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  • Writer's pictureStephanie E. Sanderson-Braem, Esq.

Fall 2023 President's Message

Welcome everyone to the 83rd year of the Philadelphia Estate Planning Council (“PEPC”). It is my honor to have been elected and to serve as your current President. I joined PEPC in 2003 as I started my legal career at Stradley Ronon. Since joining PEPC, I have benefited greatly from the professional development PEPC has brought to my career and am thankful to have this opportunity to give back in such a significant way. My involvement in PEPC started by joining and working on various PEPC Committees to then serving as a board member for over seven years to now having the opportunity to lead this prestigious organization. As I watched and admired those Presidents who took the podium before me, it is truly a privilege to take these reigns and have the ability to follow in their footsteps.

This organization would not be where it is today without the strong leadership and commitment of our past Presidents. I want to thank them for their hard work, dedication and advancement of PEPC. Last year presented many challenges as we continued to deal with the consequences of the pandemic. I want to thank immediate Past President, James Revels, for his guidance in moving this Council forward through those challenges. I am proud to say that throughout last year we saw a continued increase in our in-person attendance numbers.

I am thankful for the impressive Board that serves with me and am fortunate to have these members, especially those on the Executive Committee, lead this Council through this program year and forward. The Executive Committee is as follows:

  • Vice President: Christopher Borden, CFP – Stedmark Partners at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC

  • Treasurer: Jacklynn Ann Barrass, J.D., LL.M. – BNY Mellon Wealth Management

  • Secretary: Alan Weissberger, Esq. – Hirtle, Callaghan & Co.

  • Immediate Past President: James Revels, CPA, MST, AEP – KPMG LLP

My goal as President this year is to have programs that deliver nationally recognized speakers who discuss topics that are timely and relevant to our practices. So far this year we have had two in-person, highly educational programs with speakers of national prominence who are also presenters every year at Heckerling. In September, Paul Lee, Chief Tax Strategist of The Northern Trust Company, spoke on “Goblins Lamentation List: Unscrambling ‘Installment Obligations’.” In October, Bernard Krooks, J.D., who is the founding partner of the New York law firm Littman Krooks LLP, spoke on “Elder Law and Special Needs Planning.” Our November program was virtual only and featured Natalie Choate who spoke on “Death and Taxes: The Inherited Retirement Plan.” In January 2024, Steven Mignogna, Esq. and Kelly Preteroti will be presenting on “Undue influence: Will You Know It When You See It?” In February 2024, Richard Nenno, Esq., will be presenting on state income taxation of trusts. In March 2024, Jeremy Doyle of BNY Mellon will speak. At our annual meeting in May 2024, which will be held at the Barnes Foundation, Professor Samuel Donaldson will be speaking on a Federal Tax Update. The speakers and topics of our programs and the annual meeting are determined by our Programs Committee.

Speaking of Committees, I feel the most rewarding way for members to get involved with PEPC is through our many Committees. Committees allow you to meet and interact with other members in other disciplines in our estate planning community on a more informal level to develop closer relationships. Most Committees meet on a monthly basis and allow to you get to know and interact with other members in this more intimate environment. Committee participation provides the opportunity to expand your professional relationships and allows to you be involved with the direction of PEPC. If you would like to get involved and serve on a Committee, please contact Denise Downing, our PEPC administrator or the Chairs of the Committee. Here are our various Committees:

Diversity Committee – Co-Chairs: Fareeha Arshad & Leanne Evans

The DEI committee seeks to empower and promote inclusion and belonging within PEPC’s leadership, membership and programming. The Committee organizes networking events and promotes discussion around diversity, equality and inclusion within the estate planning community.

Ethics Committee – Co-Chairs: Rick Bell & Glenn Henkel

The Ethics Committee meets to discuss ethical issues surrounding the estate planning profession and hosts an annual seminar on this topic (which is a great opportunity to receive your continuing education ethics credits).

Membership Committee – Co-Chairs: Jacklynn Barrass & Alan Weissberger

The Membership Committee is tasked with growing and sustaining our membership.

NAEPC Engagement Committee – Co-Chairs: Tim Zeigler & Kim V. Heyman

The NAEPC Engagement Committee serves as the liaison between PEPC and the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils. The Committee is responsible for promoting the benefits of NAEPC to local council members, promoting the Accredited Estate Planner® (“AEP”) designation, supporting AEP candidates and encouraging PEPC member participation in NAEPC leadership positions. In regard to NAEPC, I will be attending the annual NAPEC estate planning conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in November on behalf of PEPC and look forward to meeting with leaders of planning councils nationwide to learn from each other and share best practices. I hope to see some of you there!

Newsletter Committee – Co-Chairs: Kim V. Heyman & Michael DeFillipo

The Newsletter Committee organizes and supplies content for our newsletter that is published three times a year.

Outreach Committee – Co-Chairs: Lisa Mittelman & Bradley Terebelo

The Outreach Committee seeks to promote the importance of estate planning to the greater Philadelphia community through educational events, volunteer opportunities and partnerships with other organizations.

Programs Committee – Co-Chairs: Christopher Borden & Jacklynn Barras

The Programs Committee determines the speakers and topics for our six luncheons and the annual meeting.

Roundtable Committee – Co-Chairs: Bob Hart & Anthony Weiss

The Roundtable Committee organizes informative, smaller brown-bag educational lunch events that are free to members, where local speakers present on a variety of topics.

Social Committee – Co-Chairs: Jillian Kukucka & Jamie Kelly

The Social Committee organizes many of our great networking events, such as our Welcome Back Party, our Holiday Party, and the always popular Golf, Tennis and Yoga Outing. The Social Committee also organizes other events, such as our Drop-Ins, which are held at Philadelphia-area bars and restaurants.

Social Media Committee – Co-Chairs: Shane Johnson & Josh Niles

The Social Media Committee is in charge of providing and maintaining fresh content on our website at and also is tasked with handling our social media (Facebook and LinkedIn). 

Sponsorship Committee – Co-Chairs: Scott Lillis & Erin McQuiggan

The Sponsorship Committee networks with members and local businesses to match PEPC sponsorship opportunities with firms looking to support and work with the local estate planning community.

We could not put on our programs and events without our sponsors. For the 2023-24 program year we are beyond thankful to our platinum sponsors who are: Freeman’s Auction House, Haverford Trust Company, Legacy Advisors, Raymond James Trust and Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP. If you or your organization are interested in sponsoring an event, please do not hesitate to contact me or the chairs of our Sponsorship Committee.

The lifeline of our Council is maintaining and growing our membership. Please think about colleagues or relationships that you have who may benefit from a membership in PEPC and encourage them to join.

I look forward to a great year. Please do not hesitate to reach out with your thoughts and suggestions on how we may improve your membership experience. We welcome your input.


Stephanie E. Sanderson-Braem, Esq.


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