Erica Bell is a partner in the law firm of Weiss, Buell & Bell, concentrating in all aspects of estate planning, wills and trusts, and probate matters. She is a frequent lecturer on trusts and estates topics, especially issues pertaining to estate and financial planning for domestic partners, same-sex spouses, and non-traditional families, at the Bar Association of the City of New York, UJA-Federation New York Estate, Tax & Financial Planning Conference, Practising Law Institute, New York County Lawyers Association, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, US Trust, AXA Financial and various charitable and community service organizations. She was co-counsel with Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund before the Appellate Division, First Department in Matter of H. Kenneth Ranftle, 81 A.D.2d 566 (1st Dep't 2011), which affirmed the New York County Surrogate Court's holding that the surviving spouse in a valid Canadian same sex marriage was the sole legal heir of his deceased partner. Her PLI course outline on "Estate Planning for Domestic Partners, Same Sex Spouses and Non-Traditional Families" is widely cited in scholarly bibliographies on the subject.
Ms. Bell is a 1983 graduate of the Fordham University School of Law, and was a member of the Fordham Law Review. Before joining Weiss, Buell & Bell, Ms. Bell was an associate at the firms of Willkie Farr & Gallagher and Stillman, Friedman & Shaw, and served as law clerk to Hon. Inzer B. Wyatt in the federal district court for the Southern District of New York.
Ms. Bell has served on the Committee on Trusts, Estates and Surrogates Courts at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and is a member of the New York Women's Bar Association (Former Co-Chair, Trusts and Estates Committee); New York State Bar Association; American Bar Association; Lesbian and Gay Law Association of Greater New York ("LeGaL"); and the Fordham Law Review Alumni Association. She also served on the Board of Directors of SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) for seven years and was president or chair of the board for 3 years.