOTE | ARTICLE VIII INITIATION AND DUES | ARTICLE IX COMMITTEES | ARTICLE X ADVERTISING | ARTICLE XI AMENDMENTS
Bylaws of The Washington, D.C. Estate Planning Council
As Amended June 2, 2022
The purposes for which the corporation is organized are as follows: to help its members to render the highest possible service to the public; to acquaint those in need of estate planning with the advantages offered thereby; to provide to the members a forum for the discussion of such topics; to foster intelligent understanding of the proper relationship which each participating membership group bears to the others; and to promote acquaintanceship and cooperation among the participating groups; and to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to enter the field of estate planning; all to the end that the clients of the members and the general public may be better served.
Section 1. Classes and Qualifications for Membership.
There shall be four (4) classes of members — (a) Active Members, (b) Emeritus Members, (c) Student Members and (d) Associate Members.
(a) Active Members. To be eligible to become an active member of the Council, a nominee must be currently engaged in estate planning on a regular basis in the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and have the ability to collaborate with colleagues in a variety of disciplines to strategically further the client’s estate planning goals. Estate planning encompasses the accumulation, conservation, preservation, and transfer of an estate through development, planning and implementation of an estate plan. The overall purpose of the estate planning process is to develop a plan that will maintain and enhance the financial security of individuals and their families. Estate planning facilitates the intended and orderly transfer of property during life and at death, taking into consideration the family unit and the potential costs of different approaches.
A nominee must either: (i) meet the requirements of professional discipline, credential and years of practice or (ii) otherwise be exceptionally well qualified for membership in the Council.
Professional Disciplines. A nominee must be practicing estate planning in one of the following disciplines: (i) law, (ii) accounting, (iii) insurance, (iv) financial planning, (v) trusts and estate management, (vi) valuations, or (vii) philanthropic planning. A nominee must be classified for membership under the discipline in which he or she presently is practicing.
Credentials. A nominee must be a credentialed professional. A nominee is a credentialed professional if, in any jurisdiction of the United States of America, he or she is: (a) a licensed Attorney (Atty); (b) a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA); (c) a designated Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®); (d) a designated Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®); (e) a Certified Financial Planner® designee (CFP®); (f) a licensed Certified Public Accountant accredited as a Personal Financial Specialist (CPA/PFS); (g) a designated Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®); (h) a designated Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA); (i) a licensed Certified Public Accountant accredited in Business Valuation (CPA/ABV); (j) a designated Accredited Senior Appraiser in Business Valuation (ASA); (k) a designated Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA); (l) a designated Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®); or (m) an Accredited Estate Planner® (AEP®).
Years of practice. A nominee must have practiced estate planning as a credentialed professional for not less than three years before his or her nomination can be submitted for consideration. A nominee who has practiced as a credentialed professional in more than one of the Professional Disciplines for at least three years satisfies this requirement. For example, if the nominee practices one year as a CLU® and two years as a CFP® professional, the nominee meets the three-year requirement for membership under the discipline currently practiced.
Exceptionally Well Qualified. A nominee is otherwise exceptionally well qualified for membership in the Council only if they are recognized in their discipline or profession for distinguished leadership in that discipline or profession and for outstanding service in or to the field of estate planning.
(b) Emeritus Members. A member may become an emeritus member upon retirement and after either reaching age 65 or completing 20 years as an active member in good standing (with all dues paid). Members shall be considered retired if they are no longer pursuing or taking new clients or business in the area of estate planning, although they may still be providing other services to existing clients.
Prospective emeritus members must (i) have applied for and have been accepted for emeritus membership by the Board of Directors, or (ii) have been transferred to emeritus membership by the Board of Directors without objection from the member. Emeritus members shall be entitled to attend all membership meetings of the Council at no cost to the Council, the emeritus member paying all such costs.
(c) Student Members. To be eligible to become a student member of the Council, a nominee must be a student who has attained the age of twenty-one (21) years and is currently enrolled in a degree program at an accredited college or university (including undergraduate, law school, or graduate school) in a field of study closely-aligned with the professional disciplines associated with those required to become active members. The student's membership will automatically terminate at the end of the fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) in which either: (i) the student attains the degree they were pursuing; or (ii) ceases to be enrolled in the degree program which initially qualified the student for membership.
