Estate planning is an area of law wherein the lawyer arranges the transfer of a person’s estate. This process can occur during the person’s lifetime or after their passing. The goal of the lawyer is to minimize any taxes, both on the federal and state level, that might apply including gift, estate, income taxes, etc. and thereby maximize the amount of wealth.
According to the Legal Information Institute, an estate is “the total property, real and personal, owned by an individual prior to distribution through a trust or will.” A will or trust is a more common way that ensures an individual can dispose of their wealth.
Because our firm is focused primarily on personal injury cases, this is a type of law on which we typically do not focus. However, we would be more than happy to recommend a qualified estate planning attorney. There are many estate planners out there; but, hiring the right estate planner is crucial because there is a slew of regulations and statutes that can affect how an estate is distributed. Sometimes, it can be helpful for some people to find a firm that covers more than one area of practice. Essentially, you want to find a firm that meets your personal needs and situation.
Often, people rely on financial advisors or accountants for referrals of who would do a good job. This can be an effective means of finding a trusted estate planner. Sometimes even asking an attorney whom you’ve worked with before can be a good strategy. Once you have narrowed it down to a few qualified candidates, you can analyze the differences between them. Ask yourself some questions to help differentiate between them. For instance, is this his/her primary area of focus? How long has he/she been practicing? How are his/her reviews online? Are these reviews representative? Do you get along with the attorney? Does the attorney charge by the hour or a flat fee?
Sometimes, people ask if we can help with legal issues outside our area of focus. We focus exclusively on personal injury law; however, we would be happy to recommend a qualified estate planner to you. We understand that it can be a worrisome task to select the right attorney for you. However, when you are prepared and know what you are getting yourself into, you can make better-informed decisions.