Vintage / retro style : Blue ballpoint pen, antique pocket watch, two brass keys and a last will and testament on a vinyl desk pad. A form is waiting to be filled and signed by testator / testatrix.

What Does an Estate Lawyer Do?

As we grow older, we start to look at things like retirements and finalizing our wills. What happens to all our assets once we are no longer around?

These decisions require doing some paperwork, and this is where we look for an estate planning firm.

Anyone who has had to wrap up an estate in any form can tell you how helpful it can be to have an estate lawyer, also known as an estate planning attorney. While most of us will have straightforward estates and wills, some people may have complicated instructions or divisions of their assets. So what exactly is an estate lawyer, and what do they do?

What Is an Estate Lawyer?

Estate lawyers are there to help you in all matters relating to assets that you own, and what happens to them once you die. They can also assist you in making plans for a situation in which you are no longer able to make any decisions or look after yourself.

They are experts in areas such as wills, local probate processes, and trusts. Some estate lawyers also have extra qualifications and experience in areas such as business succession.

What Do They Do?

Estate law is made up of various practice areas, both during and after your life. Often these practice areas are quite closely linked, involving both litigation and transactional law. Estate attorneys’ main responsibilities lie in the following areas:

Wills

Probably the most well-known area of expertise, the last will is drawn up when you have specific things you would like to go to specific people.

Living Wills

A living will is there to make decisions in advance for a point where you may no longer be able to do so. This takes some of the pressure off family members making hard choices about your life or medical care.

Trusts

If you have dependents, you may want to specify how any financial inheritance or assets are used. For example, you may want to use a set amount towards education. Trusts make sure that the money put aside for certain things is used for them.

How to Care for Loved Ones

There may be certain people that you would like to look after a child or dependant after you are gone. Estate lawyers can help you put these wishes in writing so the process of taking care of your children is simple and painless.

Do I Need One?

If you have any of the following, you should look into hiring the best estate lawyer near you:

  • A business with assets in other states or countries
  • Caring for someone with special needs or who is incapacitated
  • Leaving assets to stepchildren, stepparents, or half-siblings
  • Leaving assets to someone who is not a citizen of the same state or country
  • Wanting to disinherit someone

Planning for the Future

Estate lawyers can be very helpful, especially in special circumstances or complicated family situations. While most of us may not need an estate lawyer, sometimes we just want peace of mind when it comes to our wishes. If this is the case, then finding a good estate planning attorney is the right way to go.

If you found this article useful, look around our blog for others like it.