3.01 Membership of this Council shall consist of those who have first been proposed by the Membership Committee and subsequently elected by majority vote of the Executive Committee.
3.02 There shall be no limit to the overall size of the Council.
3.03 Membership in the Council shall be restricted to those who devote a significant portion of their occupational or professional time and effort to performing research and/or rendering advice for the purpose of assisting clients or customers in the accumulation of wealth, avoidance of unnecessary taxes on such estates, planning the disposition and transfer of, postmortem planning and administration of estates, charitable planning or planned giving and who are actively engaged in one or more of the following occupations:
a. Attorneys-at-Law, who are licensed and admitted to practice before the highest court of the state by which licensed;
b. Certified Public Accountants, who hold a current license;
c. Trust Officers, employed by bank trust departments and independent trust companies;
d. Chartered Life Underwriters, who hold a current license.
e. Full time employees of recognized tax-exempt organizations, whose primary occupation or job responsibility is the advising of actual and potential donors to such organizations of charitable or planned giving options, including, but not limited to the income, gift and estate tax consequences of such options;
f. Certified Financial Planners and/or Chartered Financial Consultants.
g. Other licensed or accredited professionals who, in the discretion of the Executive Committee, have the education, training, experience and qualities necessary for Membership, including but not limited to:
And who are actively engaged for three (3) years or more in one or more of the following activities:
- Administering estates and trusts
- Analyzing existing life insurance coverage for continuing relevance
- Analyzing proposed transactions for estate and gift tax implications
- Attending estate planning council meetings and other estate planning or educational events
- Business succession planning
- Charitable/gifting planning
- Designing estate plans
- Designing qualified and non-qualified retirement plans
- Developing strategies to minimize potential estate and gift taxed
- Developing programs to conserve assets during lifetime and at death
- Drafting estate planning documents
- Life settlements of life insurance policies
- Preparing estate and gift tax returns
- Preparing fiduciary accountings
- Preparing fiduciary income tax returns
- Probating wills & administering estates
- Proposing life insurance solutions consistent with estate plans
- Retirement distribution planning
- Succession planning
3.03.1 Associate Member Status. In order to continue the growth of the Council and to encourage new professional to join, the Council intends to allow new professionals, meeting the Section 3.03 membership requirements but lacking the requisite three (3) years of experience, to apply for Associate Member status.
The Council shall include a second class of Members called “Associate Members.” The requirements for an Associate Member shall be the same as for a Member, as set forth in Section 3.03 of the Bylaws, except than an Associate Member must be actively engaged in his/her profession for less than three (3) years.
An Associate Member shall enjoy all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of a Member, except that an Associate Member shall have no voting rights.
Upon reaching three (3) years of active engagement in his/her profession, an Associate Member shall, at the next renewal of his/her membership, apply as a Member.
3.03.2 Emeritus Member Status. In order to continue the growth of the Council and to encourage retiring professionals to retain their membership, the Council intends to allow retiring Members to apply for Emeritus Member status. An Emeritus Member shall meet all of the requirements under Section 3.03 of the Bylaws except that an Emeritus Member need not be actively engaged in his/her profession. Therefore, the Council shall include a third class of Members, called “Emeritus Members.” An Emeritus Member shall enjoy all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of a Member, including voting rights.
3.04 No new Members shall be elected by the Executive Committee if such election would cause an occupational category to constitute more than forty percent (40%) of the total membership of the Council. No Member in good standing shall be expelled if attrition by Members of other professions causes any profession to exceed the above state limitation on Membership.
3.05 Membership in the Council, or any rights thereunder, is not transferable.
3.06 Termination of Membership.
3.06.1 Delinquency. A Member shall become delinquent if annual dues are not paid within sixty (60) days of the initial dues notification. A notice of delinquency shall be given and the Membership shall be terminated if payment is not made within thirty (30) days of such delinquency notice. Any individual whose Membership has been terminated for reasons of delinquency may be reinstated according to procedures as may be established by the Executive Committee from time to time. The Board may decline to reinstate Members whose Membership has been terminated for reasons of delinquency.
3.06.2 Discipline. By a two-thirds (2/3) affirmative vote, the Executive Committee may expel a Member for any cause which, in its judgment, is deemed sufficient, provided that said cause is fair and reasonable. No Member shall be expelled until he or she has been notified pursuant to Section 3.06 (Termination of Membership, Procedure) herein. If no response is received within the time limit set forth in the notice, the Member may be automatically expelled. Upon expulsion under this section, all rights and privileges of Membership of the expelled Member are terminated and any Membership certificate shall be surrendered to the Council by the expelled Member. The Member shall be liable for all costs, including, but not limited to, attorney’s fees, incurred by the Council in seeking collection of delinquent Membership dues, and in seeking injunctions prohibiting the expelled Member from claiming Membership after the expulsion.
