Protect and Preserve Your Assets

Estate Planning

It’s never too soon to begin talking about estate planning and how to efficiently transfer and distribute your assets. 

Estate Planning Part One: The Probate Process

Why Work with an Accredited Estate Planner® (AEP)?

The Accredited Estate Planner® (AEP) designation is awarded by the National Association of Estate Planning Councils (NAEPC) to professionals who meet stringent experience and education qualifications, including two graduate level courses administered by The American College in Bryn Mawr, PA. NAEPC is dedicated to setting and promoting standards of excellence for professionals in estate planning.

This Association and local Estate Planning Councils assure us of access to highly qualified attorneys and others who excel in the practice of estate planning, including drafting documents, re-titling assets, ownership and beneficiary designations for life insurance, and retirement planning issues.

NAEPC recognizes the importance of promoting a code of behavior that relies upon the proficiency, intelligence professionalism, integrity, objectivity, and responsibility of each person qualifying as a candidate for certification.

NAEPC confers the Accredited Estate Planner® (AEP®) designation to those individuals who meet its stringent admission standards, which include, among other things, significant prior experience in estate planning activities and material formal education in the subject matter.

Accredited Estate Planner Qualifications & Requirements

To be considered eligible for the AEP® designation, the applicant must provide documentation of being currently licensed to practice law as an Attorney (JD) or to practice as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), or of being currently designated as a Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®), Chartered Financial Consultant®, (ChFC®), Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), or Certified Trust & Financial Advisor (CTFA), in any jurisdiction of the United States of America.

The applicant must be presently and significantly engaged in “estate-planning activities” as an attorney, an accountant, an insurance professional, financial planner, or a trust officer.

AEP® Experience Requirements

A minimum of five (5) years of experience engaged in estate planning and estate-planning activities is required in one or more of the professional disciplines described above to apply for the designation.

AEP® Education Requirements

The National Association of Estate Planners & Councils has designated The American College of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania as the primary provider of the education courses required to earn the AEP® designation. Applicants for the AEP® designation must successfully complete two graduate courses through the Richard D. Irwin Graduate School of The American College.

What Estate Planning Tasks Does an Accredited Estate Planner Perform?

Estate planning encompasses the accumulation, conversation, preservation, and transfer of an estate through planning and implementation of an estate plan. The overall purpose of the estate planning process is to develop a plan that will maintain the financial security of individuals and their families.

Estate planning has come to include and mean lifetime planning that leads to creation, conservation and transfer of assets. Estate planning should also facilitate the intended and orderly transfer of property at death, taking into consideration the family unit and the potential costs of different methods.

Some common estate planning tasks include:

  • Administering estate 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 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 taxes
  • Developing programs to conserve assets during lifetime and at death
  • Drafting estate planning documents
  • Facilitating, conducting, teaching, and/or moderating seminars, workshops, and continuing education programs, in estate planning; estate, gift and/or generation – skipping taxes; or business succession planning that would qualify for the continuing education requirement to maintain the AEP® designation in active status
  • Life settlement of Life Insurance Policies
  • Preparing estate and gift tax returns
  • Preparing fiduciary accountings
  • Preparing fiduciary income tax returns
  • Probating wills and administering estates
  • Proposing life insurance solutions consistent with estate plans
  • Retirement distribution planning
  • Succession planning
  • Teaching courses in estate planning; estate, gift and/or generation-skipping taxes; or business succession planning by a full time professor at a college, university or school of law.


Hundreds of satisfied clients have relied upon Squam Lakes Financial Advisors’ 35 years of experience and expertise when they needed a comprehensive financial plan. Whether just starting your financial planning journey, preparing for retirement, considering business succession planning, or making a life transition, we’ll help you define your personal goals and develop comprehensive planning strategies for achieving those goals.

We always act as your fiduciary, and provide strictly fee-only financial planning to avoid all conflicts of interest. Based in the New Hampshire’s picturesque Lakes Region, Squam Lakes Financial Advisors serves clients in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Northern Massachusetts (Boston Area).

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