What Does an Estate Planning Attorney Do?
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.
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National Average Salary
Estate planning attorney salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for an Estate Planning Attorney is:
Estate Planning Attorney Job Descriptions
When it comes to recruiting an estate planning attorney, having the right job description can make a big difference. Here are some real world job descriptions you can use as templates for your next opening.
[Your Company Name] is searching for an experienced estate planning attorney. We are in need of an exceptionally analytical candidate with great negotiation and organization skills who is able to work full-time. An estate planning attorney drafts documents like wills, trusts, and powers of attorneys. This position comes with a lot of responsibility and aims to reduce questions about how an estate should be handled. If you have plenty of experience working in estate planning, are a licensed attorney, and have exceptional written communication skills, please apply!
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 experience
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.
Required skills and qualifications
- 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
- Strong written and oral communication skills
- Responsive customer service
- Strong problem-solving skills
- Organizational skills
The position will involve building the existing practice and the potential of serving in a leadership role. We seek an experienced attorney who can immediately assist with significant trusts and estate/tax work and assume responsibility in this very active practice.
Responsibilities and qualifications
- Experienced estate planning lawyer with broad experience, including complex estate, tax, wealth, and business succession planning
- Primary areas include estate and tax planning, including estate planning for mid to high net worth individuals and families, income tax, transfer tax and charitable planning, as well as pass-through entity (LLCs and LPs) and business succession planning
- Drafting of both basic and sophisticated estate planning documents, including income and estate tax planning documents, irrevocable trusts, and business planning documents
- Counseling fiduciaries in estate and trust settlement and administration
Experience and skills
- Juris Doctorate
- Admission to the Tennessee Bar
- 7+ years of estate planning experience
- CPA/LLM in tax preferred, but not required
- Exhibit excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Excellent organizational, analytical skills, and attention to detail
- Must possess excellent interpersonal skills
- Demonstrated client relationship skills, including the ability to lead in-person client meetings
If you are ready to take the next step in your career, then we invite you to apply to our firm. We are selective in who we hire, and our interview process is rigorous because we value the culture we have instituted at our firm. We have cultivated a remarkable team that embraces the belief that the work we do is more than just a job, it is a way to help protect the lives of the families we serve.
- Conduct initial consultation with clients
- Identify the appropriate strategy to meet the client’s expressed objectives and make recommendations to fulfill those objectives including advising on the appropriate type of trust(s) to meet the client’s objectives
- Draft estate planning documents, including wills, distinct types of trusts, ancillary documents, etc.
- Ability to explain complex legal concepts and explain all provisions of the estate plan to the client
- Ability to self-start, meet deadlines, prioritize, manage multiple projects simultaneously, and work well with change in a fast-paced environment
- Regularly consult with clients, accountants, financial advisors, and other parties as needed to effectively move cases forward
- Cultivate relationships with the firm’s existing and future clients by maintaining consistent and timely communication
- Report on caseload at a weekly case review meeting
- Develop a client following to increase the firm’s revenues
- Preferred 3+ years of estate planning experience handling matters from inception to conclusion, including meeting with clients, developing a strategy for an estate plan, and preparing the appropriate estate plan documents to meet the client’s objectives
- Effective, clear, concise, and accurate communication, both oral and written, at an appropriate level to the situation and the client
- Working knowledge of finance, investments, and taxes
- Great ability to focus under pressure and the willingness to do what needs to be done
- Demonstrate a high degree of discretion, confidentiality, and integrity in the handling of personal client information, including following the Rules of Professional Conduct
- Have strong computer skills with extensive experience using MS Office Suite, timekeeping, and case management software
- Experience with Wealth Counsel drafting is desired
- Tax experience or CPA a plus
- A transferrable book of business is a BIG plus
Our rapidly growing client is seeking an experienced estate planning attorney to work alongside the firm partners, financial advisors, and CPAs to provide estate and business planning services to their clients.
- Drafting legal agreements
- Reviewing estate plans and other documents/agreements prepared by legal assistants
- Responding to client email inquiries and phone calls
- Assisting in the design and implementation of advanced estate planning solutions
- Assisting in the design and implementation of charitable planning solutions
- Read and interpret new tax laws and legislative updates
- Educating firm’ s financial advisors and CPAs about certain legal matters pertaining to common clients
- Attending prospective client meetings
- Licensed attorney in good standing in Texas
- Minimum of 4 years of estate planning experience
- Desire to meet with clients regularly
Estate Planning Attorney benefits
- Group Medical Insurance Plan, including $450/month allowance
- Unlimited earning potential
- 401(k) match up to 4%
- Remote opportunity
- Unlimited Paid Time Off
Candidate Certifications to Look For
- The CEP Certification. This certification offered by NICEP is one of the nation’s highest echelon educational/support organizations in the area of estate planning.
- The CTEP (the Chartered Trust and Estate Planner). This certification is offered by the Global Academy of Finance and Management. Candidates need to have met annual continuing education requirements, which may vary.
- TheAEP (Accredited Estate Planner). This certification is awarded by the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils. Candidates will need to take two graduate-level courses to qualify.
Sample Interview Questions
- How long have you been a practicing lawyer?
- Why did you go into estate planning?
- Do you have an example of going above and beyond what was required of you?
- How do you make sure to communicate clearly with clients?
- How have you helped a client create an estate plan that meets their specific needs?
- How much experience do you have drafting legal documents such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney?
- What strategies do you use to keep your clients informed about changes in estate planning law and regulations?
- Can you share a time when you helped your client to achieve a positive outcome after resolving an estate dispute?
- In order to ensure that your clients’ estate plans are flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances over time, what strategies do you employ?
- Have you ever had to consult with other professionals, such as tax advisors or financial planners, in order to ensure that your clients’ estate plans were comprehensive?
- During the estate planning process, how do you make sure your clients fully understand the legal documents and processes involved?
- In your experience, how have you helped clients minimize estate taxes and other financial considerations?
- In order to make sure each client receives the attention and support they need, how do you prioritize and manage multiple estate planning cases simultaneously?