What Does An Estate Planning Lawyer Do?

Many people are unaware of the complexities involved in safeguarding their assets and property and in ensuring that their wishes are carried out after their death. Estate planning is therefore a crucial legal service that ensures that wealth, assets and property are distributed in accordance with a deceased’s wishes. 

What is involved in estate planning?  

Estate planning is a comprehensive process that helps individuals to manage their assets while they are alive and to efficiently distribute them in accordance with their wishes upon their death. It involves working with an estate planning lawyer to create a detailed plan that addresses the specific needs of the individual involved.  Estate planning is a process that should be conducted by anybody who has caring responsibilities or who has people who depend on them. It is also important for those who would not wish for their estate to be distributed according to intestacy laws and would like to specify their own preferences.  Estate planning is not limited to listing the assets and property owned by an individual; it can be tailored to suit their exact needs. Estate planning may include details of an individual’s financial position, any debts or liabilities that would need to be repaid upon their death, directorships, business interests, investments, healthcare directives and guardianship arrangements [1].   

How an estate planning lawyer can ease this process 

Experienced and professional  

Estate planning is often an emotionally charged process. After all, nobody likes to think that there will ever be a day that their loved ones will need to cope without them. An estate planning lawyer will compassionately support their client in creating a plan that reflects their unique circumstances and wishes, and prompt them to consider all relevant factors, including family dynamics, their financial situation and their preferences.   

Legal document preparation and storage  

Estate planning lawyers will write legally binding agreements on behalf of their clients and may store these documents securely for them to ensure they will be available to family members or executors with a right to them.  These documents will very likely include a last will and testament, which is the document that outlines how their client’s assets and wealth will be distributed after their death. It will include details of everything that they own and owe and bequeath each item to family members, friends, charities or other beneficiaries of their choosing.  Estate planning lawyers may help their clients to establish a trust. This is a legal entity that holds and manages an individual’s assets for the future benefit of their designated beneficiaries. Establishing a trust can help high-earning individuals to minimize the tax burden that their dependents would otherwise be liable for, avoid probate, and ensure a smooth and efficient transfer of assets.  Estate planning lawyers can help clients implement measures to protect their wishes in declining health or an unexpected incapacity by writing a Power of Attorney [2]. This legal document allows a trusted advisor to act on behalf of the lawyer’s client in specified matters or circumstances. These may include representing their business interests when they are unable to do so, handling their finances should they become incapacitated, or specify their preferences for medical treatments and interventions should they be afflicted by particular medical conditions. 

Tax and business interest management  

Estate planning lawyers are instrumental in helping their clients minimize the tax liabilities associated with a transfer of assets. They can enact various strategies to protect their client’s estate from excessive taxation and preserve as much wealth as possible for their beneficiaries.  They can also help business owners and investors create plans that enable a smooth transfer of ownership and management to named business partners, their next of kin, or any other designated individual of their choosing. By putting these measures in place, business operations can continue unimpeded despite the passing of a critical member of the management team. 

Probate and guardianship arrangements  

Estate planning lawyers play a vital role in helping a deceased’s family navigate the complexities of the probate process. This often-lengthy process involves validating the will, settling any outstanding debts, and distributing assets in accordance with the deceased’s wishes. With the support of an estate planning lawyer, this process can be completed in an efficient and timely manner.  Estate planning lawyers will also help their clients to formalize their guardianship preferences for minor or dependent children, ensuring that they will be cared for by a trusted individual of their choosing after they pass away.  In conclusion, the role of an estate planning lawyer is complex and multifaceted, but their key role is to support their client and their family in achieving a satisfactory outcome in the event of their death. By acting as a trusted advisor, they are able to make tailored recommendations and safeguard their client’s legacy. To find out more about how an estate planning lawyer can help you to protect your assets and safeguard your family’s future, contact Lewis & Matthews, P.C. today. 


[1] https://www.cobar.org/Portals/COBAR/repository/publicdocs/Estate%20Planning_web.pdf 

[2] https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/info_center/laws/Title15/powerOfAttorney.pdf