Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law

What is Estate Planning law? This area governs the laws, procedures and practices associated with planning for one’s estate in the event that he/she becomes incapacitated and for when he/she is deceased. It encompasses the roles and activities of Executors and Administrators; creation and administration of Wills and Last Testaments; Trusts and Living Trusts; Probate; Medical Powers of Attorney, DNR Orders and Advance Directives; associated tax issues; and various other related topics.

The laws governing most of these areas are created primarily on the state level and therefore vary greatly. The Uniform Probate Code (UPC) has sought to clarify, unify and modernize these laws throughout all the U.S states and D.C., but to date, only about 30% have completely adopted the Code, while some of the remaining state have only implemented parts of it. Estate related tax issues, such as gift tax laws and federal estate tax, and various college savings plans are regulated by federal as well as state laws.

The Estate Planning Center on provides in depth coverage of estate planning law, with detailed definitions and links to various resources. In addition to the topics referenced above, our Estate Planning Center also offers resources, infomraiton and links covering the Fundamentals of Estate Planning; Types of Wills and Testaments; Types of Trusts; Property That Does Not Pass Via a Will; and Other Estate Planning Issues.


Articles on Related to Estate Planning and Trust Law

  • Resolving Disputes with Contractors in California
    Construction law in California can be quite complex, and it is important to understand the best strategies for resolving disputes with contractors.
  • 4 Things Self-Managing Owners with Hawaii Vacation Rental Properties Should Do to Comply with New Law
    Hawaii amended its Transient Accommodations Tax Law in July 2015. Effective January 1, 2016, vacation rental properties in Hawaii are subject to new requirements. Here are four things owner-operators should do to be prepared for the new law.
  • Homeowners Association Disputes
    Homeowners associations are common in many areas and various types of development. The homeowners association, or “HOA,” is the governing body of the subdivision or complex. However, there are times when individual or multiple homeowners have a legal dispute with the HOA. Several options may be available to help resolve such disputes.
  • Leaving Your Things to Friends After Your Death
    When considering your final affairs, you may find there are things that you would like to pass to people outside of your immediate family. In fact, maybe you want to leave everything to people outside of your family. Whatever the case, you will need to know how to direct the distribution of your assets in accordance with your wishes.
  • Neighbor’s Right to Build
    When purchasing real estate, many people look to their views to determine if they want to purchase the property. Better views often translate to more valuable pieces of property. However, in some cases, a neighbor may be able to block a view or otherwise exercise his or her own legal rights in order to build something on his or her property that may interfere with the other property owners’ privileges.
  • What Advantages Do Living Trusts Provide?
    Many people think that trusts are only useful for the wealthy, but this is not the case.
  • When Guests Overstay Their Welcome, How Can You Get Them Out of Your Apartment?
    It happens to most of us at some point or another: a house guest comes to stay for a while, but ends up freeloading far longer than expected. When this happens, what can you do to get your pesky house guest to leave? Does the law offer any solutions?
  • What Can I do if my Neighbor is Causing Water Damage to My Property?
    Neighbor disputes can crop up due to a number of issues, but water damage issues due to the landscape of a neighbor’s property or naturally-occurring condition are some of the most common. The respective rights of each property owner depends on the specific circumstances involved in the case and local and state laws that address the subject.
  • What Are My Rights as an Executor and Beneficiary?
    Executors and beneficiaries to a will each have rights and responsibilities as promulgated under state law. Both have important roles in the probate process and mechanisms to ensure that their rights are considered by the court.
  • Creating a Living Will
    Creating a living will can help bring peace of mind for you and your loved ones. It explains in writing what kind of medical care you want and when you want those efforts to cease during an event where you cannot speak for yourself. This can help to prevent disputes among family members, prevent unnecessary legal battles, and preserve your estate for the benefit of your beneficiaries (rather than spending it on your medical treatment).
  • All Estate Planning and Trust Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Estate Planning including: estate and trust, inheritance law, personal property, probate, wills.

