High Net Worth Estate Planning Attorney
Also known as probate attorneys or estate law attorneys, estate planning attorneys are licensed and experienced professionals possessing in-depth knowledge about the federal and state laws that impact how your estate is planned, valued, executed, and taxed. Given the enormous amount of wealth they want to pass on to their children and grandchildren, high net worth individuals find the estate planning process a little more complex than do those from lower-income groups.
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Therefore, they’re more likely to hire an estate planning attorney and a wealth manager to make the handover seamless. If this sounds like you, it might be wise to turn to Pillar Wealth Management, which specializes in high-quality wealth management services for affluent individuals with $5 million to $500 million in liquid assets. Reading our guide titled 7 Secrets to High Net Worth Investment Management, Estate, Tax, and Financial Planning should also give you a great start if your wealth exceeds $5 million.
Meanwhile, this guide will share detailed insight into high net worth estate planning attorneys. Let’s begin with your primary concern: “What does an estate planning attorney do?”
What Does an Estate Planning Attorney Do?
Here is what to expect from an estate planning attorney.
Creating a Will and Protecting Your Beneficiaries
While you can find countless will templates online, they aren’t designed to meet your unique needs. Understandably, it’s not possible to fit people’s lives, assets, and families in a standard template. Developing a handwritten will involves very specific rules that need to be followed and probate litigation is a common occurrence with them.
The process is made remarkably easier by an estate planning attorney. In fact, hiring an estate lawyer is the only way to ensure that your will encompasses everything and to reduce the likelihood of going to court.
Moreover, when it comes to allocating assets to beneficiaries, an estate planning attorney is a great resource. As a neutral third party, they’ll listen to you and ensure that your wealth is transferred exactly as you want without any bias. To learn more about how estate planning attorneys help clients develop a will, schedule a video consultation with our wealth managers.
Protecting Your Health
Another crucial role played by an estate planning attorney is ensuring that your wishes pertaining to your healthcare are handled by someone you trust. In fact, the lawyer will even help you decide who might be the best person to implement your health wishes.
Most individuals will appoint a family member, and the decision makes sense. But sometimes, a close friend who seems to be a bit removed from the situation might be better suited for the role. As a third party, your attorney can offer valuable advice on who should serve in this role.
Possess Knowledge of Federal and State Laws
Probate laws are subject to change, so taking the estate process into your own hands means you can easily miss something important, which may adversely impact your estate plan. With up-to-date information on the probate code in your state, an estate planning attorney will know whether and how any updates impact your estate planning.
Crafting Perfect Documentation
Do you want to ensure that your family won’t have to jump through hoops after your death? An experienced estate planning attorney will develop an all-encompassing estate plan with all the legal documents perfectly formulated. You can rest assured knowing that all the details will be properly laid out.
With all the documents correctly crafted by your estate planning attorney to implement your final wishes, family values and traditions, and funeral arrangements, you’ll have peace of mind that your legacy will be carried on for decades to come.
Resolving Disputes among Beneficiaries
At times, some of your loved ones won’t be satisfied with your estate plan, and there can be conflicts among the beneficiaries. Some may even want to have power of attorney when you’re still alive. An estate planning attorney can protect your interests in this situation by handling estate and probate litigation. They can also resolve disputes that may emerge among the beneficiaries after your death.
Avoiding Costly, Time-Consuming Probate
Probate refers to the court process of the transfer of the estate of a deceased to their named beneficiaries and heirs. Not only is the process extremely lengthy and expensive, but it’s also completely public. Anyone who wants to obtain legal documents such as your will can do so by going to the courthouse.
An estate planning attorney will ensure that all your assets are correctly designated, thereby helping you avoid probate entirely. Keep in mind that probate isn’t always necessary in the absence of a trust. Your estate can avoid probate if all your assets are beneficiary designated.
Also, if probate becomes inevitable despite having an estate planning lawyer, the attorney can help your loved ones prepare and navigate the legal system. If you own more than $5 million in liquid assets and are determined to avoid probate, read our guide titled 7 Secrets to High Net Worth Investment Management, Estate, Tax, and Financial Planning.
Modifying Your Estate Plan When Required
Major life events demand a change in the estate plan. For instance, a marriage, divorce, change in assets, relocation, the birth of a child, or health implications will likely demand changes in your estate plan. If you’re busy with relocation plans or have a new baby, updating your estate plan on your own is not likely to be a priority. An estate planning attorney comes to your rescue in this case too. They’ll modify your estate planning documents as per your needs. To learn more about how this works, schedule a video consultation with our wealth managers at your convenience.
