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National Directory of Estate Planning Attorneys & Lawyers


National Directory of Estate Planning Attorneys & Lawyers

No matter the size, everyone has an estate. If you want to ensure that the assets of your estate are protected and that your estate plans are carried out during and after your life, you need the help of estate planning law experts. Estate planning lawyers are highly specialized attorneys who are trained to help their clients protect their assets and provide for their heirs. The estate planning specialist who helps to create your estate plan can also be a great benefit to your heirs in the settlement of your estate. You will find the guidance that you need to locate the best estate attorneys in your area in the HouseCashin directory of estate planning law firms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Estate planning lawyers are attorneys who help clients create a plan to manage their assets according to their financial needs. They also write the documents that will implement that plan. A client’s plan could involve their retirement, their long term health care, the distribution of their assets, and possibly the special needs of their spouse or children. An estate law attorney has had special training and experience in many areas of law and finance. Lawyers dealing with estates have to be knowledgeable in areas such as tax law, elder law, retirement and succession planning, life insurance, charitable donations, and financial planning. Many estate attorneys are board-certified by state and national associations that are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). You may hear them referred to as solicitors.

An estate attorney will organize your assets for their best use during your lifetime and structure their distribution after your death according to your wishes. A law office providing estate law services will include attorneys specializing in trusts. A living trust, one created and funded during your life, like a family trust, can manage your affairs if you become incapacitated and help avoid probate. If it is a revocable trust, then you could cancel it. An irrevocable trust may have more benefits such as protecting your assets from creditors and allowing you to qualify for Medicaid benefits. A special needs trust can provide for the particular care needed by beneficiaries who have special needs. Your attorney can set up the trust fund, which is the account holding the assets, and handle trust administration. Even a small estate can benefit from the expertise of an estate attorney. Estate attorneys are also lawyers that handle wills. Estate planning includes will planning and preparation to make your wishes clear. Your family will can designate your children’s guardian, which a trust will not do. Your last will and testament are where you will specify who you want to benefit from your estate, charitable bequests, and your executor. If your estate is not complicated, a simple will is sufficient.

Your estate planning cost will vary based upon your location, the size and complexity of your estate, and the attorney’s level of experience. Attorney’s primarily charge by the hour, with hourly rates starting at $200 and going as high as $390 in some metropolitan areas. The more complicated your estate, the more hours your attorney will need to perform their work. Some people may prefer to know upfront how much they will pay for estate planning. Many attorneys will price a flat fee for their work. This can range from $1,000 to $2,000. If you choose this method of payment, you should get a clear written proposal that specifies the work to be done. This will help to prevent unexpected charges. A few states allow estate attorneys to charge a percentage of the value of the probate estate. Make sure that you ask attorneys whom you are considering to explain their costs.

If you try to save money with “do it yourself” estate planning, it could turn out to be a costly mistake. All of your planning could be for nothing if your documents don’t comply with the law. Legal language is complex and you may not convey the meaning that you intended. Your state’s laws will change over time. Your instruments need to meet the current legal standards, and they need to be updated periodically. Your assets need to be properly protected in case someone were to contest your will. Attorneys who are professional estate planners will safely structure your estate and handle the eventual disbursement of your assets.

You should take your time selecting several best estate planning companies to interview. Try to determine if you are their typical client. If you have a complex situation, you may prefer to work with a large firm. If your circumstances are more simple, then a large firm may hand you off to their most inexperienced attorney. Find the firms that are the best fit for you and ask if they will give you a free consultation. When you meet with the attorneys, tell them about your situation and concerns, and see how well they listen. They should ask questions before making any recommendations. Ask about their experience. Ask them whether they have any accreditations or certifications. And ask about their costs.

A personal referral would be good if you can get one. Your CPA or financial planner may be able to provide one. Your real estate attorney might suggest a local estate planning law firm. Online advice usually starts with, “make a list.” And HouseCashin has already made a list of the best estate attorneys in your area. Chances are that if the attorney referred to you by your advisors is one of the top-rated estate attorneys in your location, they are in the HouseCashin directory. The estate attorneys found on HouseCashin were chosen for their experience and reliability so that you can select the right estate planner with confidence.

Whether or not probate is required depends on the laws in the state where the deceased passed away. Some states do not require that a small estate or an estate with little value will have to go through probate. Some states have developed a simplified probate process for small estates. However, if real estate is involved, then the estate will probably have to go through probate unless the deceased took steps to avoid it. Even if there is a valid will, if the property is in the name of the deceased, then the probate court will be needed to transfer the title to the beneficiaries. This matter can be impacted not only by the laws of the state where the deceased passed away but also by the laws of any states where they owned property. An estate probate attorney will likely be needed.

At this time, any estates whose current market value is more than 11.58 million dollars is subject to federal estate tax. The amount taxed is the amount that exceeds 11.58 million. There are also 12 states and the District of Columbia that have estate taxes. The threshold in those jurisdictions is less than the federal level, with some being as low as 1 million dollars. In addition, 6 states have inheritance taxes, sometimes called a legacy tax, that are applicable to estate transfers. Generally, surviving spouses are exempt from estate taxes, and they are exempt in all 6 states that tax an inheritance. Your estate tax attorney should be able to advise you of your state laws regarding inheritance by a spouse.

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