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Speaker & Bios


Abigail Earthman, JD, LLM








Litigator Abigail Rosen Earthman represents high net worth individuals in gift and estate tax audits in Internal Revenue Service (IRS) examinations, appeals, and trials. Her national practice includes cases in the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fifth, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuits, as well as in state probate and fiduciary matters.

     Abigail advises individuals and businesses in family wealth transfers and counsels corporate and private trustees and trust departments in the administration of trusts and fiduciary litigation matters. She also assists clients in the full range of controversy and planning matters in negotiations with the IRS and U.S. Tax Court and in litigation related to estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer taxes.

     Representing executors, trustees, and beneficiaries, Abigail advises on funding, administration, taxation, distribution, and termination of estates and trusts. In her counsel to all clients, she emphasizes litigation and audit risk mitigation.

     Abigail’s practice is informed by her experience in the national tax office of a Big Four accounting firm in Washington, D.C. She is a frequent speaker on industry-related topics and nationally recognized in the areas of gift and estate tax audits and fiduciary issues.

Jamie Hopkins, Esq, MBA, CFP, LLM, CLU, ChFC, RICP

Jamie P. Hopkins, Esq, MBA, CFP, LLM, CLU, ChFC, RICP, is the Managing Partner of Wealth Solutions at Carson Group. He is a Finance Professor of Practice at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.

     A nationally recognized writer and researcher, Jamie is a regular contributor to Forbes, InvestmentNews and MarketWatch. A highly sought-after speaker in the financial services industry, Jamie has also been featured on Wall Street Journal podcasts, NPR radio, and Fox radio, and has made multiple appearances for NBC10 Philadelphia, PBS, and USA Today.

     He’s been published in dozens of financial, educational, and legal journals and developed educational materials for The American College’s CFP®, CLU®, ChFC® and RICP® programs, along with CE programs for attorneys.

     Additionally, Jamie has coauthored three text books and has two ebooks on retirement planning, Retirement Success In 10 Steps: How to Stretch Your Dollar to Last Through Your Golden Years, and Retirement Risks: How to Plan Around Uncertainty for A Successful Retirement. He is also the author of 2018’s Rewirement: Rewiring the Way You Think about Retirement.

     Jamie was selected by InvestmentNews as one of the top 40 financial services professionals under the age of 40 in 2015. And in 2017, he was selected by The American Bar Association as one of the top 40 young attorneys in the country. Jamie was also named a Lawyer of Distinction and elected to the prestigious role of an American Bar Foundation Fellow.

     Before joining Carson, Jamie was an associate professor of taxation at The American College of Financial Services in the Retirement Income program and served as the director of the New York Life Center for Retirement Income.

     Jamie received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science at Davidson College in North Carolina, where he was captain of the Division I Men’s Varsity Swim Team. He attended Villanova School of Law, where he earned his Juris Doctor degree and graduated with honors. He received his Master of Business Administration degree from Villanova University Business School. Jamie also holds his LLM from Temple University and four financial planning designations, the CFP, CLU, the ChFC, and the RICP, and sits on ReverseVision’s Board of Directors.

     He cocreated the Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP) designation, which has over 6,000 graduates since its inception in 2012, and over 12,000 financial advisors currently enrolled in the program.

