The Estate Planning Council of Rochester (“EPC”) began in 1934 as a cooperative organization between bank trust officers and life insurance underwriters.  In 1957, attorneys were invited to join the organization and in 1958, certified public accountants were invited to join the organization.  As the practice of estate planning evolved, certified financial planners were invited to join the organization beginning in 1998.  Currently, organization membership is open to estate planning professionals in the following five disciplines:  accountants, attorneys, bank trust officers, financial planners and life insurance professionals.

Membership is by invitation to those persons in each professional group who are engaged in trust and estate analysis, administration and planning, and who have been so engaged for at least three (3) years in one or more of the five disciplines.  A new member is proposed by two current EPC members, with one being from his or her discipline and the other one being from one of the other disciplines represented by the EPC.

There are many advantages to becoming a member of the EPC.  One of the major advantages is the ability to network with an elite group of estate planning professionals in the Rochester area.  Most EPC programs have a networking component that allows all members to interact with professionals in all of the estate planning disciplines either before or after the program.  Another advantage is the fact that most EPC programs provide continuing education credits to members in each of the five disciplines.  These continuing education programs are free to members who have paid their dues.



The membership year for the EPC runs from July 1 to June 30.  Membership consists of regular members, senior members and honorary members.  A regular member is a professional who is still working in the estate planning area and who has not yet reached the age of sixty-five (65) years.  A senior member is a regular member who has retired or who is still working but has reached the age of sixty-five (65) years.  When a regular member qualifies for senior member status during a membership year, senior member status does not take effect until the following membership year.  An honorary member is a person who has been designated as such by the Executive Committee.

Presently, membership is limited to 230 regular members, and no more than forty percent (40%) of the members may be from any one discipline.  There is no limit on the number of senior members.  There is a limit of five (5) persons for honorary member status.

All regular members are expected to attend at least two meetings during each membership year.  Attendance at either the business portion or the social portion of any meeting is treated as attendance at that meeting.  If a regular member fails to meet this requirement or fails to pay the dues for regular members, the Executive Committee has the power to terminate the membership of a regular member upon due notice.  A senior member is not obligated to attend any meetings, but the Executive Committee has the power to terminate the membership of a senior member upon due notice if there is a failure to pay the dues for senior members.



The Membership Committee has responsibility for the consideration and approval of applications for membership in the EPC.  Once the Membership Committee has reviewed the application and discussed whether or not the proposed member meets the qualifications for membership, it will vote on the application.  All applications approved by majority vote of the Membership Committee are then reviewed by the Executive Committee, and a proposed member is accepted for membership upon approval by majority vote of the Executive Committee.

Recognizing that active members are extremely important for the ongoing existence and vibrancy of the EPC, the Membership Committee also is tasked with the responsibility for keeping members engaged and promoting the EPC for the purpose of attracting new members.  To that end, the Membership Committee has developed a mentor program for new members and assigns an experienced EPC member from a different discipline as a mentor for all new members, to encourage them to attend meetings and become involved in the organization.

The Membership Committee generally consists of a Chair and at least one committee member from each of the five disciplines.  Past practice has been to appoint the Secretary of the EPC as the Chair of the Membership Committee.  Current Membership Committee members are as follows:

Name Discipline
Mary Szabat, Chair Financial Planner
Brett Caroselli Financial Planner
Barbara Clemmons Life Insurance Underwriter
Jillian Dart Bank Trust Officer
Victoria Kleehammer Accountant
Cathy Johnson Accountant
John Mourer Accountant
Lauren Whiting Attorney
 Maria Caton Financial Planner

We are always looking for new Membership Committee members to assist with the process of reviewing applications, mentoring new members, planning engagement events for new and prospective members, and discussing ways to improve the experience of EPC members so that the EPC is seen as the one stop resource for information on estate planning in the Rochester area.



If you are interested in becoming a member of the EPC, please download and complete the application for membership.  If you are interested in learning more about the EPC and/or wish to attend one of the programs as a guest, please contact the EPC office at (585) 586-6906.

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