An estate is the real and/or personal property a person possesses at death. Estate planning law involves the drafting of living wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and general estate management (when estates are not managed and someone dies without a will, his or her possessions go into probate court). Since everyone eventually will die, often with a house or other possessions, estate planning is in virtually everyone's best interests. Some estate-related procedures can be completed without an attorney (FindLaw offers state-specific, do-it-yourself, estate planning packages), depending on their complexity.
But sometimes your estate management is best handled by an experienced estate planning attorney, who can tailor your plan to your particular needs. Our Estate Planning section also provides state-specific links to living will and advance directive forms.
Terms to Know
Do You Need an Estate Planning Lawyer?
Virtually everyone may need the services of an estate planning lawyer at some point, depending on the complexity of the estate, the health of the individual, and other factors. Sometimes individuals will work with a lawyer on behalf of a relative or loved one who is no longer able to manage their own affairs. Some younger families opt to create trusts upon having children, which is similar to a will but also helps manage property before death. Some common reasons for hiring an estate planning lawyer include:
Related Practice Areas
See FindLaw's comprehensive directory of estate planning lawyers to find one near you.