Estate Planning attorneys help clients arrange their affairs in anticipation of incapacity and/or death. Primarily this involves planning for the orderly transfer of wealth during life as well as after death, but it might also require preparation of powers of attorney, health care directives, and other planning documents. Clients may have the most modest of estates and require only simple wills, or they may require elaborate estate plans due to complex assets and liabilities, unusual family configurations, beneficiaries with specific financial needs or other special situations, or a desire to make a gift to a charity.
Estate planning attorneys make recommendations with respect to appropriate wealth transfer methods, considering the client’s unique family, wealth, and tax situation. This practice area often involves important income, estate and gift tax considerations, although increasingly there is a need for planning due to specific family circumstances, such as the presence of children from prior unions. Estate planning attorneys practice in many different environments, including as solo practitioners, in private law firms of all sizes, and in organizations such as banks, trust companies, and accounting firms. This pathway suggests courses that will help prepare students to provide effective planning in light of a client’s personal, business, and family needs.