So, you’re thinking about becoming a paralegal. Something probably happened in your life to make you want to pursue this career path. Maybe you know someone who works in a government or legal position and you have a genuine interest in wanting to work in the field as well. Or perhaps you’ve found yourself tangled with the court system before. You know what it’s like to have the government control your every move through programs like house arrest or incarceration. Maybe you’ve been introduced to the field of civil law and you realize you have more than a few good reasons to study and learn about court processes used in civil law cases.
No matter your reason for wanting to be a paralegal, what you need to ask yourself is ‘have you ever heard of a career path that leads to becoming an estate planning paralegal?’ If you want to become an in-demand paralegal who has a unique set of skills, then make sure you study estate planning law.
What Does an Estate Planning Paralegal Do?
Laws pertaining to estate planning dictate how someone’s property is distributed after death. Estate planning paralegals spend their time drafting living wills, meeting with clients to establish powers of attorney, and facilitating the communication and paperwork that occurs when someone dies.
There are a few key terms that an estate planning paralegal should be familiar with, such as intestate, probate, real property, inheritance, trusts, wills, and living wills. Once you fully understand these terms and the laws applicable to them, they become much easier to use in the court of law.
A career as an estate-planning paralegal will oftentimes overlap with other areas of law like real estate, elder law, and family law. The estate planning paralegal plays a crucial role in communicating with all parties involved in the case. Estate planning paralegals are many times found working in the probate court as well. Their duties will usually include establishing and maintaining contact with clients and assessing their financial situations. Other duties include preparing documents, filling out probate forms, collecting and liquidating assets of the deceased, reviewing creditor’s claims, and doing estate tax returns.
It’s important to understand that as an estate-planning paralegal, you will most times be the go-to source for communication between clients and the entities involved in their cases. And not only will you communicate verbally, but you will also communicate in person.
How to Become an Estate Planning Paralegal?
Successful paralegals these days have a degree or certificate in paralegal studies. These credentials can be earned in anywhere from six to 24+ months. Those wanting to become an estate planning paralegal should ask teachers and professors about courses in estate planning. There are lots of courses available.
In addition to studying estate planning, your career will greatly benefit if you take on an internship at a firm that specializes in estate planning. The internship will provide a ton of insight relating to your potential career path. And just because you’re doing an internship doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not getting paid. A lot of internships come with a decent salary.
Baby boomers are part of an expanding age population, and as the population gets bigger, there becomes a greater need for the services provided by estate planning attorneys. This means right now is the perfect time to become an estate planning paralegal. You’ll enjoy good job stability, a nice salary in return for first-rate services, and a career that isn’t boring (imagine the chaos of distributing someone’s assets when multiple people think they own them … things can get intense). Is an estate planning paralegal a career that sounds like a good fit for you?