What Does an Estate Planning Lawyer Do?
Wills, trusts, and guardianships are all essential to ensuring that an individual’s assets are distributed properly after death or incapacitation. Individuals can hire a skilled estate planning lawyer to assist them in drafting these legal documents.
When seeking an estate planning attorney, individuals should ask them a few key questions. This will help ensure that they select the best professional for their needs.
Knowledge of New York State Law
Estate planning attorneys are highly knowledgeable in drafting legal documents that convey an individual’s wishes. They are commonly responsible for preparing last will and testaments, living trusts, power of attorney documents, and guardianships.
A skilled estate planning lawyer is also familiar with the state and federal laws that govern the distribution of property upon death or incapacitation. They can use these laws to help their clients reduce their tax burden and safeguard assets from being taken by creditors.
For example, a skilled New York estate lawyer can design a plan to keep as much of an individual’s property out of probate as possible, which may involve storing assets in a living trust or making gifts to beneficiaries under the Uniform Gift and Estate Tax rules. The knowledge of these laws can ensure that a client’s property is distributed according to their wishes. This can prevent heirs from fighting over their inheritance and prevent the state from taking valuable assets or heirlooms.
An experienced estate planning attorney will have extensive knowledge of state and federal laws that affect the management and transfer of an individual’s assets upon death. They will be able to advise on a client’s legal options and create documents such as revocable living trusts, durable power of attorney and life insurance plans.
Skilled estate planning lawyers also understand the complex issues of probate law, which governs the legal proceedings that take place after a loved one dies. They can help their clients avoid expensive court costs, reduce taxes and simplify the transfer of ownership of real property, vehicles and business interests to heirs.
A skilled estate planning lawyer will have excellent verbal communication skills so they can clearly explain complicated legal technicalities to their clients. They will also have good organizational skills so they can keep track of the many tasks and documents that their clients must complete. They will also have the patience to work with clients who are making emotionally difficult decisions.
A skilled estate planning lawyer is able to understand and explain complex legal topics in a way that is easy for clients to understand. He or she also knows how to communicate with other members of an estate’s team, such as financial professionals and accountants.
A good estate planning lawyer will take the time to listen to clients’ concerns and goals before drafting any documents. This is an important step in making sure that the document meets the client’s needs and will be effective after his or her death.
An experienced estate planning lawyer is also knowledgeable about issues in other areas of the law, such as property law, Medicaid asset protection and state and federal estate taxes. This is important because a well-rounded understanding of these laws will help the attorney to anticipate possible future law changes that could affect estate planning. This knowledge can help clients avoid complications and potential legal disputes with beneficiaries after their death.
As an estate planning lawyer, you must be able to handle sensitive information and complex legal scenarios. In particular, hiring managers want to know if you can help clients navigate complicated financial matters such as dividing assets, transferring debts and minimizing tax.
Analytical thinking skills are also important for this position. It is your job to understand each client’s unique situation and provide them with a solution that will benefit them. Consequently, you need strong verbal and written communication skills to communicate with each client clearly.
Finally, excellent organizational skills are important for this position. You must be able to work efficiently, which includes drafting legal documents, conducting research on laws and regulations, and managing client information effectively. Additionally, you must have the ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously and meet tight deadlines. In addition to being organized, you must have a strong attention to detail. This is crucial when preparing legal documents such as wills and trusts.