Estate Attorneys: What Do They Do?

Look up lawyers for writing a will or estate planning on the Internet, and you’re likely to get a bit confused. There are probate lawyers, estate planning attorneys, and probate litigation lawyers. Aren’t they all the same? Not quite. Estate attorneys in a Utah legal group deals with various aspects of the law similar to other probate attorneys, but the focus of an estate attorney is primarily on helping clients build estate plans so that they can avoid headaches down the road as well as helping their families after the fact when they pass.

The primary goal of estate planning with a law firm in Utah is to make sure an estate distribution happens smoothly and without problems after a person has passed. This is done through technical legal instruments intended on detailing how things should work when the person has died and is no longer available to do so themselves. Estate lawyers use a variety of tools under Utah estate laws to make this happen for a client’s estate, including using a will, trusts, tax planning and various other documents. The result is an estate plan that works together to distribute property to beneficiaries, avoid unnecessary taxes, help define how children should be cared for if needed, and provide donations to charity if desired.

The advantage of estate attorneys in Utah County is applied local knowledge because he/she is a working expert in how probate law is applied in a given area, both at the state and federal level. The estate attorney can help clients avoid planning mistakes and pitfalls that are common when people forget to leave specific documents in place for their passing. The most common document created by law firms in Utah tends to be the will, but others can make the estate dissolution process easier still. The worst case scenario is an estate with no will at all; in these instances, the entire estate must go to the probate court with a Utah estate attorney, and the court decides who gets what, including parties who may have no family relationship with the decedent at all.

Most Utah law firms with estate attorneys can help with the following:

  • Writing a will, including its execution, witnessing and notarization
  • Preparing a revocable living trust
  • Identifying and designating beneficiaries for specific property distributions
  • Creating durable and medical durable powers of attorney
  • Helping with estate tax planning
  • Avoiding the probate court where it’s not necessary for an estate
  • Helping with the creation of trusts that can provide for property distribution outside of probate, in a private manner and at a specific time for beneficiaries (particularly useful for younger beneficiaries who might not be quite ready to manage the property early in age)

Unlike other aspects of the law, estate planning attorneys tend to have flat fee services. This can be particularly helpful for clients who simply want a straightforward package for their estate and are not interested in long-term ongoing legal support. Clients should understand, however, where there is a later issue, a new attorney will then be needed for representation. Such packages cease their legal support once complete and delivered to the client. Clients should also remember that a general estate planning attorney’s service does not guarantee probate litigation representation. In these instances, the client will need to hire a litigating attorney for trial help.

However, done well, there should be very few reasons for an estate plan to end up in a dispute and a court hearing. When the right skill is provided from a prevention perspective, most of the potential issues that trigger a probate dispute are resolved ahead of time and eliminated. This is why a well-crafted estate plan is so valuable. Your family should remember you for your actions and life, not for headaches left behind after the fact.

For a client looking to hire an estate planning attorney, it’s a smart idea to focus on one who is matched to their case type, like Weber Law Group, versus just going with any legal office associated with probate in general. Set up an initial appointment and discuss your case with our team. You may find it could be the best 30 minutes of your life in terms of how it will be remembered.