An estate attorney is a legal professional who specializes in helping individuals and families plan for the management and distribution of their Assets and affairs, both during their lifetime and after their death.
Estate attorneys have expertise in Estate Planning, which involves creating legal documents to ensure that a person's wishes are carried out regarding their personal property, the protection of their loved ones, and the fulfillment of their personal, financial, and medical objectives.
After a death, an estate attorney can also help an Executor navigate the Probate process when they are Administering an Estate. They can also help manage Estate Taxes, distributing assets, and represent clients in Probate Court.
Estate attorneys play a crucial role in ensuring that a person's wishes are legally documented and carried out in a variety of ways. In these matters, they may also be referred to as a Trust Attorney or Probate Attorney.
Some of the key roles and core responsibilities of an estate attorney include:
Estate Planning: Estate attorneys work with clients to create comprehensive estate plans tailored to their unique circumstances. This typically involves drafting legal documents such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and advance healthcare directives.
Asset Protection: They help clients protect their assets from potential Creditors, lawsuits, or claims through legal strategies and structures.
Probate and Estate Administration: In cases where Probate is necessary, estate attorneys assist with the administration of the estate, including the identification of assets, settlement of Debts, and distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
Trust Administration: Estate attorneys may also provide guidance on the administration of Trusts, including the management and distribution of trust assets.
Charitable Giving: Estate attorneys help clients establish charitable giving plans, foundations, or trusts to support charitable causes.
Business Succession Planning: For business owners, they assist in creating plans for the smooth transition or continuation of business operations after the owner's death or retirement.
Litigation and Dispute Resolution: In cases where disputes or legal challenges arise regarding the distribution of assets or the validity of estate planning documents, estate attorneys can provide legal representation and resolve conflicts through litigation or negotiation.
Updating Estate Plans: They advise clients on the importance of periodically reviewing and updating their estate plans to reflect changes in financial circumstances, family dynamics, and legal regulations.