National Association of Estate Planners and Councils

The History of the NAEPC

Formed in 1962 and incorporated in 1963 as a non-profit business league by 13 estate planning leaders from nine councils, NAEPC is rapidly growing to maturity. Though numerous objectives have been pursued over the years, the abiding conviction is that the team approach to estate planning is essential to the creation of the estate plan to which each client is entitled.


The founders of NAEPC held two fundamental convictions:

  • Estate planning, effectively done, is of paramount benefit to the community as a whole.
  • The most successful way to develop effective estate planning is through estate planning councils. The team approach will produce the best results.

The initial concept for estate planning councils began with bank trust officers and life underwriters in the early 1930's. In 1937 the Trust Division of the American Bankers Association and the National Association of Life Underwriters adopted Companion Resolutions which endorsed the establishment of Life Insurance-Trust Councils. A Guide for Forming Life Insurance - Trust and Estate Planning Councils was published jointly by these organizations between 1937 and 1959. This guide enumerated six purposes for the estate planning council movement:

  1. Enabling life underwriters, trust officers, attorneys, and accountants to become better acquainted;
  2. Developing mutual trust and understanding;
  3. Learning to cooperate - confident that there is no competition among the groups;
  4. Learning more about each others’ business;
  5. Knowing experts in each others' fields and having the confidence and trust to call on them for their services;
  6. Giving, through this cooperation and study, much improved service to clients.


The Boston Estate Planning Council records its formation date as September 11, 1930 and seems to be unchallenged as the estate planning council with the longest history of continuous operation. Other estate planning councils have antecedents in the 1930's but have not been active continuously since then. Many of these were reestablished in the late 1940's and early 1950's. Ten additional councils list their formation in the 1930's:

  • 1930 Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1934 Rochester, New York
  • 1936 Denver, Colorado; Eastern New York (Albany); Connecticut (New Haven)
  • 1937 Atlanta, Georgia; Baltimore, Maryland
  • 1938 Chicago, Illinois; St. Louis, Missouri
  • 1939 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Another 25 councils began in the 1940's: 

  • 1940: Buffalo, New York; Cleveland, Ohio; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Seattle, Washington; Washington, DC
  • 1941: Indianapolis, Indiana; Los Angeles, California, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1942: Northern New Jersey
  • 1944: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 1945: Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; Tacoma, Washington
  • 1947: Fort Wayne, Indiana; Houston, Texas; Western New York (Buffalo)
  • 1948: Beaumont, Texas; Des Moines, Iowa; Louisville, Kentucky; Richmond, Virginia; Roanoke, Virginia
  • 1949: Corpus Christi, Texas; Long Island, New York; Miami, Florida

In the early 1960's the leaders of the eastern estate planning councils saw the need for a national association to stimulate the spread of the national estate planning council movement and to provide assistance to the formation of new councils. Hy P. Forrest, a distinguished attorney in Miami, provided the dynamic leadership and dedicated the time to implement the incorporation of the National Association of Estate Planning Councils. He served as the first president of the new association with John G. Khouri, CLU; Joseph E. Teirney, Jr., CPA; and Frederick C. Rozelle, Jr., TO, rounding out the first slate of officers. Each of these founders later served as president of the NAEPC.

Many council boards continue to be structured so that the officers represent each of the primary disciplines. Therefore each president has contributed multiple years of dedicated effort, largely at his or her own expense, to sustain the momentum of the organization.

On January 1, 2003, the board of NAEPC was expanded to include the Certified Financial Planner® as the fifth designation.  The board further expanded to include philanthropic professionals beginning on December 1, 2016.

The board of directors of NAEPC is very much a "working" board. With multiple members representing each discipline, the twenty + member board is composed of fifteen directors, five officers, the immediate past president and up to five directors emeritus.