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American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

Logo of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) is a nationwide professional organization of lawyers who work in the fields of law pertaining to the transfer of wealth and assets during life and after death, as well as the tax implications that are associated with such transfers.

More than 2,600 Fellows have been designated by the ACTEC. Fellows practice or teach primarily in the United States, although fellows can also be found in Canada and other countries outside the U.S. The national headquarters of the organization is in Washington, D.C.

Founded in 1949, the organization is an invitation-only group.

Candidates for election to the College must meet rigorous eligibility criteria including, but not limited to, demonstrated skill and significant contributions to the field of trust and estate law and no less than ten years experience in the active private practice of probate and trust law or estate planning. The members of the organization are "Fellows."

The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel seeks to improve trust, estate and tax laws, as well as the procedures and ethics of attorneys who work in those fields.

The organization serves both as a place where estate and probate attorneys who have made significant contributions to the field can discuss and share their ideas, and as a body that can make informed comment to Congress and other legislative bodies, as well as file amicus curiae briefs in important cases within that field.

The College frequently shares publications by members and conducts continuing legal education (CLE) seminars. Areas of law the organization covers include planning the transfer of assets during and after life, trust administration, estates, guardianships, conservatorships, benefits , charitable gifts and any tax concerns that stem from these issues.

Fellowship of ACTEC

To become a fellow in ACTEC, an attorney must have an outstanding reputation as a lawyer who works in the trust and estates field. An ACTEC fellow must then nominate the attorney. The nominee is carefully reviewed by the state and national membership selection committee.

The regents, which are the governing body, then vote on whether the nominee will be accepted as a fellow. The organization does not consider applications.

Fellows' names are entered into a publicly searchable database on the organization's website. Member of the public can use the database to find a reputable and knowledgeable estate or trusts attorney.

Publications and commentary written by the fellows are made available to the membership, offering the writer greater circulation of his or her work and the reader another perspective on estate and trust issues.

The organization has six different types of membership including Fellow, International Fellow, Academic Fellow, Judicial Fellow, Honorary Fellow and Retired Fellow.

Leadership in the ACTEC

The ACTEC has three main national meetings throughout the year including the Annual National Meeting in March with 1,000 attendees, the Summer Meeting in June with 600 attendees, and the Fall Meeting in October with 750 attendees. The leaders of the organization include:

  • Cynda C. Ottaway - President-Elect
  • Bruce Stone - President
  • Kathleen R. Sherby - Immediate Past President

ACTEC Law Journal

Fellows of the ACTEC enjoy a subscription to the ACTEC Law Journal which is a high level academic journal that explores trust and estate topics, tax laws, and the practical consequences of the rapidly changing rules in this area of the law. The ACTEC Law Journal is published three times a year. Non-fellows can subscribe to the journal for $60.00 for four issues.

Contact Information

The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC)
901 15th Street, NW
Suite 525
Washington, DC 20005
T: (202) 684-8460
F: (202) 684-8459


This article was last updated on Friday, November 3, 2016.