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2020-2022 Class of Dennis I. Belcher Young Leaders

Sep 17, 2020 | News

Jeffrey C. Thede, ACTEC Foundation President, and Terrence M. Franklin, Chair, ACTEC Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Committee are pleased to announce the 2020-2022 Class of Dennis I. Belcher Young Leaders. The sixth class of Young Leaders consists of Jessica Coutre of Freeborn in Chicago, IL; Jessica Diaz of Sherman & Howard in Denver, CO: Jacob Geierman, who is currently an LLM student at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC: Emily Plocki of Venable LLP in Washington, DC; and Renee Salley of The Salley Law Firm in Marietta, GA.

The program is named for former ACTEC President Dennis I. Belcher. Dennis was an outstanding trusts and estates lawyer for 41 years and a leader in the trusts and estates community throughout his career.  He gave selflessly and tirelessly of himself to improve the practice of trusts and estates law, and worked to introduce and implement positive reforms in the law of trusts and estates, and he also served as a mentor to countless young lawyers.

Participants in the program (1) have practiced in the trusts and estates area for at least three years, (2) are younger than 36 years of age or have been admitted to the bar less than 10 years at the beginning of their term as a RPTE Fellow, and (3) have demonstrated leadership at the state or local bar level or in the Young Lawyers Division of RPTE.  As part of the RPTE Section’s commitment to diversity, at least one-half of the RPTE Fellows selected will be minority applicants, and the Dennis I. Belcher Young Leaders are likely to reflect the same diversity.

The goal of the program is to give active members of the Young Lawyers Division of RPTE and/or state or local bar associations an opportunity to become involved in the substantive work of the RPTE Section and to enhance knowledge among the Dennis I. Belcher Young Leaders about the work of the RPTE Section, The ACTEC Foundation, and ACTEC.

Brief biographies for each of the 2020-2022 class are below.

Jessica Coutré of Freeborn in Chicago, IL

Jessica Coutré is an attorney in the Corporate Practice Group. Jessica concentrates her practice in estate planning, trust and estate administration and controversy, and related gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer tax issues for high and ultra-high net worth individuals, their families, and their businesses. Jessica advises clients on the structuring and implementation of advanced estate planning strategies, supplemental needs trusts for disabled loved ones, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and charitable planning through the creation of private foundations, public charities, and charitable trusts. She works closely with clients to advise them regarding asset protection planning, business succession planning, and fiduciary income and estate and gift tax issues.

Jessica administers taxable and non-taxable decedent’s estates and related trusts including the settlement of creditor claims, filing estate tax returns, and preparing trust accountings. When estate and trust matters escalate into controversies, Jessica works to find practical solutions and family reconciliation through the use of nonjudicial settlement agreements and other pre-litigation resolution techniques as well as representing clients in will and trust contest and trust litigation matters.

Jessica Diaz of Sherman & Howard in  Denver, CO

Jessica Diaz is a Member in Sherman & Howard’s Estate and Tax Planning Group, where she focuses her practice on sophisticated estate, tax, and business succession planning. She works closely with clients to address a variety of planning needs and designs creative solutions that integrate each client’s family values and dynamics with sophisticated wealth transfer strategies. Jessica’s practice also includes business, marital and charitable planning; estate and trust administration; advising trustees, personal representatives, and beneficiaries; and probate litigation. Jessica has experience with contested estate and trust matters and fiduciary counseling (including will and trust contests, trust reformations, will and trust construction, accounting actions, and claims of breach of fiduciary duty). Jessica’s charitable planning work includes advising clients on charitable giving techniques (including the use of IRAs for charitable giving and the establishment and operation of private foundations, donor-advised funds, charitable trusts, and public charities); counseling nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations from conception to dissolution; and assisting nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations with mergers, acquisitions, and affiliations.

Jacob Geierman of Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC

Jacob L. Geiermann is a student at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he is obtaining his LL.M. in Taxation with a Certificate in Estate Planning. Jacob is a graduate of the University of North Dakota, where he received his Juris Doctor in 2013 and degree in Accountancy in 2009. Jacob hopes to live and work in the Washington, D.C. metro area after he graduates in May, 2021.

Since law school, Jacob maintained an active trusts and estates practice in North Dakota and Minnesota, working closely with a long-time ACTEC Fellow. Jacob has extensive experience in providing legal counsel in the areas of estate planning, tax planning and compliance, and trust and estate administration.

Jacob worked for the North Dakota Legislative Council during his last semester of law school. After graduating, he worked as a registered lobbyist, drafted trust law legislation, and was actively involved in several legislative initiatives. Jacob served on the Board of Directors of the Red River Valley Estate Planning Council. Recently, an article that he wrote concerning trustee consideration of beneficiary financial resources was published in the American Bar Association Probate and Property magazine.

Emily Plocki of Venable LLP in Washington, DC

Emily Plocki assists high-net-worth individuals, multigenerational families, and owners of family corporations, both domestically and internationally, with tax planning and wealth preservation. Emily handles a variety of matters, including estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax planning; trust and estate administration; planned charitable giving; and business succession strategies. She prepares sophisticated lifetime and estate planning documents, designed to help families and individuals preserve and grow the businesses and legacies they have built over a lifetime.

Prior to joining Venable, Emily was an associate in an international law firm, where she assisted clients with implementing efficient multigenerational wealth transfer strategies, counseled on tax and succession planning for owners of closely held businesses, and worked with clients to incorporate philanthropic and other non-tax objectives into their estate plans. Emily’s experience also includes working as a law clerk with an estate planning boutique in Washington, DC, where she assisted with tax and estate planning for individuals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. She also participated in the IRS Employee Plans Volunteer Law Student Program, where she researched 401(k) requirements.

Renee Salley of The Salley Law Firm in Marietta, GA

Renee E. Salley is an estate planning attorney who also serves clients in the areas of business planning as well as estate and trust administration at The Salley Firm, LLC located in the metro-Atlanta area. Prior to starting her own firm, Renee spent several years as an associate with deAndrade Mangieri, LLC, focusing on individual, family, and multi-generational estate tax planning, business succession planning, trust and probate administration, and small business legal support.

Currently serving as a Real Property, Trusts, & Estates Fellow with the American Bar Association, she is also a member of WealthCounsel and Gate City Bar Association. Renee is a member of the State Bar of Georgia as well as the Alabama State Bar.

Renee is a Winthrop University graduate and earned her Juris Doctor as well as Master of Taxation degrees at Georgia State University. While in law school, Renee was an Outstanding Tax Student Award recipient awarded by the State Bar of Georgia and was a graduate research assistant for the Philip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Henry, reading, and watching Agents of Shield.

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