Attorneys like their jargon. Well, we certainly like things to be simple. But no matter how simple you want to stay, things become difficult when you are trying to name something for a specific reason. The same thing can be sadly true for real estate attorneys and estate planning attorneys.
Most people use the two names as synonyms of each other, and hence, only a few know that they hold any differences. In fact, the difference between the two hardly matters as their law practice area is the same.
Before we can start with the differences, I will give a small explanation about the real estate attorney and estate planning attorney to ensure that everyone here is on the same page.
What Is a Real Estate Attorney?
Many states require the presence of lawyers at the time of closing. It is something that is mandatory to ensure everything goes as planned. A real estate lawyer will take your interest into consideration and ensure that you get a better deal.
A Real Estate Attorney reviews the legal document of the real estate property in advance and advises the owner to prepare for any problem that might arise in the future.
Real estate attorneys handle real estate property transactions. Most people do not visit the court; instead, they help the real estate attorney deal with all the legal documentation process. In addition to that, a real estate attorney helped the owner seal the deal at the time of closing.
A real estate attorney sometimes handles additional jobs that include searching for the titles and ensuring no outstanding financial claims. They sometimes also handle the transfer of the fund.
What Is An Estate Planning Attorney?
An estate planning attorney is all about managing the property in place of the real owner. This ensures that all the legal documentation of the property is up to date. Most people seek an estate planning attorney before they are incapacitated.
When a person creates a will, they receive assistance from an estate planning attorney to better understand the state’s laws and leave an heir for the property. They sometimes become executors of the will to look after the distribution process.
Estate planning attorneys are also known as estate law attorneys. They are experienced with real estate laws and have a thorough understanding of how the laws perform. The main job of an estate planning attorney is to educate their client about the real estate laws and advise them with the estate planning.
Their job roles might be as follows.
- Creating a Will.
- Designating a beneficiary.
- Establishing a durable power of attorney.
- Finding ways to mitigate estate taxes.
Real Estate Attorney Vs. Estate Planning Attorney: What’re The Differences?
You can consider the real estate attorney and estate planning attorney as the two sides of the same coin. The only difference is that real estate planning focuses on estate management when the owner is alive. On the other hand, an estate planning attorney helps the property owner plan for what will happen to their property after they are dead.
There is only a thin layer of differences between the two. Here we have enumerated the points where you can clearly see that thin layer of differences.
1. Job Roles
Despite practicing the law, real estate attorneys and estate planning attorneys follow more micro niche laws.
A real estate attorney is more about buying, selling, and closing a real estate property. Hence, their main focus is proper document management, keeping track of the real estate transactions, and ensuring that every issue is resolved before the Closing.
On the other hand, estate planning is all about planning your property and deciding its fate once you are not around anymore. An estate planning attorney mostly focuses on planning the property after the owner is dead.
The bottom line is that a real estate attorney deals with the legal aspect of the property when the owner is alive. An estate planning attorney helps the owner create Will and plan the property for the owner’s descendants.
2. The Time Your Need
If you are planning to create a will, you would never go to a real estate attorney. In the same way, if you want to purchase and sell a real estate property, you will not turn towards a lawyer specializing in creating Will.
The needs of two attorneys are different, and so does the situation when you need them. In the case of a real estate attorney, you will mostly need their assistance with the legal document filing and as a witness of the real estate transaction.
In the case of an estate planning attorney, one needs them when they are on their deathbed and want to plan for a fair property distribution among their children.
3. Fees Structure
Perhaps fee structures are the only factors that show a significant difference between the two. When we talk about real estate attorneys, their fee structure varies depending on the extent of need. Some charge hourly rates, while some charge flat fees based on the extent of their job.
On the other hand, estate planning attorneys mostly charge flat fees with some additional charges that come with Will modification. But there are some rare cases where people do hire estate planning attorneys to maintain the estates.
Normally speaking, there is no difference between the real estate attorney and the estate planning attorney. If you really want to hand on the differences, you can say that they each cover the different phases of estate planning.
That said, you can divide the estate work into planning and administration. Planning, as the name suggests, is a process where you manage your property for the future.
Whereas the second phase of the estate work – administration, focuses more on the probate process and distributing the property equally among the owner’s children.