What Does an Estate Planning Attorney Do?

Two women discussing estate planning

Nearly everyone has an estate, including you. Your estate comprises everything you own, from your home, car, checking and savings accounts to your investments, insurance, and personal possessions. Estate planning is planning for how an individual’s assets will be preserved, managed, and distributed after his/her passing. It also takes into account the management of the individual’s properties and financial obligations if they become incapacitated.

What is an Estate Planning Attorney?

An estate planning attorney is a bar certified attorney who specializes in assisting clients in drafting and implementing legal documents, including wills and trusts. They understand how to advise clients on getting their affairs in order to prepare for either incapacitation or death. Beyond this, estate planning attorneys can also help sort out complex family or financial situations, such as

  • Establishing a guardian for living dependents
  • Creating/updating beneficiaries on life insurance, IRAs and 401(k)s
  • Establishing annual gifting to qualified non-profit and charitable organizations to reduce the taxable estate
  • Limiting estate taxes by setting up trust accounts in the name of beneficiaries
  • Setting up funeral arrangements
  • Setting up durable power of attorney (POA) to direct other assets and investments

When to Hire an Estate Planning Attorney

According to The Balance, if you fit into one or more of the following categories, it would benefit you to hire an estate attorney:

  • You own one or more businesses
  • You have a family member living with a disability
  • You want to leave some or all of your estate to charity
  • You’re recently divorced
  • You have a taxable estate for federal and/or state estate tax purposes
  • You’re in a second (or later) marriage
  • You own real estate in more than one state
  • You have children, who are still minors
  • You don’t have any children
  • You have substantial assets in 401(k)s and/or IRAs
  • You recently lost a spouse or other family member

Qualities to Look for in an Estate Planning Attorney

When looking to hire an estate attorney, you’ll want to pay close attention to some specific qualities:

  • Specialization – Look for an attorney who specializes in estate planning as a general practitioner might not have the experience and specialized knowledge needed for your unique situation.
  • State law knowledge – State laws are very specific about what can and cannot be in a will, trust, medical, or financial power of attorney, so having this knowledge is vital to creating those.
  • Comfort – You’ll be sharing details of your life, so you’ll want someone you feel comfortable being around.

Trusted Minneapolis Estate Attorneys

To learn more about estate planning, contact KTF Law Firm, where we have experienced estate planning attorneys you need for your individual situation. Our team will work with you to develop a secure estate plan that meets your needs and protects the people most important to you. Remember, it’s never too early to build a will and plan your estate!