STEP USA Branch reports – March 2010

New York

‬‪The STEP New York Branch is off to a strong start in the new year. At our January meeting Robert Hall of VIE Raymond Britt, a Virginia attorney, spoke on ‘International Wealth and Estate Planning Solutions for the US Taxpayer Living Overseas (with a focus on life insurance).’ This meeting was followed in February when Mark Ivener of Ivener & Fullmer in Los Angeles spoke on ‘Three Important Immigration Issues Affecting Trust & Estate Attorneys.’ ‬‪We are looking forward to the Sixth Annual International Institute, which will be held at on 18-19 March in New York City. This annual event, co-sponsored by The New York State Bar Association and STEP New York will be chaired by Warren Whitaker, Chairman of STEP USA. This is a two day Institute, where trust and estate professionals gather to hear leaders in their field exchange ideas and discuss developments regarding cross-border planning with a US component. Register for the programme here.

Upcoming meetings include:‬‪ ‬‪22 April – ‘Appointment and Retirement of Trustees of Cayman Island Trusts and the Accompanying Questions of Indemnifications and Releases,’ Justin Appleyard of Maples & Calder; 11‬‪ ‬‪May – A joint topic: ‘International Asset Protection Planning Update,’ and ‘Anit-Money Laundering  Practices:  What Every Professional Must Know,’ Duncan Osborne of Osborne Helman Knebel & Deleery and Gideon Rothschild of Moses and Singer. 23 June – ‘Pre-Immigration Planning to the US,’ Bob Dumont of Deloitte and Warren Whitaker of Day Pitney.

We welcome guests and visitors from other branches, and hope to see many of you at our meetings this year!  


The Mid-Atlantic Branch of STEP covers the area including: Philadelphia, Wilmington, Delaware, Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. We meet regularly to discuss subjects of interest to members of the group. We rotate the venue for our meetings, and, in order to enable all of our members to participate, we hold most meetings by video conference so that members can go to offices in convenient locations throughout the geographic area covered by the branch. We had an outstanding meeting in December in Wilmington, Delaware, where the focus of the discussion was on Delaware Trusts and the use of Delaware in international planning. The meeting was sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada and was followed by a reception. At our most recent meeting earlier this month Kevin Johnson and Nick Shore of Frank Hirth spoke on Inbound and Outbound Tax Planning for Individuals from a US (Federal and State) and UK Perspective. The speakers were in Philadelphia and we broadcast to Wilmington and Washington. We have had good attendance at all of our meetings and STEP membership in the Mid-Atlantic Branch continues to grow. We welcome the participation of new members throughout the region, and, if anyone knows any interested practitioners in the Mid-Atlantic region, please let us know.


STEP Miami has continued to be active, focusing on both timely and informative presentations, while maintaining its involvement in the STEP Caribbean Conference.

On 12 June 2009 Royal Bank of Canada Wealth Management held a presentation entitled: ‘Emerging Planning Trends’, providing a practical and in depth analysis of recent trends affecting trusts and trust administration. ‬‪

On 23 September 2009 Michael Pfeifer (Caplin and Drysdale, Chartered) spoke on the ‘Latest International Tax Developments – News from Washington DC’, looking into his own crystal ball as to the changes expected under the Obama administration.

In ‬‪November 2009 the tax team from Baker & McKenzie LLP’s Miami office discussed the then recently proposed ‘Foreign Tax Account Compliance Act of 2009’ or FATCA(T) for short!

Last month David Pratt (immediate past chair of the Tax Section of the Florida Bar)‬ spoke on the ‘Temporary Repeal of the Estate Tax and Limitations on Valuation Discounts.’

The Branch is pleased to report that we are seeing a growing number of new members. Our board has also grown with the inclusion of two new members, David Boekhorst and Juan Manuel Gonzalez, who are providing new and fresh ideas to our team.

Presentations have been scheduled for later this month and the branch is also working on its first STEP Miami conference, to be held later this year.

Finally the STEP Caribbean conference will take place this May. Joseph Kellogg has done an excellent job representing the branch on the conference steering committee.


