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 HG.org 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.

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Articles on HG.org Related to Estate Planning and Trust Law

  • Why All Parents Need a Will
    When you’re young and healthy, creating a will isn’t something that is high on your to do list, but it should be. You’re a responsible parent and you only want what is best for your children. You’ve already made sure that your child has the safest crib, stroller, and car seat. Now it’s time that you do a little more to protect your family and their future: create your will.
  • Home Equity Lost Because Seller/Mortgager Misclassified the Type of Home
    There are various complications that may arise when attempting to acquire or secure home equity in a sale or purchase based on the actions of the buyer or seller. When this occurs, it is important to understand what occurred, how to proceed and if a lawyer’s assistance is necessary to seek a resolution for the problem.
  • Evictions Based on Matters Other than Non-Payment
    There are additional matters that could lead to eviction other than non-payment of rent, and these issues could cause the tenant to lose out on other opportunities. When eviction is possible, the landlord or property manager usually contacts the tenant in advance, and if necessary, law enforcement officers are available to ensure litigation matters are mitigated or eliminated.
  • Top 12 Reasons Why You Need an Estate Plan
    Many people think estate planning isn’t for them, but the reality is that estate planning is for everyone. No matter how young you are or how little you own, everyone can benefit from an estate plan.
  • Insurance Companies Taken to Task Over Handling of California Wildfires
    Thousands of people have been affected by the California wildfires and must face the stressful task of putting their lives back together. Some have lost loved ones, others have had their homes destroyed, while still others have faced the uncertainty of being evacuated and not knowing what they would return home to find.
  • Government Accountability Office Recommends Leasing Practice for Foreign-Owned Real Estate
    Real estate in other countries that is owned by citizens both in and from the United States is affected by taxation and other situations such as leasing practices and behavior. The Government Services Administration has proposed processes to ensure these practices are overseen and there is accountability in place for possible problems.
  • Deducting Real Estate Losses against Other Income When Preparing Taxes
    Reducing and eliminating additional fees, expenses and taxes is important when someone owns property, has invested in real estate and is involved in similar situations. When preparing taxes, the individual may deduct real estate losses depending on what they are, how much and if they’ve already been counted for another situation.
  • Backing Out of a Real Estate Deal
    When the buyer or seller is faced with certain circumstances, it is necessary that the deal is rescinded and the buyer or seller backs out of the deal. However, doing so is complicated unless there are certain provisions or if no paperwork has been signed for the arrangements to proceed to escrow, and then it is important all parties are aware of the conclusion.
  • Notice Related to Tenant Evictions and Other Matters
    Eviction notices and the full process usually depend greatly on the state due to the process favoring either the tenant or the landlord in the location. However, when a tenant has either not paid rent for long enough or has caused another complication, it is vital that the landlord follows the correct process to ensure the person renting is removed legally.
  • What Is an Estoppel Letter in a Real Estate Contract?
    When someone is properly performing due diligence in real estate deals before a contract is signed, an estoppel may be discovered at some point. Understanding what this procedure is and how it affects property deals and arrangements is important to ensure a real estate contract and conditions are taken care of appropriately.
  • 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.




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