Accredited Estate Planner (AEP)

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on July 12, 2023

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What Is an Accredited Estate Planner (AEP)?

An Accredited Estate Planner is a professional with specialized knowledge and expertise in estate planning.

The AEP designation is awarded by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC) to recognize estate planning professionals who have demonstrated a high level of competence, experience, and commitment to their field.

The AEP designation signifies that a professional has met rigorous standards in the areas of education, experience, licensing, and ethics. By working with an AEP, clients can be confident that they are receiving advice and guidance from a qualified expert in estate planning.

Requirements for the AEP Designation


To become an AEP, candidates must hold a professional degree or designation related to estate planning, such as a law degree (JD), a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification, or a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license.


Candidates for the AEP designation must have a minimum of five years of experience in estate planning or a related field, demonstrating their practical knowledge and expertise.

Licensing and Credentials

AEP candidates must hold a valid license or credential in their field, such as an attorney's license or a CFP certification, and maintain their professional standing through ongoing education and compliance with ethical standards.

Ethics and Professional Standards

AEP candidates must adhere to a strict code of ethics and professional standards, ensuring that they provide competent, unbiased, and ethical advice to their clients.

Benefits of Working With an AEP

Expertise in Estate Planning

An AEP has the specialized knowledge and experience necessary to navigate the complex world of estate planning, helping clients develop and implement strategies to preserve and transfer wealth.

Holistic Approach to Wealth Management

AEPs take a comprehensive approach to wealth management, considering all aspects of a client's financial life, including investments, taxes, retirement planning, and philanthropy.

Customized Strategies for Unique Circumstances

AEPs work with clients to create tailored estate planning solutions that reflect each client's unique circumstances, goals, and objectives.

Coordination With Other Professional Advisors

An AEP can collaborate with other professional advisors, such as attorneys, accountants, and financial planners, to ensure a cohesive and comprehensive estate plan.

Ongoing Education and Staying Current With Industry Developments

AEPs are required to maintain their professional credentials and stay current with industry developments through ongoing education and professional development.


The Role of an AEP in Estate Planning

Assessing Client Needs and Objectives

An AEP works with clients to evaluate their needs, goals, and objectives in the context of estate planning.

Developing a Comprehensive Estate Plan

An AEP assists clients in developing a comprehensive estate plan, which may include:

Wills and Trusts

AEPs help clients establish wills and trusts to manage and distribute assets according to their wishes.

Powers of Attorney

AEPs assist clients in designating powers of attorney to manage financial and legal affairs in the event of incapacity.

Advance Healthcare Directives

AEPs guide clients in creating advance healthcare directives to communicate medical preferences and designate healthcare decision-makers.

Charitable Planning

AEPs help clients develop strategies for charitable giving, including the establishment of charitable trusts and foundations.

Business Succession Planning

AEPs can assist business owners in creating succession plans to ensure the smooth transition of ownership and control.

Tax Planning Strategies

An AEP can help clients develop tax-efficient estate planning strategies to minimize estate, gift, and income taxes.

Asset Protection

AEPs can assist clients in implementing strategies to protect assets from potential creditors, lawsuits, and other financial risks.

Retirement Planning

AEPs work with clients to create retirement plans that consider the impact of taxes, healthcare costs, and other factors on their financial security during retirement.

Philanthropy and Charitable Giving

AEPs can guide clients in developing philanthropic strategies to support the causes they care about while maximizing tax benefits and ensuring a lasting legacy.

Selecting the Right AEP

Evaluating Qualifications and Credentials

When selecting an AEP, it's essential to evaluate their qualifications and credentials to ensure they have the necessary expertise and experience in estate planning.

Assessing Experience and Expertise

Consider the AEP's years of experience and the specific areas of estate planning in which they specialize, ensuring they can address your unique needs and objectives.

Compatibility and Communication Style

Select an AEP with whom you feel comfortable discussing sensitive financial and personal matters, and who communicates effectively in a way that you understand.

Referrals and Recommendations

Ask for referrals from friends, family members, or other professional advisors who have had positive experiences working with an AEP.

Fee Structures and Transparency

Choose an AEP with a clear and transparent fee structure, ensuring that you understand the costs associated with their services.


Working With an AEP: What to Expect

Initial Consultation and Information Gathering

During the initial consultation, the AEP will gather information about your financial situation, goals, and objectives to develop a thorough understanding of your estate planning needs.

Estate Plan Development and Implementation

The AEP will work with you to create a comprehensive estate plan, addressing your specific needs and objectives. They will also help you implement the plan, ensuring that all necessary documents are in place and assets are properly titled.

Ongoing Monitoring and Adjustments

An AEP will regularly monitor your estate plan and recommend adjustments as needed to accommodate changes in your circumstances, laws, and regulations.

Regular Communication and Updates

Expect ongoing communication with your AEP, including updates on your estate plan and any relevant changes in the estate planning landscape.


The Accredited Estate Planner designation is a valuable indicator of a professional's expertise and commitment to the field of estate planning.

Clients working with an AEP can expect knowledgeable advice and guidance, benefiting from their experience and comprehensive approach to wealth management.

Key considerations when selecting and working with an AEP include evaluating their qualifications, experience, communication style, and fee structure.

By choosing the right AEP and engaging in ongoing communication and monitoring, clients can develop and maintain a comprehensive estate plan that addresses their unique needs, goals, and objectives.

Overall, the AEP designation plays a crucial role in the estate planning process, ensuring that clients receive high-quality services and support in navigating the complex world of wealth preservation and transfer.

Accredited Estate Planner (AEP) FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website or view his author profiles on Amazon, Nasdaq and Forbes.

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