What Should Your Estate Planning Attorney Know?


One of the estate planning list serves that I monitor recently had a post from an attorney who had a question about a testamentary generation skipping transfer tax trust and capital gains.  He prefaced his question by acknowledging that he was “not a tax person”.  From the question, it is clear that there is a complex subject, but it is hard to believe that someone could call themselves an estate planning attorney and not have at least a basic understanding of estate, generation-skipping transfer, gift, capital gains and income taxes.

This was actually the second time in less than 3 weeks where an estate planning attorney asked what should have been a very basic estate or other tax question.

In every estate plan, there is a tax issue that may need to be solved.  If your estate planning attorney suggests that he or she does not know or understand the tax issues pertaining to estate planning, wills, trusts and estates, then it’s time to find a new one.  We routinely save our clients (and their estates) thousands, sometimes millions, of dollars in unnecessary estate, income and capital gains tax by making sure that their estate plan, or the administrative of their estate and trust, is prepared in the most tax efficient manner possible.

As I have said before, estate planning is a personal and thoughtful process requiring the skill of an experienced estate lawyer – one who understands all of the factors involved, including complex tax issues and frequently changing laws.  This is the only way to ensure that your assets are distributed to the right person, in the right way, at the right time, with the least amount of taxes and costs and with the fewest hassles possible.

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