3.06.3 Death. A Member’s Membership in the Council is automatically terminated upon that Member’s death.
3.06.4 Incapacity. A Member’s Membership in the Council is automatically suspended upon that Member’s incapacity (in the sole opinion of the Executive Committee). If the incapacity is cured or otherwise removed, then the incapacitated Member’s suspension may be lifted and the Member reinstated upon petition to the Executive Committee for such reinstatement.
3.06.5 Resignation. A Member desiring to resign shall submit in writing notification to the Executive Committee for its action. This notification does not relieve the Member of any dues owed at the time of the notification. Membership shall be terminated upon the acceptance of the resignation by the Executive Committee.
3.06.6 Procedure. Any Member’s rights may be terminated or suspended or the Member expelled pursuant to any procedure that is fair and reasonable and is carried out in good faith. The Member should be notified in writing at least fifteen (15) days prior to the expulsion or termination or suspension of his/her Membership and the reasons for said expulsion, termination, or suspension. At least five (5) days before the proposed expulsion of the Member or the proposed termination or suspension of the Member’s Membership, the Member may provide to the Executive Committee a written explanation of why the proposed expulsion, termination, or suspension should not take place. The Executive Committee may also allow, but is not required to do so, the Member to give oral testimony before the Executive Committee on that Member’s behalf to request that no expulsion, termination, or suspension be instituted. If an Executive Committee meeting is held to consider a written statement by the Member or an oral hearing is held, a decision shall be made and conveyed in writing to the Member within thirty (30) days of said Executive Committee meeting or hearing date. Immediate expulsion of a Member or termination or suspension of a Member’s Membership may take place prior to the end of the fifteen (15) days notice period required above, if such termination or suspension is fair and reasonable taking into consideration all of the relevant facts and circumstances. Any written notice given by mail must be given by first-class or certified mail sent to the last address of the Member shown on the Council’s records. Any proceeding challenging an expulsion, termination or suspension, including a proceeding in which defective notice is alleged, must be commenced within one (1) year after the effective date of the expulsion, termination or suspension.
3.06.7 Obligation of Member for Dues. A Member who has resigned, been expelled, or whose Membership has been terminated or suspended may be liable to the Council for dues, assessments or fees as a result of obligations incurred or commitments made prior to such resignation, expulsion, termination, or suspension. Dues are incurred at the beginning of each fiscal year and no refunds shall be given for expulsion, termination, suspension or resignation, unless otherwise indicated in the By Laws for certain rare circumstances.
3.07 A Member of the Council is required to conduct himself/herself at all times in the following manner:
a. To uphold the integrity and honor of the profession and to encourage respect for it. This involves promoting the continual development of the estate planning industry, as well as the Member’s respective specialization.
b. To be fair. This requires that a professional treat others as he/she would wish to be treated if in the other’s position. It also means that a Member shall disclose conflicts of interest in providing estate planning services.
c. To continually improve his/her knowledge, skill, and competence throughout his/her working life.
d. To do the utmost to attain a distinguished record of professional service based upon diligence. This means that a Member must act with patience, timeliness, and consistency, and do so in a prompt and thorough manner in the service of others.
e. To support the established institutions and organizations concerned with the integrity of his/her profession.
f. To respect the confidentiality of any information entrusted to, or obtained in the course of, the Member’s business or professional activities.
g. To regulate himself or herself. That is, every Member has a two-fold duty to abide by his/her other applicable professional codes of ethics, and to also facilitate the enforcement of this Code of Professional Responsibility. This also means expeditiously reporting breaches of professional responsibility, including one’s own, to the Council. The Council will make all reasonable efforts to diligently investigate each reported breach and report such breach to the proper professional governing body, if the investigation results in a breach that requires reporting or the Council feels, in its sole opinion, that such breach merits reporting to the professional governing body. Nothing herein shall be construed to make the Council responsible for reporting such findings to the general public. Confirmed breaches will result in discipline by the Council, which may include dismissal for the most egregious offenses.
h. To comply with all laws and regulations, in particular as they relate to professional and business activities.
i. To cooperate with other Members, and other estate planning professionals, to enhance and maintain the estate planning profession’s public image, and to work together to improve the quality of services rendered.