Where Should You Go to Do Your Estate Planning?

Author: AB Staff

Where Should You Go to Do Your Estate Planning?

Editor Pick 2 Purpose

Estate Planning is often misunderstood. Questions often arise regarding “where.” First, where should you go to do your Estate Planning? The answer is simple, an attorney who focuses their practice in Estate Planning (or the related areas of Estate Planning, Elder Law, and Taxation). Estate Planning is far too intricate to rely on a general practitioner. You certainly don’t want to rely on an attorney who does multiple practice areas like patent law, corporate law, and personal injury law. Next, Estate Planning laws and strategies change frequently, so you want an attorney who stays current on the latest developments. The minimum requirement for Continuing Legal Education (“CLE”) in many states is 12 hours per year and is 14 hours over 2 years in New York. In fact, some states have no CLE requirement whatsoever. On the other hand, some organizations or certifications require more than the typical CLE and require it to be focused in Estate Planning or related fields. For example, the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys requires 36 hours of CLE focused in Estate Planning and related fields of Elder Law and Taxation. Only an attorney focused on Estate Planning has the know-how you need to achieve your goals.

Some people think they are saving money by using software or forms they find online. However, they don’t know everything the attorney has learned by focusing their practice in Estate Planning. For example, do you know the difference between a “per stirpes” and a “per capita” distribution or when a Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax applies? There are numerous pitfalls which lie in wait for the unwary attempting to draft their own Estate Plan. If you needed brain surgery, you wouldn’t go to your general practitioner to do it, nor would you attempt to do it on yourself. Similarly, you shouldn’t try to do your own Estate Planning.

The other question related to “where” is what do you do when you move from one location to another. Typically, you should review your Estate Plan periodically for changes in your circumstances, assets, and goals. However, if you move from one state to another, you’d need to review your plan in that new state as soon as you move. Many of the laws could be different from one state to another. This is the case even if you’ve only moved across the state line. For example, your new state might have community property whereas your old state did not. There could be differences in a whole host of other laws, as well. So, when you move, you need to review your Estate Plan with a qualified Estate Planning attorney in your new state.

Mr. Khalsa has been in private practice in New York since 1974. Over the years, his areas of practice have included business and commercial matters, the rights of the disabled and those with special needs, nonprofit organizations and education law, in addition to a wide range of estate planning specialties, including: Living Trusts, Asset Protection, Charitable Trusts, Family Limited Partnerships, Business Succession Planning, and trusts for children with special needs. He is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys. He is a past president of the Sikh Lawyers Bar Association and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Asian American Bar Association. Mr. Khalsa has been an arbitrator in the New York City courts and was nominated for the position of Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York. He is admitted to practice Law in Colorado and New York, the U.S. District Courts in both states and the U.S. Supreme Court. He has served as an aide to the late United States Senator John Sparkman. Schedule a call with S.J Khalsa