Planning for death is widely considered unpleasant and even morbid, but let’s be real — ignoring it will only lead to problems for family and friends down the line. Having a detailed plan of what should happen to you, your possessions, and your estate is essential to reduce the stress of the people left behind.

When people talk with you about things like this, they might mention something called an “estate planner” from time to time. But what is an estate planner? Do you need to hire one? Let’s explore these topics to give you a better idea on how to plan for your future.

What is An Estate Planner?

An estate planner is a specialized lawyer trained in helping people figure out what they want to happen to their possessions after death. Closely related to elder law, they’re in charge of planning for and reducing the amount of uncertainties after their client has died.

How Can Estate Planners Help?

Duties vary depending on what a client requires, though estate planners are commonly hired to write or revise a will. In it, they will outline how to distribute a client’s property after death, as well as any other valuables or assets they own. Assigning guardianship for minors or other dependents is also possible, as it declaring power of attorney in the event the client is indisposed but otherwise alive.

They can also help a client find ways to minimize or eliminate estate taxes through strategic distribution of assets among loved ones, as well as provide general legal advice related to estate planning.

When Don’t You Need An Estate Planner?

Though having an estate planner help you with your end of life problems can be helpful, certain situations may mean you don’t need or don’t want to utilize the services of one. For example, if you plan to sell your life insurance (surrendering a policy for its cash value) to help with expenses or get some extra money, an estate planner’s services might come in a little redundant. Or perhaps you feel confident enough to write your own will with little assistance or the use of an automated program, or maybe you just lack the money to hire an estate planner.

It’s also possible you simply don’t have anything you feel is worth planning out in the event of your death, wishing for probate law to assign your possessions.

Conclusion

Hiring an estate planner can certainly help reduce the stress your loved ones feel after your death, but hiring one is not required, either. If you require professional help planning for your passing, you may wish to look into hiring one in the near future — ultimately the key is planning ahead.