When you come to the realization that it is time to either create or update your estate plan, you are inevitably going to start doing some research into the subject. When you do you will see the term probate tossed around constantly, and indeed, estate planning is part of the work of a probate lawyer. Probate is the process by which an estate is administered, and probate attorneys make sure that their clients’ estates get through probate efficiently and effectively. But this is only one aspect of probate law.
Probate lawyers also assist people with every aspect of elder law, and this is a relatively new specialty that is growing by leaps and bounds as the “baby boomers” are reaching their golden years. Probate attorneys work with their clients to draw up their wills, and this can include living wills that express their medical preferences as well as standard wills that contain property division terms. Perhaps ironically, probate attorneys also devise estate planning strategies that help people avoid probate, and these would include trusts and joint ownerships.
Many probate lawyers take a holistic approach to elder law and provide financial planning advice that takes every eventuality into account, from Medicaid planning to nursing home law all the way through to inheritance planning. So it is true that probate lawyers actively participate in the machinations of the probate or surrogate court proceedings if the estate goes through probate, but they routinely handle many other attenuate matters as well.
As you enter your twilight years you have a new set of circumstances to consider, and it is important to take a pragmatic approach and prepare yourself for the realities of aging. Probate lawyers help people to do just that, working with their clients to make sure that their wishes are actualized as they enter into the advanced phases of life.