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What is an Estate Attorney
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Estate Attorney 

What do estate planning lawyers do? 

An Estate planning attorney and probate attorney are necessary during the estate planning process. An estate planning attorney works closely with a grantor/settlor to plan their affairs. The estate plan will consist of how to manage properties, assets, and other wishes the grantor desires to have implemented after their death. The grantor will also select an executor or trustee depending on whether it’s a will or a trust

An estate planning attorney also understands the state and federal legislation that will affect your estate. Lawyers for estate needs are probate attorneys, probate litigation lawyers, estate lawyers, and trust litigation, lawyers.

It is best to choose an attorney with years of experience, mentoring, and ongoing legal education in estate and inheritance law. Contact Hess-Verdon at 949-706-7300.

What’s estate planning?

Estate planning is organizing one’s financial affairs in preparation for an incapacitating event or death. You will need to create a financial plan with a trust or will to manage the estate administration process. It guides the management and administration of your estate when you can no longer. Of course, the planning process comes before you die, and the process through which the documents are certified in probate court comes after. 

A probate attorney’s job during estate planning is to provide advice and counsel. An estate attorney experienced with California law can assist you in correctly interpreting and applying all of the laws and rules about drafting a will or trust. They provide value beyond what those online fill-in-the-blanks forms offer.

What makes up an estate?

Your estate includes everything you own, even your debts. To calculate a person’s estate, subtract their total debt obligation from their total assets. Real estate, such as land, can be included as part of the estate. Personal property such as household furnishings, vehicles, bank accounts, and other financial instruments make up an estate. Also, if you jointly own a property with others, your share of the property may be added as part of the estate. Everything you have to your name is your estate.

Most people, especially those with a family, will want to retain control of their assets even from their grave using a will or trust document stating how assets should be managed and administered to beneficiaries or heirs. With a lawyer’s help, you can specify who and when a specific asset should be given. A trust or will guarantees your family is taken care of after your death. A trust or Will also ensures your wishes will be met; for example, on matters to do with your healthcare in the event of incapacitation, you can put in the plan instructions of how you want to be taken care of. 

What to Expect from an Estate Lawyer?

Estate planning attorneys, probate attorneys, or estate litigation attorneys are trained and licensed legal professionals with a deep understanding of federal and state laws that impact how your property will be inventoried, valued, allocated, and taxed after you are gone. An estate planning attorney will provide the following services:

  • Creation of a will or trust
  • Designating beneficiaries
  • Provide education about the probate process to eliminate undue influence
  • Finding measures to decrease and avoid property income tax when possible
  • Finding strategies to avoid beneficiaries or heirs going to court
  • Establishing trusts to protect your capital assets, both to your advantage in the event of incapacitation and to the benefit of your heirs after your death
  • An Estate planning attorney sets aside funds for a family member who can’t take care of themselves. A lawyer can help structure the plan such that they continue to receive government benefits in addition to their generosity.
  • An Estate planning attorney prepares powers of attorney and medical directives that outs someone in charge of your affairs and healthcare wishes when you are mentally incapacitated.
  • Ensuring your assets are kept off beneficiaries’ creditors after you are gone.
  • Creating living trusts and structuring them in a way that minimizes or avoids estate taxes completely
  • Help avoid conservatorship and guardianship issues since you can appoint conservators and guardians in the document.
  • An Estate planning attorney can offer guidance to someone with a power of attorney over estate issues.
  • Help with matters regarding contention of a will or trust to avoid litigation and wasting money in court and legal fees.

Estate planning attorneys help in the smooth transition of assets from you to your beneficiaries or heirs. Here is what to look for in an estate planning attorney

Estate Law Attorney Qualities 

Just because someone practices law doesn’t put them in a position to help you with financial planning. The best estate planning attorneys meet the following characteristics: 

  • They make estate planning a priority in their practice.
  • Create a comfortable environment for you to share personal details about your life and worries, ensuring that your estate plan meets your needs and expectations
  • They are familiar with your state’s laws and regulations concerning properties, inheritance, and taxes; otherwise, your wills and testament could be invalid in court.

For example, California doesn’t have hard and fast rules regarding the naming of executors, just that they may be at age 18 and have a sound mind and judgment. But even if you can appoint an executor who lives out of state, that doesn’t mean you should go for it. You want someone who can deal with day-to-day issues for weeks, months, or even longer. So, for practicality, go for someone near you. Working with an experienced estate law attorney can help avoid such mistakes.

Finding an Estate law attorney 

There are various ways to find a qualified and trustworthy probate attorney. Always start by asking friends and family for referrals. Check with your state bar association or ask your local probate court. Remember to consult multiple attorneys to pick someone you feel comfortable working with. An interview in person or via phone can help gauge their communication skills.

How Much Does an Estate Plan Cost? 

It costs less to hire a probate attorney to help create a plan for your estate and maintain and administer it on your behalf than to operate without one. You may even lose the whole estate through taxes, creditors, etc., without an attorney’s help to craft strategies to minimize taxes and keep properties out of creditors’ hands. 

When hiring an estate lawyer, you pay for their expertise and knowledge. When they are requested to help create wills, trusts, and durable power of attorneys, among other binding legal documents, most estate law attorneys often charge a fixed fee. But the attorneys can also be retained hourly to ensure the estate owner’s wishes are met, help in dispute resolution, and manage an estate. Use negotiation skills to get a fair price. 

Estate Planning Law Firms

Whether you’ve decided to hire an estate planning attorney or need a further chat, speaking to an expert will help you figure out the next steps. In California, we are estate law attorneys with years of experience assisting clients in creating wills and trust, resolving disputes, handling probate processes, and managing and administering assets. Get in touch with us to find out how we can be of assistance.

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What Is An Estate Attorney - What You Should Know!

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What Is An Estate Attorney - What You Should Know!

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