Join us for our monthly Cannon Institute update, hosted by Arvest Wealth Management. All installments of the Cannon Institute Teleconference Series will feature estate planning topics and a live discussion by leading experts in wealth management. Participants will have the opportunity to connect and collaborate with other professionals regarding industry trends and relevant issues. Continuing education credits are available upon request.

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If you have questions or want to register for a session, please contact Maria Meredith at or (580) 290-8806.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Best Designs for the Exercise of Discretion by a Trustee

The heart of trust administration is the Trustee’s thoughtful exercise of discretion. Clients and their estate planners rely heavily on the core concept that Trustees will follow carefully applicable trust law and parameters established in the governing instrument in making subjective decisions that will promote the best interests of the beneficiaries. In this teleconference, we will examine various options for conferring fiduciary discretion consistent with the client’s objectives and good practice, including the following:

  • Designing Discretionary Distribution Language
  • Incentive Trust Approaches
  • Language That Confers Appropriate Investment Flexibility on the Trustee
  • Drafting and Defending Reliance on Exculpatory Clauses


Tuesday, March 22, 2022

What May be in Store When the IRS Knocks on Your Door

The federal government has overarching powers to collect tax debts that far surpass the collection mechanisms available to ordinary creditors. Knowing what these powers are and how they may be deployed is important not only when embroiled in an audit or collection proceeding but also when considering certain fiduciary transactions such as a sale of trust property or a distribution to a beneficiary. In this teleconference, we will zero in on the following:

  • Estate, Gift and Income Tax Liens
  • Transferee Liability
  • Personal Liability of Fiduciaries
  • Tax Penalties


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Non-Tax Aspects of Business Succession Planning

Closely held business equity presents unique challenges for an estate planner. In the vast majority of cases in which a family business is involved, it is by far the predominant asset. Its continued viability is critical to the family’s financial future, and whether the business prospers long-term will depend substantially on how it is to be owned and managed if the founder becomes incapacitated and at his or her death. We will examine the following issues in this teleconference:

  • Determining Whether Succession Within the Family is Even Appropriate
  • Considerations Involving Children Who Are Active in the Business and Those Who Aren’t
  • Effective Design and Use of Trusts
  • Anticipating and Addressing Family Members’ Marriages and Divorces


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Estate Planning for and Administration of Digital Assets

The deployment and use of so-called digital assets have proliferated at breathtaking speed. Virtually anyone who uses a computer or a smart phone has digital assets whether he or she recognizes them as such or not. Some digital assets are just items or information that may have intangible value to the owner and his or her family members but no monetary value. Other digital assets, such as cryptocurrency or the “key” to gain access to cryptocurrency, may have tremendous monetary value. A fiduciary in the 21st century must be prepared to recognize and handle digital assets. In this teleconference, we will take a close look at the following:

  • What are Digital Assets?
  • Contractual Provisions Imposed by Electronic Services Providers
  • Estate Planning Document Provisions to Facilitate Gaining Access to and Handling of Digital Assets
  • Impact of Applicable Laws Including the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

To Whom and When Does an Estate Planner Owe Duties?

The technical intricacies of estate planning are tough enough, but the challenge becomes still more intimidating when the identity of the person(s) to whom the planner owes legal and ethics-based duties is unclear and when the period during which such duties are owed is amorphous. Even the most honorable estate planning professional, if not sensitive to these issues, can find him or herself confronting a very difficult dilemma. In this teleconference, we will tackle the following serious issues:

  • When Does the Lawyer-Client Relationship Begin and When Does It End?
  • Relationship Between the Trustee’s Lawyer and the Beneficiaries
  • When a Lawyer Can Owe Duties to a Non-Client
  • Lawyer’s Obligations to a Client After Active Representation Has Ended


Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Post-Mortem Planning and Strategies

Planning and maneuvering to reduce or eliminate taxes aren’t just for the living. Numerous opportunities exist to minimize taxes relating to the transmission of an individual’s property even after he or she has died. A fiduciary (or the fiduciary’s advisors) must have comprehensive knowledge of the applicable tax laws and must be vigilant not to miss any deadlines for taking action. Among the many possible steps to consider, which will be examined in this teleconference, include the following:

