Should your Probate and Estate Planning Attorney be the Same?

Should your Probate and Estate Planning Attorney be the Same?
Mick Grant
Mick Grant

Founder and Writer

Probating is an intricate process which is time-consuming and requires a lot of legal paperwork. However, one should not confuse Will planning and Estate planning as the same thing. Estate planning includes a plethora of nuances unfound within the structure of probate. This type of planning includes strategizing how to reduce the tax-burden on the heirs. Inheritance property and assets need to be divided in an equitable manner, thus, estate planning acts as security for heirs. It ensures that the heir of the valuable asset receives it without encountering any major discrepancies along the way. 

Will Planning

Will preparation is a reasonably straightforward procedure that includes drafting a final will, along with a testament. Your will can decide who should take care of the family after you die, who should take ownership of the company if you have one, who all receive your estate and assets, and any other property-related wishes. If an attorney does his job well and formulates a Will that is brief and to the point, then the executor and the beneficiaries will not need to spend on more attorneys to solve the issues arising out of the probate process. Therefore, it is paramount that an attorney is hired during the planning of a Will. 

Estate Planning

Estate preparation/planning is an intensive procedure that includes a multitude of documentation to protect one’s properties until their death. In most instances, one of these documents is the final will and testament. It is in this way estate planning and will planning correlate with each other. Depending on an individual’s Will and wishes, one can choose to avoid probating through use of a trust. Will-makers create Wills to distribute their property. Whereas, creation of a Will is one of the many things which come under the periphery of estate planning. 

Your personal representative (sometimes your estate-planning attorney) who has the financial power of attorney can handle transactions and business decisions. This paper helps protect your properties and keeps your families financially stable. 

Holistic Overview of the Differences

Estate Planning and the formulation of a Living Will, while correlated, represent two different processes. Estate planning includes the various operations related to one’s estate and assets and/or company. It is inclusive of inheritance and federal taxes and income taxes surrounding estate money. In addition to the before mentioned, an estate-attorney concerns himself with your finances in general. He/she could possibly also help in deciding what to do with your assets in the event of your death. Furthermore, attorneys can help a client avoid the probate process all together. 

On the other hand, the formulation of a living Will is mainly concerned with inheritance and probate processes. Probate processes concern themselves with documents like the Will and the designated beneficiaries of a Will. An attorney who acts as advisory for the executor at the time of executing the Will is responsible for ensuring equitable administration of the assets. A probate lawyer can help you create an estate plan, however, his main expertise will be in the field of probate laws. Therefore, all his/her advice will be primarily related to smoothening the probate process.  

Attorneys and Trusts 

Trusts involve the use of testamentary statements and a Will. In a way, the maximum utility of a trust reveals itself when probate is avoided. Attorneys are highly dependable in such situations. An estate planning attorney can aid in figuring out which beneficiary should get what part of your asset. In fact, they can introduce you to trusts, which are a facet of estate planning. Estates that exceed a certain threshold have to be probated. This rule does not apply to those which are under that threshold. Hence, individuals can avoid being probated altogether by using trusts. Such trusts are known as living revocable trusts. 

Legal Expenses: Probate Attorneys and Estate-Attorneys.

The fact that attorneys can help in establishing living revocable trusts, whether they are probate lawyers or otherwise, therefore, means that there are very high similarities between the two types of lawyers. It is a highly expensive affair. The legal fees, especially the attorney fees, make probating a very confusing process. Thus, it is not a stretch to claim that probate lawyers can advise a client to opt for a trust if they wish to avoid probate. A probate attorney who decides how your finances will be administered in the event of your death is very useful. Probate lawyers specialise in crafting Wills. In estate planning, at one point or another, division of assets will be decided by way of a testamentary Will.  

In addition to the before mentioned, a probate lawyer advising you in estate planning will make the overall process simpler. Vice versa, an estate planning involving a probate lawyer will have the same effect. Probate lawyers help you create a Will that is concise and delivers precise instructions as to the administration of estate. 

Final Thoughts: Should You Hire the Same?

An estate attorney will primarily concern himself/herself with your financial status. A probate attorney consults you as to how to formulate an airtight Will, absent of faults. The only consideration left to take in is the legal expenses. When one consults one attorney, it becomes a high expense due to the legal fees. Hiring two for a procedure which is in various instances similar, will become a highly expensive affair which will drain more finances. Families who cannot afford two attorneys should consider going with an Attorney who can help avoid probate. Families who can afford both types of attorneys can develop a highly defensible financial position, as well as administer their finances efficiently to their heirs. 

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