Robert K. Kirkland, JD, LLM









Bob Kirkland is founding partner of the law firm of Kirkland Woods & Martinsen LLP, which has offices in Liberty; Springfield; and Clayton, Missouri and Overland Park, Kansas. He is licensed to practice law in Missouri and Kansas. He works with a variety of individual clients, handling the preparation of estate planning instruments, and counseling clients in the areas of estate and gift tax minimization, probate avoidance, gifting techniques, asset protection, charitable planning, and business succession planning.  He also advises fiduciaries in estate, conservatorship, and trust administration matters. 
     Mr. Kirkland is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), is a past Missouri State Chair of ACTEC, and a past member of the ACTEC Board of Regents and ACTEC Executive Committee. He is also a member of the Employee Benefits Committee (past Chair), Sponsorship Advisory Committee (past Chair), Digital Property Task Force, Membership Selection Committee, and Communications Committee of ACTEC. He is listed in the last 20+ editions of The Best Lawyers in America and the most recent editions of Super Lawyers. Mr. Kirkland has successfully completed the Effective Probate Mediation Training course sponsored by ACTEC, and frequently serves as a mediator of trust and estate disputes.
     Among several professional and civic activities, Mr. Kirkland serves as a Vice Chair of the Missouri Bar Probate and Trust Committee, and a member of the editorial board of Trusts and Estates magazine. He is also a member of the Program Committees of the Duke University Estate Planning Conference and the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education’s (IICLE’s) Estates and Trusts Short Course, as well as a Chancellor of the Heart of America ACTEC Fellows Institute.
     Mr. Kirkland is a frequent author and lecturer in the estate planning and charitable giving areas. He has lectured on a variety of topics at seminars sponsored by ACTEC, The Heckerling Institute, ALI-CLE, Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, The Missouri Bar, The Kansas Bar Association, The Iowa Bar, IICLE, The Ohio Bar, The Idaho Bar, The Florida Bar, The Oklahoma Bar Association, the Hawaii Tax Institute, the Southern Federal Tax Institute, the Notre Dame Estate Planning Institute, the Duke University Estate Planning Conference, the ACTEC Florida Fellows Institute, the UCLA Institute on Estate Planning, The MO-KAN Trust Conference, the American Heart Association, and the Estate Planning Councils of Baltimore, Charlotte, Greenville, Little Rock, Louisville, New York City, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach.
     Mr. Kirkland holds a BS in accounting from William Jewell College (1980), a JD from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law (1983), and an LLM in estate planning from the University of Miami, Florida School of Law (1985).  During his tenure at the UMKC School of Law, he served as managing editor of the UMKC Law Review.  

Briana Loughlin, JD









With regard to fiduciary matters, Briana Loughlin advises executors, trustees, and beneficiaries regarding complex matters related to funding, administration, taxation, distribution, and termination of estates and trusts. She represents individuals and corporate fiduciaries in probate and fiduciary litigation including will contests, breach of fiduciary duty suits, and receivership proceedings.

     With regard to tax matters, Briana counsels clients on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) examinations, appeals, and trials related to gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer tax matters. She also has extensive experience drafting and arguing pleadings, motions, and discovery in state and federal court.

Scott Matasar, JD









Formerly a litigation partner in one of the largest and most highly esteemed law firms in the region, Scott has been recognized by Super Lawyers magazine as one of the “Top 50 Lawyers in Cleveland” and the “Top 100 Lawyers in Ohio,” and has received numerous other professional accolades.

     Scott’s practice focuses exclusively on representing broker/dealers, life insurance carriers, and other financial institutions and professionals in litigation, arbitration, regulatory enforcement defense, recruiting matters, and structuring practice buy/sell transactions.

     Corporations also regularly engage Scott to assist them with internal investigations, and to represent them in high-value commercial litigation matters involving contract disputes, tortious interference, fraud, and other business claims.

     Scott regularly represents Fortune 500 financial institutions, broker/dealer organizations, investment advisory firms and their employees, independent financial advisor groups as well as individual financial advisors,

     Outside of work, Scott is also highly active in Cleveland’s civic affairs, particularly in the Jewish Community. He has served as an officer or trustee of several different community organizations, including serving as President of the Cleveland chapter of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), and received an award from City Year recognizing him for his years of volunteer service.

David Russell, CFP, CSA


David is a vice president and trust officer with Argent Trust, a $30 billion independent trust company with 33 offices in 12 southern states. He has been providing financial advice to individuals, families, and institutions since 1984. At 24 years of age, David took an interest in the relatively new field of financial planning and later earned his Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation in 1987 and his Certified Senior Advisor (CSA®) designation in 2017. He has spent the majority of his career helping families plan for their future, focusing on estate plan design, and trust management for high-net-worth families.

     Throughout his 30+-year career, David has counseled several hundred families, businesses, and individuals on how to achieve their financial and life goals. He is a frequent speaker and is well regarded for his ability to communicate complex issues into understandable language.

     In 2009, he became the financial caregiver for his own parents and learned by that experience that he had not been preparing his clients and their families for advanced age. In 2012, he authored his first book, What You Need to Know: The Adult Child’s Guide to Becoming an Effective Financial Caregiver, and began to focus much of his career on helping families facing the financial issues of age transitions. He is the founder and creator of, an informational website designed to provide education, coaching, and support to families everywhere who are working through the financial and emotional challenges of age transitions.

     David is a full-fledged member of the sandwich generation as a parent of four grown children, a grandparent, adult child, adult son-in-law, and father-in-law; sometimes stumbling through the roles of each, learning with each misstep and hopefully passing on something in the process. He and his wife Susan have been married for 40 years and live on the Cumberland Plateau near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Martha Shedden, RSSA, CRPC









Martha Shedden is President and Cofounder of the National Association of Registered Social Security Analysts (NARSSA) and is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC).

