Estate Planning Blog

What Does An Estate Planning Attorney Do?

By Jeffreymendel Jeffrey Nash – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

What Is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the preparation of tasks that serve to manage an individual’s asset base in the event of disability or death. Planning includes the leasing of assets to heirs and the settlement of estate taxes. Most estate plans are set up with the help of a lawyer experienced in the field of estate law.

What Is An Estate Planning Attorney?

An estate planning attorney is a type of lawyer who understands how to advise clients on getting their affairs in order to prepare for the possibility of mental disability and eventual death. They have years of mentoring, continuing legal education, and experience.

What an Estate Planning Lawyer Does?

Estate Planning Lawyers, also referred to as Estate Law Attorneys or Probate Lawyers, are experienced and licensed law professionals with a thorough understanding of the state and federal laws that affect how your estate is to be inventoried, valued, dispersed and taxed after you die. In addition to educating you on the probate process, the estate planning attorney can assist you with the following tasks:

  • Creation of a Will
  • Designation of your beneficiaries
  • Establishing a sustainable power of attorney and a sustainable medical power of attorney
  • Finding ways to reduce and avoid estate taxes when possible
  • Finding ways to avoid the trial of the court
  • Setting up any trusts that you may need to protect your assets, both for your own benefit during your lifetime in the event of disability and for the benefit of your beneficiaries after your death.

Estate planning lawyers often charge a flat fee to help you craft binding legal documents such as wills and durable attorneys, but they can also be employed on an hourly basis to help you maintain your estate, act on your behalf to deal with disputes when requested, and ensure that your will is carried out as required.

An estate planning attorney may also be called upon to guide anyone with the power of attorney over a recently deceased person’s estate through the probate court process. In fact , a good estate planning attorney may be able to help you avoid the probate court in its entirety, but this depends largely on the type of assets in the estate of the deceased and how they are legally allowed to be transferred.

In the event that a beneficiary (or even an individual not designated as a beneficiary) announces that he or she plans to contest the will and sue the estate of a deceased family member or loved one that you are also entitled to benefit from, it may be in your best interest to consult the estate planning attorney immediately. Such lawsuits can quickly drain the estate ‘s funds and leave all beneficiaries a little worse off.

Qualities to Look For in Your Estate Planning Lawyer

A general practitioner may not have the experience and expertise to assist you with your unique family and financial situations. Look for the Estate Planning Attorney who:

  • Devotes their practice to estate planning
  • Makes you feel comfortable sharing intimate details of your life and concerns so that your estate plan does not fall short of your expectations and needs.
  • It’s well-versed and up-to – date with the laws of your state. Otherwise, your estate plan could ultimately be considered invalid by the court.

For example, in Florida, a personal representative must be either related to you by blood or by marriage. Otherwise, they have to be a resident of the state. Yet the wills of Florida residents often appoint an out-of-state friend or attorney as their personal representative. This individual can not and will not be allowed to serve. Working with a qualified estate planning attorney will help you avoid this kind of simple yet costly mistake.

Law Offices of Joel A. Harris 1990 N. California 8th Floor
Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) 757-4605

Are You Looking For an Estate Planning Attorney You Can Trust?

Planning for your retirement can be a daunting task, and you may still have some remaining questions. The Law Offices of Joel A Harris are more than prepared to provide you with legal counsel pertaining to your planning, execution, or, and any other legal concerns or questions you may have. The Law Offices of Joel A Harris, located in Walnut Creek, and Antioch are available to help you to the best of their abilities. Joel Harris is an attorney with 30 years of experience and is extremely familiar with this process. If you are not sure how to begin, or you just want some help navigating the ins and outs of protecting your retirement and estate, feel free to visit us online, in person or call us by phone at (925) 757-4605.

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