An estate planning attorney does many different things at various different stages of the planning process and probate process, but ultimately what an estate planning attorney does is provide peace of mind for you and your family.
An estate attorney listens
First, an estate planning attorney listens to their clients to understand the client’s situation, goals, and unique family dynamics. During the initial client meeting an estate planning attorney gets a sense of the client’s financial and family situation and what they wish to accomplish. Because every client situation is so unique it is imperative that the attorney understands the issues at work so they can suggest different options by which the client can accomplish their goals.
Your estate attorney educates you
Probably the most important function the estate planning attorney performs is that of an educator. Throughout the planning process your attorney educates you first about the issues that may arise and options for dealing with them and then later about how your estate plan will function. Since the ultimate goal is peace of mind for the client, the attorney must ensure that the client understands how their particular estate plan will operate and achieve their goals. It is important that your attorney offers an in office draft review meeting for this reason.
Your attorney drafts custom documents
After listening to and educating their client the estate planning attorney drafts custom documents to address their client’s unique situation and carry out their wishes. Usually in California this will include a revocable living trust, a will, a grant deed transferring a home into the trust, and documents addressing incapacity. It is important for your attorney to review drafts with you and make changes until your documents satisfy your goals.
After reviewing and explaining the drafts and making any requested changes, the estate planning attorney will have you come in to sign your estate planning documents. The attorney will also record your grant deed transferring any real estate into the trust. This, however is not where the relationship ends.
Your estate attorney acts as a resource and guide for future questions and changes
An estate planning attorney is a resource for their clients going forward. They will answer questions that arise about new assets, beneficiary designation forms, or how to address changes in financial or family situations. I personally always answer free of charge any questions my past clients have regarding estate planning.
Because what we are accomplishing in the process is first and foremost client peace of mind it is required that your estate planning attorney be a listener, educator, drafting attorney, and a resource for you and your family going forward. The listening and educating process may take a few hours but it is the part of the estate planning that allows you to sleep at night knowing with certainty that your assets and family will be protected once you are gone.
For a complimentary in office consultation about how to achieve this peace of mind please call my office at (855) 963-0987.