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If you pass away without the proper documents in place, your loved ones will have to make decisions that are often difficult and heartbreaking. An estate planning attorney in New York can help you draft documents that are compliant with state law.

A good estate planner will have extensive knowledge of state laws and be familiar with local probate processes. They should also be able to work well with your financial and insurance professionals.

Education

A bachelor’s degree is required to become an estate planning lawyer. Popular undergraduate majors include pre-law, English, and political science. To get into law school, you need a high GPA and a solid score on the LSAT.

To be a good estate planning attorney, you need strong verbal communication skills to explain legal technicalities to clients and colleagues. Analytical thinking is also important to help you understand each client’s situation and make recommendations.

You should also be familiar with a wide range of topics related to estate planning, including tax law and fiduciary duty. Staying up-to-date with changing legislation is crucial.

Anyone who owns assets, from bank accounts to real estate, should consider creating a legally sound estate plan. This can minimize probate court involvement and reduce estate taxes. A New York estate planning attorney can help you create a comprehensive plan that meets your unique needs. They can also help you communicate with family members and heirs.

Experience

As the name implies, an estate planning attorney has experience in assisting clients with creating plans that express their desires and intentions regarding their property. Generally, these documents include a last will and testament, advance directives (power of attorney, health care proxy), trusts and other legal papers.

An estate planning lawyer can assist their clients in minimizing taxes and ensuring their family members receive their inheritances without any issues. These lawyers also have the knowledge to help in navigating any probate proceedings that may occur.

Zimmet says that you should look for an estate planning attorney who welcomes your questions and answers them in a way that you fully understand, rather than using jargon. He or she should also work well with other professionals such as financial managers, retirement planners and insurance specialists. Additionally, consider whether an estate planning attorney has a certification that shows their level of expertise. For example, the CSEP designation is available to attorneys and non-attorney financial planners who have completed advanced estate planning training.

Certifications

Estate planning is a complex area of law, requiring attorneys to master the details of state and federal laws. An attorney with a specialized certificate in estate planning can provide clients with more expertise and a deeper understanding of the issues they face.

The Certified Specialist in Estate Planning (CSEP) program is accredited by the ABA and provides certification to lawyers who have met stringent qualifications. Attorneys who earn this credential are able to offer clients a comprehensive set of services, including tax planning, trust creation and charitable giving.

Choosing a qualified estate planner can help you avoid costly mistakes and ensure that your loved ones are cared for. When meeting with an estate planner, be prepared to discuss your assets, concerns and goals. You should also bring a list of any current documents and insurance policies. The estate planner can use this information to build a plan that will meet your needs. They can also advise you on the proper positioning and titling of assets to minimize taxes.

Fees

The nuances of your situation will determine how much work is involved to create an estate plan that provides for your loved ones. This may require gathering and corralling many different documents including deeds, titles, financial statements, insurance policies and more. If you can simplify this process by coming to your first meeting prepared and decisive, it will help keep fees lower.

Most reputable attorneys do not charge for an initial consultation. They will be able to get an idea of your needs during this time and then provide you with an estimate before beginning work on the case.

Some lawyers will ask for a retainer upfront, which is a prepayment of your legal fees. This is a way for the attorney to ensure they will have the resources needed to complete your case. They will then bill you for additional hours as they progress. Hourly rates will vary from lawyer to lawyer. Some will use junior attorneys and paralegals to do some of the work on your case, which may save you money in the long run.