STEP Chicago has experienced steady growth in membership and meeting attendance.  Since our last branch report last October, we celebrated the holidays with a festive cocktail reception on December 1st, which was graciously sponsored by Stout Risius Ross.  Prior to the reception, Robert Hall, of Vie International Financial Services in London, presented on international planning issues, with a focus on insurance solutions.

STEP Chicago then rang in the new decade with a meeting on 7 January 2010.  We were honored to have the dynamic duo of Shân Warnock-Smith QC, of 5 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, and Andrew De La Rosa, of Ten Old Square, both in London, present on ‘International Trust and Succession Litigation: Recent Developments Roundup,’ which was met with rave reviews. On 2 March, Andrew J. Colclough, of Butterfield Bank (Bahamas) Limited, in Nassau, Bahamas, provided us with interesting and thoughtful insights on ‘Offshore Private Trust Companies.’ We would like to thank all of our speakers for travelling so far to visit us!

Our next meeting will be sponsored by Jeffrey A. Zaluda and his law firm, Horwood, Marcus & Berk Chtd. in late May/early June. We thank Mr. Zaluda and his law firm for their generosity. More details regarding the meeting will be posted shortly.

We awelcome our newest Chicago branch members and invite any interested practitioners in the Midwest Region to participate in our upcoming branch events.  If you have any questions regarding the Chicago branch, please contact Benetta P. Jenson at [email protected].

Los Angeles

With membership now in excess of 70 individuals and growing, the Los Angeles Branch of STEP continues to provide quality programmes for the Southern California trust and estates community.

Save the date!

The 3rd Annual STEP Pacific Rim Conference will be held on 6 – 7 May 2010 at the Hotel Casa del Mar, Santa Monica, California and will focus on planning for United States citizens, United States resident individuals with assets located abroad, the development of structures for individuals to hold personal residences abroad, investment in United States real estate by foreign persons, international enforcement initiatives and planning for multinational families and their businesses. For further details please contact Roxann M. Mehle at [email protected].

On Tuesday 23 February 2010 we continued our annual Festival of Forms Series with a lunch meeting hosted by Bryan Cave LLP. The distinguished panel of experts conducted a ‘Dancing with the Forms’ review of International Tax and Financial Reporting Forms. The presenters included a mix of attorneys and accountants: Bill Norman, Ord & Norman; Paul Sczudlo, Law Offices of Paul A. Sczudlo; Polina Chapiro, Green Hasson Janks LLP and Maria Otero, Moss Adams, LLP. This lunch programme was one of our more successful and well attended programmes, yet with 60 attendees, including 10 attending via video conference from San Diego (thanks to the efforts of Michelle Graham of the San Diego office of Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP).

On Thursday 25 March 2010 Bryan Cave LLP hosted a presentation and working lunch: ‘Excerpts from the Professional Diary of a Peripatetic Estate Planner.’ Guest speakers included Cindy Brittain and Silvia On, attorneys with Withers Hong Kong, whose discussion involved a case study focusing on the cultural and technical issues that arise in planning for the cross border Asian – California family, with children in Hong Kong and California.

Look for announcements of our upcoming programmes and other STEP LA events on the STEP website.  We appreciate the ongoing contributions of our executive committee members and we also thank the Hottinger Group for their continued financial support. STEP Los Angeles is committed to continue the quality of programs and membership growth for the upcoming year.


The STEP Seattle members wish to express their condolences to the family of Irene Lo, who passed away in late 2009. Irene served as the treasurer of our branch and was instrumental in its formation.  Irene will be sorely missed by her many friends in the international estate planning community, in Seattle, the Pacific Northwest, Asia and beyond. Irene’s life is memorialised by her family at

With the support of STEP USA, the STEP Seattle Branch continues to grow and is adding new members at a steady pace. A full schedule of presentations is planned for 2010, except for a one month summer holiday break. Presenters, local and foreign, will address international estate planning issues ranging from country-specific topics on: Germany, Italy, Japan, China and Canada, to technical topics such as the interplay of trust rules with the CFC and PFIC regimes. There will be one or more joint meetings with the STEP Vancouver Branch, possibly coinciding with the IBA Annual Conference in Vancouver this October.  STEP Seattle members also are participating in panels at the STEP Pacific Rim Conference this May.  If anyone is travelling in the Pacific Northwest, please contact a STEP Seattle Branch officer so some local hospitality can be extended.


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