Most clients think their wishes with regard to their Estate Planning are simple. All they want to do is to make sure their loved ones legally inherit their hard-earned assets. However, due to the complexity of the legal system, there are numerous issues that comprehensive Estate Planning should address. From making sure that a Living Trust is fully funded and will in fact avoid conservatorship and probate as advertised, to providing detailed Estate Tax planning for future generations, to protecting beneficiaries from future creditors, lawsuits, and divorce, to making sure all beneficiary designations on retirement plans and life insurance are up-to-date, proper Estate Planning requires careful consideration and a knowledgeable attorney to help navigate you through the process.
Some attorneys only “dabble” in Estate Planning which can be ineffective and even dangerous. How do know if an attorney is an expert in a particular field? One strong indication is whether the attorney is a Certified Legal Specialist by the State Bar of California.
To be eligible as a Certified Legal Specialist by the State Bar of California, an attorney must:
- have been engaged in the practice of law in the area in which certification is sought for a minimum of 25 percent of the time the attorney has spent in occupational endeavors during the previous five years
- be an active member of the State Bar of California
- pass a written six hour and fifteen minute exam (both multiple choice and essay)
- demonstrate a high level of experience in the specialty field by meeting specific task and experience requirements
- complete at least 45 hours of continuing education in the specialty field
- be favorably evaluated by nine other attorneys and judges familiar with the attorney’s work
Kyle A. Krasa is a Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law by the State Bar of California.