Student members are not eligible to (i) vote, (ii) become an officer or a member of the Board of Directors, (iii) attend the annual meeting, or (iv) become an emeritus member.
(d) Associate Members. A student member whose membership has terminated due to graduation from the degree program that initially qualified the student for membership will automatically be eligible to be an associate member of the Council for the following fiscal year. The associate member’s membership will automatically terminate at the earlier of (i) the fifth (5th) anniversary of the termination of the associate member’s student membership or (ii) the end of the fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) in which the associate member has met the requirements for active membership, at which point, it will be incumbent upon the associate member to seek nomination to become an active member of the Council.
Associate members are not eligible to (i) vote, (ii) become an officer or a member of the Board of Directors, (iii) attend the annual meeting, or (iv) become an emeritus member.
Section 2. Nomination for Membership.
Prior to being considered for membership, a prospective active member (a “nominee”) must have (i) attended at least two meetings as a guest within two years of nomination and (ii) satisfied all of the requirements for membership. A nominee must be nominated by two active members of the Council (each a “nominator”) in accordance with the following: (i) Each nominator must be in a different discipline than the other nominator. (ii) One nominator may, but need not, be in the same discipline as the nominee. (iii) Neither nominator may be in the same company, organization or firm as the nominee.
The nominee and at least one of the nominators must separately certify the accuracy and completeness of the nominee form. Both of the nominators shall certify in a written letter of recommendation to the Membership Committee that, based on his or her knowledge of the nominee and the nominee’s practice, the nominee, in the considered opinion of the nominator, is qualified to be a member of the Council. In addition, at least one of the nominators must be able to state in his or her letter of recommendation of the nominee that he or she has known the nominee for at least two years. Once so certified, the nomination shall be forwarded to the Chair of the Membership Committee or the Chair’s designee.
A nomination for membership shall be on a form prescribed by the Board of Directors, but additional information from the nominator should be furnished, upon request, so the Membership Committee and the Board of Directors have whatever information they require to determine the nominee’s qualifications.
Nominations considered but not approved will not be reconsidered unless the nomination is resubmitted.
Section 3. Membership Committee.
The Membership Committee shall consist of at least six members of the Council from at least four of the Professional Disciplines referred to in Section 1 of this Article II. The Membership Committee shall submit the nominations for membership, together with the Committee’s recommendations, to the Board of Directors. The Board shall elect to membership such nominees as it deems qualified.
Section 4. Inactive Status.
An active member in good standing (with all dues paid) may apply to the Board of Directors for “inactive status” due to temporary relocation outside the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, extended travel, illness or similar reasons restricting the member’s ability to attend membership meetings of the Council. If approved by the Board of Directors, the member’s membership dues during the period of inactive status shall be waived. It is anticipated that the member will not be attending membership meetings of the Council. However, the member may attend one meeting during each fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) of inactive status and shall pay the full cost of attendance. Unless otherwise determined by the Board of Directors, the member’s inactive status will be limited to a period not exceeding two fiscal years. The member’s inactive status may be revoked automatically if the member attends more than one meeting in any twelve-month period; at which time the member will be required to pay the membership dues for that entire fiscal year.
Section 5. Membership upon Incorporation or Merger.
All members of the Council upon the date of its incorporation shall be considered fully qualified members without the necessity of action of the Membership Committee or the Board. All incumbent officers and directors of the Council shall be deemed to hold such positions in the Corporation until their successors are elected. In the event another estate planning council is merged into the Council, all members of such other council as of the official date of such merger shall be, and automatically shall become, members of the Council.
Section 6. Application by Prior Member.
A prior member of the Council (who has not been removed) may reapply for membership after the Treasurer or the President has certified to the Membership Committee that all amounts previously owed to the Council by such member have been paid in full or waived by the President. If the prior member was in good standing within 12 months of reapplying, the member shall automatically be reinstated upon payment of the current annual dues. Otherwise, the prior member must qualify for membership and be nominated as a prospective member in accordance with the provisions of Section 2 of this Article II and pay the applicable initiation fee and dues.
Section 7. Removal of Member.
A member (active, emeritus, student or associate) of the Council may be removed from membership for cause on the vote of two-thirds of the members of the Board of Directors then in office.
