11 Prob. Notes. 1 (1985-1986)

handle is hein.journals/acteclj11 and id is 1 raw text is: ACPC
Probate Notes
THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF PROBATE COUNSEL*10964 West Pico Boulevard-Los Angeles, California 90064
Gerald LeVan, Editor/Waller H. Horsley, Asst. Editor/  American College of Probate Counsel 1985
Volume 11, No. I Spring-Summer 1985
President's Message
Best selling writer George Gilder, in his Trachtman Lecture at our annual
ACPC meeting in Phoenix in March, wryly observed that death and taxes
\                     are the only sure things in life, and probate lawyers may be the only
persons to profit from both.
We lawyers must inure ourselves to public cynicism about our motives. Is
profit our primary goal? Is that why ACPC exists?
ACPC publications, meetings and activities help us, as Fellows, to be
more competent, better informed and more efficient. No organization can
last long which fails to serve its members.
But ACPC does much more. The improvement of our laws, federal and
state, tax and non-tax, occupies more and more of ACPC talent, time and
money. Some of these changes may appear to be contrary to our
immediate best interests (e.g. increases in exemption equivalents; informal
simplified probate), but have as their objective the only primary goal ACPC
can have: serve the best interests of society.
Our current efforts to revise Subchapter J of the Internal Revenue Code,
the income taxation of estates and trusts, is an example. I confess I like the
intricacies of Subchapter J. I can plan, draft and save money for clients
better than many, perhaps most other lawyers in our community. My clients
and I have a competitive edge.
But is that just in a democratic society? If fair taxation with simpler rules is
possible, shouldn't ACPC enthusiastically endorse it?
I don't want to learn a new system of income taxation of trusts and
estates, change my forms, and lose the results of many years of study and
experience. But the question is: will a simpler and fair taxation system
benefit the public? My answer: yes. I endorse the personal motto of Justice
Holmes: When in doubt, do it!
Those of us over 39, and holding, watch lawyers advertising on television
with revulsion. Yet there is a larger message there. Our profession no
longer is the only arbiter of what the public can be, or should be told. The
public can decide.
We will live to regret lawyers' monopoly of law business. We were lulled
into tolerating probate procedures and tax systems that failed adequately to
serve the public. Alternative methods of transfering wealth, not using
lawyers or court systems, have developed and some of them work well.

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