Now that you have a clear understanding of what a high net worth estate planning attorney does, let’s answer the question, “How much does an estate planning attorney cost?’
How Much Does an Estate Planning Attorney Cost?
By the Hour
This is the most common way for probate lawyers to charge clients. Hourly rates for estate planning services vary from one location to another and depend on how experienced and engaged an attorney is. In urban areas, expect somewhere around $200 an hour, while in rural areas, you may need to pay around $150 per hour.
Specialists are typically more efficient than general practitioners, so it’s no wonder that they charge more. Having filed probate documentation over a hundred times in the local court, they’re able to deliver their services more quickly and appropriately.
A typical probate case mostly involves standard paperwork, so most attorneys rely on paralegals, who aren’t attorneys but are trained to prepare legal estate documents. Their work is supervised by the attorney, billing their time at a lower rate.
Percentage of the Estate
Lawyers in certain states are authorized by law to charge a pre-specified percentage of the estate in fees. These states include Arkansas, Wyoming, California, Missouri, Florida, and Iowa. Many lawyers in these states prefer this method as it pays them well for the amount of work they do. Yet, you can certainly negotiate a flat fee or an hourly rate with them.
This fee method is often considered unreasonable for several reasons. One reason is that it’s based not on the actual net value of the probate assets, but on their gross value. For instance, for a house that’s worth $400,000 with $200,000 still left on the mortgage, the attorney’s fee will be based on $400,000.
Another fact is that preparing probate documentation for an expensive home is the same as for a low-cost property. So, the vast difference between the estate planning fees for the two cases is not justified. To learn more about how this fee method works, schedule a video consultation with our wealth managers.
This is another common billing method used by estate planning attorneys. If your estate planning attorney charges a flat fee, take the time to understand what’s covered. It won’t likely include appraiser’s fees, court filing costs, or other extra costs. The fee may also be higher for complicated cases involving an estate tax return or a will contestation.
Under a flat fee, you can feel comfortable and relaxed knowing that the meter isn’t always running, as with an hourly rate. Moreover, an experienced attorney who has been doing probates for years will have developed a fair idea of how long the process takes and will stay efficient; they won’t need to maintain detailed records of how paralegals and lawyers spend their time. If you hold over $10 million in liquid assets and want to acquire a deeper understanding of how much estate planning attorneys charge, this book has some great insights to offer.
Now that you know what you should expect to pay a high net worth estate planning attorney, let’s answer the question, “At what age should you do estate planning?”
At What Age Should You Do Estate Planning?
There’s no specific age at which you should consider engaging in estate planning. Nevertheless, it’s never too early to decide what should happen to your assets if you passed away. Young individuals, in particular, procrastinate on estate planning, thinking that the major portion of their life is yet to come. Even when they have a high net worth, they’ll keep on delaying the obligation just because they haven’t yet reached a particular high age. If this sounds like you, and your wealth exceeds $5 million, you’ll find our guide titled 7 Secrets to High Net Worth Investment Management, Estate, Tax, and Financial Planning highly insightful.
If someone dies intestate, they are sending their family into a court battle to obtain access to personal property and assets. With a valid estate plan in place, this can be easily avoided.
Since you don’t know when you’ll die, it’s best to start estate planning as early as possible. You may die before your parents, so having an estate plan in place will ensure that your parents can access your assets and pay for your burial and funeral.
Your assets can simply be your bank account, personal belongings, apartment or home, any life insurance policies, or other financial accounts.
Estate planning serves as an instruction manual describing what needs to be done with the assets, property, and personal belongings of an individual who becomes incapacitated or is deceased. An estate plan thus includes the legal documents providing instructions to provide for your family’s future following your death.
If you proceed on your own, the planning process can be stressful, emotional, and overwhelming. Hiring an estate planning attorney makes your life easier by ensuring that sound estate planning decisions are made, and all your questions are properly addressed. If you’re looking for full-fledged wealth management services that cover not only estate planning but also include all other elements of financial planning like investments, tax planning, and retirement planning, contact Pillar Wealth Management, a high-profile company serving investors who have $5 million to $500 million in liquid assets. To hire a wealth manager, book a video meeting with our team at your earliest convenience.
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