  • Timing and Structuring of Pecuniary Gift Funding and Distributions
  • Qualified Disclaimers and QTIP Elections
  • Election to Treat Post-Death Revocable Trust as Part of the Estate and Fiscal Year Election
  • Sixty-Five Day Rule Election


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Compounding Complications in Charitable Giving

Outside the context of outright gifts of cash to a public charity, charitable giving can be complicated. Familiar examples of charitable giving techniques that can present challenges include charitable gift annuities, split-interest charitable trusts, farm or residence remainder interest gifts, gifts of equity in a closely held entity and IRA charitable rollovers. This teleconference will go beyond those familiar examples and explore additional areas that can be traps for the unwary, including:

  • Emerging Issues Surrounding Donor Advised Funds
  • Conservation Easements
  • Internal Revenue Code Section 642(c) Deduction
  • Mismatch Between Gross Estate Inclusion and Charitable Deduction


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Mechanics and Strategies for Resolving Trust Disputes

A poorly conceived or sloppily designed estate plan can actually cause more problems than it solves. Fortunately, under the laws of most jurisdictions, various judicial and non-judicial options exist with which to remedy estate planning problems after-the-fact. A well-rounded estate planner not only needs to know how to create a high-quality estate plan that addresses a client’s needs but also should be facile with available methods to repair broken estate plans. This teleconference will focus on the following:

  • Using Virtual Representation
  • Beneficiary Waivers, Consents and Releases
  • Trust Modifications, Premature Terminations and Decanting
  • Identifying and Avoiding Adverse Tax Consequences in Settling Trust Disputes


Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Legitimate and Effective Asset Protection Planning

Asset protection planning is important to an increasingly broad range of clients – both for themselves and for their children. Creditors seem to be more aggressive these days, and more clients are becoming conscious of their potential to wake up one day in a vulnerable financial situation. Estate planners should offer their clients the opportunity to discuss, early in the estate planning process, the advantages of and available techniques by which to secure at least some measure of asset protection. This teleconference will focus on the following:

  • Avoiding Fraudulent or Voidable Transfers
  • Using Tenancy by the Entireties Form of Ownership
  • Protected Status of Qualified Retirement Plans, IRAs and Life Insurance
  • Trusts – Including Self-Settled Trusts, Certain Joint Trusts and Third Party-Settled Trusts


Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Qualified Retirement Plan and IRAs – What You Can and Can’t Do

Many of our clients have sizable accumulations in qualified retirement plans and IRAs. This is yet another unique type of asset that presents potential opportunities and difficulties in the estate planning context. The ultimate beneficial objective is to maintain as much of the plan or IRA intact for as long as possible – in order to maximize income tax-deferred investment return – while preserving as much dispositive flexibility as possible. This quest is often elusive. We will address in this teleconference the following critical components of this estate planning subspecialty:

  • Using See-Through Trusts and Conduit Trusts Within SECURE Act Parameters
  • Taking Maximum Advantage of Special Rules Available Only to a Spouse
  • Avoiding Penalties Applicable to Qualified Plans and IRAs
  • Overview of Prohibited Transactions


Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Assorted Ethics-Based and Related Legal Conundrums for Estate Professionals

The world of estate planning and trust administration is fraught with a variety of landmines, and only the diligent can detect and avoid them consistently. An estate planning professional’s behavior and performance may be judged unethical or even illegal in a given circumstance even if he or she is exceptionally knowledgeable about the substantive law. In this teleconference, we will delve into the following issues and concerns to which both lawyers and fiduciaries would be well-advised to pay close attention:

  • Duty to File Amended Tax Returns
  • Recognizing and Steering Clear of Tax Return Preparer Penalties
  • Hazards for a Lawyer in Representing Co-Trustees or a Trustee and Beneficiaries
  • Propriety of Seeking Releases from Beneficiaries When Making Distributions or Terminating Trust