     Martha was introduced to the topic of Social Security in 2011 and in 2014 began teaching CPE/CE Social Security courses to finance and tax professionals through several online providers.

     Recognizing the demand for retirees to obtain personalized Social Security guidance on specific rules affecting their claiming decisions, she launched her business, Shedden Social Security & Retirement Planning, in 2015 to provide Social Security claiming analyses services.

     In 2017 Martha and Michael Rosedale, a CPA, cofounded NARSSA to provide online education and training for financial and tax professionals to become Registered Social Security Analysts (RSSA).

     Martha has over a decade of experience providing Social Security education, consulting, and analyses and is the author of numerous Social Security white papers, seminar presentations, and articles in financial publications.

Richard M. Weber, MBA, CLU, AEP (Distinguished)


Dick Weber is president and primary consultant for The Ethical Edge, Inc., an Insurance Fiduciary® providing fee-only insurance analytics and consulting services to family offices and high-net-worth individuals. For 25 years a successful life insurance agent and 20-year life member of the Million Dollar Round Table, he joined Merrill Lynch Insurance Group as Vice President and Manager of Client Education and Field Development. For this tour in upper management with a life insurance carrier, his responsibilities included developing communication programs which enhanced client understanding of insurance products and reconciled product performance against consumer expectations. Following this engagement, he was a codeveloper of Dynamic Insurance Solutions and Historic Variability Module, computer-based tools that have begun to revolutionize the way advisors and their clients can view life insurance products.

     Dick holds an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley with a specialty in insurance and finance. He was designated a Chartered Life Underwriter in 1974. Among his various teaching activities, Dick served for 11 years as an Instructor of Insurance at the University of California at Berkeley's Program in Personal Financial Planning and from 1993 through 1998 served as Adjunct Professor of Ethics at The American College in Bryn Mawr, PA. He currently serves on the adjunct faculty of Texas Tech University’s PFP degree program.

     His book, Revealing Life Insurance Secrets: How the Pros Pick, Design, and Evaluate their Own Policies, is published by Marketplace Books and is directed at advisors and financial service professionals. Life Insurance as an Asset Class - A Value-added Component of an Asset Allocation, cowritten with Christopher Hause, FSA, MAAA, was honored with a 2008 Best Paper Award from the Academy of Financial Services. Hause and Weber published a second volume in the Asset Class series, Managing a Valuable Asset, in December 2010.

     Dick Weber was the Society of Financial Service Professional’s Kenneth Black, Jr. Leadership Award recipient for 2008 in recognition of his “... exemplary leadership qualities and significant contributions to the fulfillment of the Society’s core values of ethics, education, and relationships.” In 2009, Dick was elected to the NAEPC Estate Planning Hall of Fame and selected to receive the Distinguished Accredited Estate Planner award and designation for “... significant and outstanding lifetime achievements and contributions to the practice and profession of estate planning.”

Dick was the 2012-2013 President of the Society of Financial Service Professionals.

Daniel M. Zugell, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, AEP

“Dan the ESOP Man” Zugell is Director/Senior Vice President of the national consulting firm, Business Transition Advisors, Inc. (BTA) in Central & Eastern US. BTA is a highly regarded business succession firm specializing in the education, analysis, design, financing, and implementation of employee stock ownership plans (ESOP). Dan’s experience spans many financial service disciplines including insurance, executive benefits, disability income, and numerous ESOP facets. Dan gained special expertise in corporate repurchase liability financing inherent to ESOPs as Regional Director for MetLife’s Institutional Specialized Benefit Resources. Overall expertise in the analysis, design, financing, and implementation of ESOPs was launched as Executive Director/Practice Leader of GenAmerica’s and MetLife’s ESOP Departments. Dan remains a prominent and nationally respected expert, thought leader, author, and speaker on ESOP-related matters. Dan has been published in the prestigious Journal of Financial Service Professionals and Wealth Counsel Magazine and is a contributor to TD Ameritrade’s Institutional Advisor Solutions, Employee Benefit Advisor, and others. Dan holds a BA from Grove City College and designations from The American College including Chartered Financial Consultant, Chartered Life Underwriter and Accredited Estate Planner. Dan is a member and Past President of the Society of Financial Service Professionals-Pittsburgh Chapter, Past Chair of the Pittsburgh Business Ethics Awards, Member of the National Association of Estate Planning Councils, The ESOP Association, National Center for Employee Ownership, and Founding Member of the Pennsylvania Center for Employee Ownership.

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