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Certified Estate and Trust Specialist

What is a CES™?

CES™ stands for Certified Estate and Trust Specialist™. CES™ is a professional financial services designation granted by the Institute of Business & Finance (IBF) to those who have the following traits:


Each advisor must pass a series of exams and a written case study. All designees must complete continuing education requirements each year. Each student must meet experience and/or educational criteria.


CES™ candidates must complete a comprehensive advanced program designed to educate the advisor on every aspect of estate planning, postmortem planning and taxation.


All graduates must sign the IBF Code of Ethics and agree to adhere to the IBF Standards of Practice, both of which place the client's interests above those of the advisor and parent company.

Well over a million people provide estate planning advice; less than 1% of them have earned the CES™ designation.

What a CES™ can do for you

A Certified Estate and Trust Specialist™ (CES™) is an educated, experienced and qualified professional committed to the well being of you, your family and your business. The CES™ can provide basic and advanced guidance on a wide range of estate, postmortem and tax planning issues. With the help and knowledge of a CES™, you can:

Create an Estate Plan

  • Your heirs receive what they should at the right time
  • Advantages and disadvantages of wills and trusts
  • Asset titling options
  • Disinheritance options
  • Liquidity planning
  • After-death planning procedures and considerations
  • Maintain separate property
  • Safeguard assets if there are marital changes
  • Protect children from a previous marriage
  • Ensure income & retain principal with special trusts
  • Establish powers of attorney for possible future use
  • Design quality and lasting health care directives
  • The pros and cons of gifting
  • Conservation and growth of assets
  • Provide solutions for retirement income
  • Ensure a smooth transition between generations
  • Debt minimization
  • The probate process and how to avoid it
  • Estate settlement
  • Fulfill special state requirements

Why you should use a CESTM

The CES™ designee's mission is to gain a complete understanding of your goals and objectives. The CES™ will help identify and develop the strategies, techniques and vehicles that best meet your needs.

The process used by the CES™ involves data gathering as well as advanced knowledge of fiduciaries, estate planning, retirement accounts, mental competence, living and specialized trusts, wills, gifts, transfers, insurance, Social Security and Medicare. The CES™ is also able to aid your family in the areas of post-death decisions: burial considerations, required notifications, setting up estate accounts, the probate process, estate settlement and any state requirements.

Pledges to put your interests above all else.

Keeps abreast of industry standards, new strategies and legislation.

Conducts all activities with the highest standards of integrity and honesty.

Performs investment services in a competent and economical manner.

Offers advice only in areas in which he or she has competence.

Uses the "CES™" marks in compliance with FINRA and lBF.