Table of Contents Hide
- Table of contents
- Who Is An Estate Lawyer?
- Do I Need An Estate Lawyer?
- What Does An Estate Attorney Do?
- Why Do You Need An Estate Lawyer?
- How Much Does It Cost To Hire An Estate Lawyer?
- How To Become An Estate Lawyer In The U.S.
- How Much Does Estate Lawyers Earn?
- Job Outlook Of Estate Lawyers
- What Is The Difference Between An Estate Lawyer and A Probate Lawyer?
- FAQs On Estate Lawyers
Estate lawyers help outline the distribution of property and management of assets after a person’s death. They ensure that a client has documented their wishes so that they may be carried out after their death, including through wills and trusts. They also advise people on how to save money on inheritance taxes and probate costs, what type of trusts are best for them, and other legal matters related to estates.
In this article, we’ll discuss in detail who an estate lawyer is, why you need one, and how you can enter this profession.
Table of contents
Who Is An Estate Lawyer?
An estate lawyer organizes the possessions of people so that in their demise, their assets are well managed. I’m sure the word “estate” may conjure up images of sprawling mansions. While that’s not exactly what the “estate” in estate lawyer is referring to, it comes very close: the estate, in this case, is everything belonging to a person, which could include big houses and bank accounts, but also includes any items in your possession like cars or pets, essentially whatever makes up your net worth.
An estate planning attorney is trained in matters related to passing on your assets after you die. They can assist you in drafting documentation and creating a plan to ensure that your assets are distributed to your chosen beneficiaries without the need for court fights or large tax costs.
Do I Need An Estate Lawyer?
An estate lawyer must help you plan and prepare your financial and other affairs in the case of your death or in a situation where you can no longer make decisions and care for yourself.
They will help you prepare your Will, Trust, and other legal documents like Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney.
If you are a business owner, they can also prepare a succession plan that will run in a case of your demise. While not everyone needs to work with an estate lawyer, it will be highly beneficial to have an estate lawyer sit down with you to decide what, if any, help they can provide.
What Does An Estate Attorney Do?
An estate lawyer is a bar-certified attorney who specializes in estate planning and assists clients in drafting and implementing legal documents, including wills and trusts.
This aspect of law is closely related to family law since lawyers often must work with related individuals who are involved with an estate. If you choose to enter this legal specialty, your duty is to arrange and organize the transfer of assets from an individual to the heirs and beneficiaries.
Additionally, you’ll also help clients devise ways to reduce taxes or fees that may be imposed on an estate, which requires tax law knowledge. You might also need to establish restrictions on an estate to ensure that a client’s wishes are properly carried out.
Other personal and business matters that estate lawyers can take on include retirement plans, life insurance policies, and charitable contributions.
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Why Do You Need An Estate Lawyer?
Estate lawyers may appear to be unneeded at first look, but the truth is that hiring one will benefit you in the long run. Inheritance laws differ from state to state and can be difficult to navigate on your own.
With the help of an estate lawyer, you can more easily navigate the process of leaving your loved ones what they need if you become incapacitated in any way.
You might be startled to learn that in an event of death, the survivors are involved in a lot of bureaucracy, so to ease the burden on your friends and family, it’s a good idea to see an estate lawyer who can figure out how to put your wishes into a language that the legal system can comprehend and honor.
Furthermore, estate lawyers can assist you to anticipate where your assets might be contested, saving you time and money. You are the greatest judge of who would enjoy your valuable collection of antique electric guitars, and it is unlikely to be your mother, who was never a fan of your rock-n-roll. It’s in your best interest for your most valuable possessions to have a clear owner when you’re gone, so they’re cherished and well cared for as you’d prefer.
Keeping track of your assets and mapping out their sharing formulas regardless of your physical or mental health is another way to be practical about what life may or may not bring, and it’s something to keep in mind as you become older. Get an Estate Lawyer today.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire An Estate Lawyer?
The cost of working with an attorney varies based on where you live, what services you receive, how complex your situation is, and the lawyer’s fee structure. Many estate attorneys offer a free consultation, which you can use to discuss the basics of what you want and how much you’re willing to pay.
Estate planning attorneys typically charge more in a city compared to more rural areas. Different services also have different costs. For example, getting a simple will may cost you a couple of hundred dollars, while setting up a trust is likely to cost more.
How To Become An Estate Lawyer In The U.S.
Estate lawyers, like most lawyers, must get a JD, or Juris Doctor, degree and then pass the bar test in the state (or states) where they want to practice. While these milestones do allow someone to practice law, concentrating on estate law necessitates gaining on-the-job skills and experience beyond classrooms and tests.
Here’s a step-by-step process of becoming an estate lawyer in the US.