The Board of Directors shall consist of the Officers of the Corporation, the immediate past president, and four other directors. All power necessary for the government of the Council shall be vested in the Board except those powers granted to specific officers by these Bylaws.
Section 1. Officers and Directors.
The officers of this Council shall be a President, a Vice-President, a Treasurer, and a Secretary. The President shall preside at all meetings of the Council and of the Board of Directors. The Vice-President shall perform the duties of the President in the President’s absence. The Secretary shall keep a record of the proceedings of all meetings of the Council and the Board and shall have the responsibility for keeping records of membership and for mailing notices of meetings and other communications to the members. The Treasurer shall have custody of all funds of the Council and shall deposit all such funds in a bank, trust company or other financial institutions designated by the Board of Directors. All withdrawals of such funds shall be by checks or orders signed by the President, Treasurer or Executive Director, as authorized by Board resolution. The Treasurer shall prepare and submit to the Council a statement of financial condition of the Council at its annual meeting, and at such other times and in such manner as the Board may require.
Section 2. Executive Director.
The President, with the approval of the Board of Directors, may engage the services of an Executive Director, as an employee or an independent contractor, to assist the Officers and other members of the Board of Directors in the performance of their duties. The duties of the Executive Director shall be determined by the Board of Directors. These may include, under the supervision of the President, Treasurer and Secretary, assisting with duties specified in Section 1 of this Article. The Executive Director shall be paid such compensation as the Board of Directors shall determine. The Executive Director shall not be an Officer.
Section 1. Nominations.
The President shall appoint a Nominating Committee of at least four members not later than thirty days prior to the date of the annual meeting. This committee shall submit to the Secretary a slate of nominees for Officers and Directors at least fifteen days before the date of the annual meeting. In addition, any nine active members, by notice in writing filed with the Secretary by April 15, may nominate candidates for Officers and Directors. The members of the Council shall be entitled to vote for any candidate named by either of such methods. The Board of Directors shall consist of representatives available from the membership of the disciplines that make up the membership of the Council. It is the intention of the Council that Officers be representative of the disciplines that make up the membership of the Council. However, Officers need not represent any specific number of disciplines at any time. No non-Officer director shall be eligible to serve for more than two successive years but may otherwise be eligible to serve additional terms.
Section 2. Elections.
The members present at the annual meeting shall elect the officers and the Board of Directors. The nominees for each of the four offices and the nominees for the four directorships receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected. Each Officer and Director so elected shall take office on July 1 following the annual meeting and shall serve for a term of one year or until a successor is elected and qualified. Any vacancy caused by the death, disability or resignation of an Officer shall be filled for the balance of the Board Member’s term by resolution of the Board of Directors.
The annual meeting of the Council shall be held between April 1 and June 20, at a date designated by the Board of Directors. The Secretary shall provide to each member of the Council a notice of such meeting at least ten days prior to the same, and shall at the same time submit a list of all nominees for election. Other meetings of the Council may be called from time to time by the Board of Directors. Meetings of the Board of Directors may be called at the President’s discretion or upon request of three members of the Board of Directors. Any member may, in writing addressed to the Secretary, request that the Board of Directors bring up for discussion at any meeting except the annual meeting any matter in which the member may be interested.
Five members of the Board of Directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Unless provided otherwise in these Bylaws, an action of the Board shall require a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors present and voting. Fifty members of the Council shall constitute a quorum at any regular or special meeting of the Council. All actions of the members shall require a simple majority of the members present and voting.
Active, Associate and Student Members shall pay upon election to membership such initiation fee as may be fixed by the Board of Directors. Active, Associate and Student Members shall pay on or before August 15 of each year annual dues in the amount fixed by the Board of Directors. Members who fail to pay their dues within three months after the same are payable shall be deemed to have relinquished their membership in the Council.
The President shall appoint annually, with the advice and consent of the Board of Directors, the Chairman and other members of the Committees on Bylaws, Membership, Nominations, Programs and other such committees as shall be deemed advisable. Such committees shall establish rules of procedure and practice for their meetings and may change the same from time to time.
No members (active, emeritus, student and associate) of this Council shall use their membership or the Council’s membership list in any form of advertising or solicitation of business. The Officers and Board of Directors of the Council shall not allow the Council’s membership list to be used in soliciting any business, whether for profit or not for profit.
These Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors then in office.