Estate Planning Attorney

Job Description

People use Estate Planning Attorneys to help them plan for how their assets will be distributed after they die. To do this, an Estate Planning Attorney drafts documents like wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. These documents can reduce or even eliminate any questions about how an estate should be dispensed.

Though drafting documents is a large part of an Estate Planning Attorney’s job, they can also advise clients about charitable contributions, retirement plans, and life insurance policies. They also collaborate with financial managers and insurance professionals, so teamwork and communication skills are essential. If a case goes to probate court, Estate Planning Attorneys take part in litigating those cases.

Typical Duties and Responsibilities

  • Discuss plans with clients for distributing clients’ assets
  • Draft and file wills, trusts and powers of attorney
  • Advise clients regarding retirement plans, charitable giving, and insurance options
  • Litigate cases that go to probate court

Education and Background

This position requires a Juris Doctorate as well as a license to practice law in the state where the candidate will work.

A background in finance, accounting, or tax law is preferred.

Skills and Competencies

  • Expertise in written and verbal communication
  • Knowledge of federal and state laws and regulations regarding taxes, wills, trusts, and estates
  • Research skills
  • Analytical thinking
  • Negotiation skills

Compensation

According to Payscale the median annual salary of an Estate Planning Attorney with

1 Year of Experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $52,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $59,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $47,000
  • Miami, Florida: $50,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $57,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $66,000
  • Houston, Texas: $70,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $73,000
  • New York City, New York: $71,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $65,000
  • Overall: $59,000

5 Years of Experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $60,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $66,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $67,000
  • Miami, Florida: $75,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $60,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $80,000
  • Houston, Texas: $80,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $81,000
  • New York City, New York: $77,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $80,000
  • Overall: $75,000

Similar Job Titles

  • Trusts and Estates Attorney
  • Estate Law Attorney
  • Probate Attorney

Career Path

Estate Planning Attorneys are required to have a Juris Doctorate as well as a license to practice law in the state where they will work. A bachelor’s degree is necessary to pursue a J.D. degree. In college, candidates should take courses in subjects like finance, accounting, taxation, and the like.

Most attorneys start in law firms as associates, then progress on either a partner or non-partner track, leading to positions as partners, senior attorneys, or of counsel.

Position Trends

There are some significant trends concerning estate planning in the coming years. First, people increasingly put off using Estate Planning Attorneys during uncertain economic times. Second, there has been a rise in the use of legal technology companies and prepaid legal services for estate planning. Rather than using an attorney to draw up wills, trusts, and powers of attorney, people are turning to companies that offer pre-drafted documents that only require them to fill in their specific details as a way of saving money on estate planning. However, the rapidly increasing size of the retirement-age population in the U.S. suggests there will still be a sustained need for Estate Planning Attorneys.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for attorneys is expected to grow by six percent between 2018 and 2028, which is an average growth rate.

Typical Hours

The work hours in an office setting for an Estate Planning Attorney are usually from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, many attorneys work more than 40 hours a week, especially when nearing deadlines or preparing for court proceedings.

Where You Can Find Jobs

  • 4 Corner Resources
  • Career Builder
  • Glassdoor
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Monster 
  • Law Jobs
  • Law Crossing

Are You Interested in Becoming an Estate Planning Attorney?

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