1. Get a bachelor’s degree first
To apply to law school, you must first complete a four-year undergraduate degree. estate lawyers typically study law, but they can acquire a degree in almost any field, including business or economics.
2. Take the LSAT and pass it
You must take the Law School Admissions Test after completing your bachelor’s degree (LSAT). The LSAT is a test that assesses your critical and analytical thinking skills. To apply to American Bar Association-approved law schools, you must pass this exam.
3. Go to law school
After the LSAT, you will spend the next three to four years studying for a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in law school, which allows you to practice law in the United States. In law school, you can specialize in a specific area of law in your final year or two of study. This is when you can decide whether or not you want to pursue a career as an estate lawyer.
You must do the following while studying for your J.D.:
- Complete 90 credit hours while maintaining a 2.0-grade point average.
- Finish all of your courses.
- Obtain the required in-residence time.
- Comply with the course’s stringent writing requirements.
- Complete the course’s experience requirements.
To widen your knowledge base, take up internship opportunities at law firms while in law school to gain experience. Employers expect lawyers looking for entry-level positions to have experience drafting contracts and preparing estate transactions, which can be learned through internships.
4. Pass the bar examination
After graduating from law school, you must pass the bar test in order to obtain the attorney’s license necessary to practice law in the United States. You should take the bar test in the state where you intend to work. The format of the bar test varies by state, but it usually lasts six hours and consists of multiple-choice and essay questions.
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5. Look for a job
Estate lawyers’ associations exist in several states to help new graduates network and learn about career prospects and advancements in the subject of estate law. Join these organizations and apply for positions as an entry-level estate lawyer.
6. Learn the Uniform Probate Code
To be a successful estate lawyer, it’s important that you learn the Uniform Probate Code appropriate trust for the state where you practice law.
The Uniform Probate Code relates to the limits and rules set on wills, trusts, and other legal documents related to estates. Exact laws may vary by state, but these laws govern vital aspects of estate planning and probates, such as how to create trusts or the legal validity of wills.
7. Consider a certificate
Consider pursuing a specialized certificate related to estate planning. Many law schools offer masters of law degrees (LLM) in estate planning or other topics related to taxation.
Completing these programs typically requires one or two years of additional coursework, but it may provide you with a greater level of expertise within your specialty.
8. Continue learning to enhance your knowledge
After earning a law degree and passing the bar exam, it’s wise to take courses and attend seminars and conferences regularly to refresh your knowledge and stay up to date with new legal developments. Many employers value estate lawyers who pursue advanced education.
How Much Does Estate Lawyers Earn?
According to a report on Comparably, the salaries of Estate Planning Attorneys in the US range from $19,908 to $532,665, with a median salary of $95,839. The middle 57% of Estate Planning Attorneys make between $95,839 and $241,304, with the top 86% making $532,665.
Job Outlook Of Estate Lawyers
According to BLS, employment of lawyers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
The data further shows that about 46,000 openings for lawyers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
What Is The Difference Between An Estate Lawyer and A Probate Lawyer?
A probate lawyer simply helps an executor or administrator administer an estate after someone dies.
In some situations, a probate attorney serves in an advisory capacity, while in others, they will take a more active part in the administration of the estate, depending on your needs and on whether the decedent left a will.
An estate lawyer, on the other hand, is a legal professional who aids people in planning their affairs to ensure the administration of their estate goes smoothly.
They ensure that a client has documented their wishes so that they may be carried out after their death, including through wills and trusts. Additionally, they also advise people on how to save money on inheritance taxes and probate costs, what type of trusts are best for them, and other legal matters related to estates.
While they both practice in the same field of law, probate lawyers handle the probate procedure after a person dies, whereas estate lawyers assist living clients in creating wills, trusts, and other estate planning papers before they die.
FAQs On Estate Lawyers
To become an estate lawyer, you must attend law school to earn your Juris Doctor degree, and then pass your state’s bar exam.
estate law encompasses the purchase and sale of real property, meaning land and any structures on it. It also covers legal issues related to anything attached to the property or structures, such as appliances and fixtures.
estate lawyers earn an average base salary of $53,803 per year, according to Indeed Salaries
Estate lawyers help outline the distribution of property and management of assets after a person’s death.
The cost of working with an attorney differs based on where you live, what services you receive, how complex your situation is, and the lawyer’s fee structure. Many estate attorneys offer a free consultation, which you can use to discuss the basics of what you want and how much you’re willing to pay.
- learn.org – What Do Estate Layers Do?
- elawtalk.com – What Is an Estate Lawyer? (And What Do They Do?)
- indeed.com – How To Become a estate Lawyer
- rmolawyers.com – What Is the Difference Between a Probate Lawyer, an Estate Lawyer and a Probate Litigation Lawyer?