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Attorney James Spica Addresses Regional Conference of the American College of Trusts and Estates Counsel

TROY, Mich., December 18, 2015 – On Saturday, December 12, 2015, Dickinson Wright Attorney James P. Spica addressed the Great Lakes Regional Conference of the American College of Trusts and Estates Counsel (ACTEC) in Chicago as a member of the Conference’s CLE faculty. Mr. Spica’s topic was Michigan’s “trust-decanting” legislation, a subject on which he is eminently qualified to speak as the principal author of the tripartite decanting regime enacted as 2012 Michigan Public Acts Nos. 483, 484, and 485. He also authored an article on the subject published by the American Bar Association (ABA): “Spilt to Last: Longevity Planning for Tax Advantaged Trusts under a New Statutory Decanting Regime in Michigan,” 48 Real Prop. Tr. & Est. L.J. 35 (2013).

Mr. Spica, an ACTEC Fellow, is a member of the ACTEC State Laws Committee. He is the ABA Advisor to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws’ Drafting Committee on Divided Trusteeship and 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 former member of the Council (governing body) 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. He clerked for Hon. Richard C. Wilbur on the United States Tax Court (1985) and taught taxation, trusts, and decedents’ estates as an Assistant/Associate Professor of Law at the University of Detroit Mercy (1989-2000, tenured 1996).

As a Member in Dickinson Wright’s Troy office, Mr. Spica focuses his practice on estate and tax planning, trust banking, and trust litigation. In addition to drafting the 2012 Michigan trust-decanting legislation mentioned above, he was the principal author of the perpetuities reform proposal enacted as the Michigan Personal Property Trust Perpetuities Act of 2008. Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Michigan Super Lawyers, Leading Lawyers and DBuisiness’ Top Lawyers, he is a coauthor of the Michigan Estate Planning Handbook (2nd ed. 2006 & Supp.) and Trust Administration Under the Michigan Trust Code (2010 & Supp.), both published by ICLE. His most recent article is “Means to an End: Electively Forcing Vesting to Suit Tax Rules Against Perpetuities,” 40 ACTEC L.J. 347 (2014).

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 visit

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