Estate Planning and Trust Law - US

  • ABA - Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section

    The Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section is a leading national forum for lawyers, and currently has over 30,000 members. The Real Property Division focuses on legal aspects of property use, ownership, development, transfer, regulation, financing, taxation and disposal. The Trust and Estate Division focuses on all aspects of trusts, estate planning, employee benefits, insurance, and probate and trust litigation.

  • Elder Law Answers - Estate Planning

    The knowledge that we will eventually die is one of the things that seems to distinguish humans from other living beings. At the same time, no one likes to dwell on the prospect of his or her own death. But if you postpone planning for your demise until it is too late, you run the risk that your intended beneficiaries -- those you love the most -- may not receive what you would want them to receive whether due to extra administration costs, unnecessary taxes or squabbling among your heirs.

  • Federal Inheritance Tax

    Depending on where you live the tax code may make reference to inheritance tax, estate tax, and even "death duty." Here in the United States, there is a difference between estate taxes and inheritance taxes. Estate taxes are levied on representatives of the deceased person, while inheritance taxes are levied on the beneficiaries of an estate. Elsewhere in the world, the terms estate tax and inheritance tax are used interchangeably.

  • IRS - Estate and Gift Taxes

    The Estate Tax is a tax on your right to transfer property at your death. It consists of an accounting of everything you own or have certain interests in at the date of death. The fair market value of these items is used, not necessarily what you paid for them or what their values were when you acquired them. The total of all of these items is your "Gross Estate." The includible property may consist of cash and securities, real estate, insurance, trusts, annuities, business interests and other assets.

Organizations Related to Estate Planning and Trust Law

  • American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys

    The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys is an exclusive, membership organization serving the needs of attorneys and law firms nationwide. Academy members focus on one or more of the following areas: estate planning, elder law, post-mortem services and financial services. Members are equipped with the legal research and education it takes to serve consumers with the highest quality advice and documents.

  • American Association of Trusts, Estates and Elder Law Attorneys

    The American Association of Trusts, Estates and Elder Law Attorneys (AATEELA) is an invitation-only, professional association of estate planning and elder law attorneys from across the United States. Members are selected on the basis of their professional reputation, ability and creativity in the fields of trusts, estates and elder law. Each has made substantial contributions to these fields through lecturing, writing, and continuing education instruction.

  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

    The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) is a nonprofit association of lawyers established in 1949. Its members are elected to the College by demonstrating the highest level of integrity, commitment to the profession, competence and experience as trust and estate counselors. All ACTEC members have made substantial contributions to the field of trusts and estates law through writing, teaching and bar leadership activities.

  • National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys

    The National Network is a cooperative alliance of nationally recognized estate planning attorneys from across the country. Together they provide one another with the support and tools needed to serve their clients better while building highly successful and rewarding practices.

  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners

    The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) is a unique professional body providing members with a local, national and international learning and business network. STEP provides education, training, representation and networking for its members, who are professionals specialising in trusts and estates, executorship, administration and related taxes. Members advise clients on the broad business of the management of personal finance. Full members of STEP are the most experienced and senior practitioners in the field of trusts and estates.

Publications Related to Estate Planning and Trust Law

  • ABA - Estate Planning FAQs

    The Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section provides a wealth of practice information. Whether you’re looking for RPTE Section news, law specialty issues and cases, or news-and-feature articles, we strive to meet your educational and informational needs!

  • Oxford Journals - Trust and Trustees

    Trusts & Trustees is the leading international journal on trust law and practice. The most significant source of information in its field, the journal is essential for all trusts practitioners and lawyers,

  • Trusts and Estates

    Trusts & Estates is the town center where experts who serve the ultra-wealthy's planning needs gather to gain insight into their specialties and to learn about related professions. This community includes attorneys, fiduciaries, accountants, investment advisors, charitable giving specialists, family office executives, insurance agents and valuation experts.

Find a Local Lawyer