Attorney James Spica Addresses Regional Conference of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

December 6, 2017
On Saturday, December 2, 2017, Dickinson Wright Attorney James P. Spica addressed the Great Lakes Regional Conference of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) in Chicago as a member of the Conference’s CLE faculty. His topic was the Uniform Directed Trust Act (UDTA). The UDTA has been promulgated by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, also known as the Uniform Law Commission (ULC). Mr. Spica is a ULC Commissioner (appointed by the State of Michigan’s bipartisan Legislative Council) and served as the American Bar Association (ABA) Advisor to the ULC Drafting Committee that developed the UDTA. He is also the acting Chair of the Divided and Directed Trusteeships ad Hoc Committee of the Council of the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan, which has developed a legislative proposal to enact the UDTA in Michigan as an amendment to the Michigan Trust Code.

Mr. Spica, an ACTEC Fellow and a former member of the ACTEC State Laws Committee, is the principal author of the Michigan Personal Property Trust Perpetuities Act of 2008 and of the multi-statute Michigan “trust decanting” regime enacted in 2012. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and in addition to serving as the ABA advisor to the ULC Directed Trust Drafting Committee, served on the ad hoc committee of the ABA Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section that drafted the Section's response to the Treasury Department's request (IRS Notice 2011-101) for comments on the tax implications of trust decanting. He is a member of the Michigan Commission on Uniform State Laws, a former member of the Council of the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan (2006-2015) and a current member of the Michigan Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) Probate and Estate Planning Advisory Board.

As a Member in Dickinson Wright’s Detroit office, Mr. Spica focuses his practice on estate and tax planning, trust banking, and trust litigation. Listed in Chambers High Net Worth Guide, The Best Lawyers in America, Michigan Super Lawyers, Leading Lawyers, and DBusiness Top Lawyers, he is a coauthor of the ICLE treatises Michigan Estate Planning Handbook (3rd ed. 2016 & Supp.) and of Trust Administration Under the Michigan Trust Code (2010 & Supp.). He clerked for Hon. Richard C. Wilbur on the United States Tax Court (1985) and taught jurisprudence, taxation, trusts, and decedents’ estates as an Assistant/Associate Professor of Law at the University of Detroit Mercy (1989-2000, tenured 1996).

About the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
ACTEC is a nonprofit association of lawyers established in 1949. Its members are elected to the College by demonstrating the highest level of integrity, commitment to the profession, competence and experience as trust and estate counselors. Membership in ACTEC is by election of the regents of the College. Individual lawyers meeting the criteria for membership are nominated for membership by fellows of the College, and subjected to careful review by both state and national membership selection committees, prior to consideration by the regents of the College. To learn more about ACTEC, please click here.

The Uniform Law Commission’s History
On August 24, 1892, representatives from seven states—Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania—met in Saratoga Springs, New York, to form what is now known as the ULC. By 1912, every state was participating in the ULC, and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands also participate. There have been 125 Annual Conferences since 1892, convening at least once every year since the national organization’s founding, with the exception of 1945. Over the course of its history, the ULC has become known as a distinguished body of lawyers. Its members include judges, academics, practitioners, and legislators. President Woodrow Wilson became a member in 1901, and several Justices of the United States Supreme Court, including former Justices Brandeis, Rutledge, and Souter and former Chief Justice Rehnquist, have served as commissioners. Many legal scholars have also served, including Professors John H. Wigmore, Samuel Williston, Roscoe Pound, and George G. Bogert. To learn more about the ULC, please click here.
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