PROBATE AND ESTATE PLANNING PARALEGAL CAREER PATH
Law firms that handle estate planning and probate matters often need skilled paralegals. In the probate paralegal career path, you would work under the direction of an attorney helping clients through difficult periods of their lives. Estate planning paralegals help the firm’s clients plan their estates, ideally making administration smoother for clients’ loved ones.
WHAT EDUCATION AND TRAINING DO ESTATE PLANNING OR PROBATE PARALEGALS NEED?
If you want to work as an estate planning or probate assistant, you will need to have at least a basic understanding of estate planning and real estate law, as well as the probate system in your state. Paralegals who choose this path should also be strong communicators, organized and detail-oriented, and comfortable using common legal technology tools.
In order to work as a paralegal in an estate planning or probate firm, you may need to meet state-specific regulatory requirements. Completing a paralegal studies degree or obtaining certification through a program approved by the American Bar Association should provide the foundational knowledge and skills that paralegals need to succeed.
Once hired, the employing law firm or supervising attorney will typically provide some on-the-job training, covering specific duties and expectations.
WHAT ARE COMMON DUTIES OF A PARALEGAL IN AN ESTATE PLANNING OR PROBATE FIRM?
The estate planning paralegal job description and the duties of a probate paralegal are similar. Generally, they include the following tasks, all performed under the supervision of one or more licensed attorneys:
- Assisting with client intake
- Reviewing and documenting clients’ financial information
- Drafting trusts, wills and other estate planning documents
- Preparing and filing probate forms with the court
- Meeting with clients
- Reviewing creditors’ claims against a decedent’s estate
- Communicating with clients verbally and in writing
WHY CONSIDER PURSUING A PARALEGAL CAREER WORKING IN ESTATE PLANNING OR PROBATE?
Paralegals can work in a variety of roles. Sometimes people choose paralegal jobs in large corporations or firms where they will not have to interact with individual clients. If you choose to work as a wills and probate paralegal however, you will almost certainly have direct client contact. Many people are drawn to this career precisely because it offers the opportunity to help clients and make a difference in their lives.
In the case of estate planning, the paralegal can help people put their estate plans into action — something that can give clients valuable peace of mind. Probate paralegals help clients navigate unfamiliar court processes. In both careers, the act of helping people can be highly satisfying.
Of course, compensation plays an important role in any career choice. The median annual salary for all paralegals in 2019 was $51,740. The specific probate or estate planning paralegal salary may be higher or lower than this amount, depending on the size of the law firm, its geographic location, and the relative skills and experience the paralegal brings to the job.
PREPARE TO WORK AS A PARALEGAL IN AN ESTATE PLANNING OR PROBATE FIRM WITH MACCORMAC COLLEGE
Earning an associate degree in Paralegal Studies prepares prospective estate planning paralegals for the rigors of their future careers. MacCormac College’s paralegal degree program helps students understand legal terms; hone research and writing skills; identify potential ethical issues; master technology frequently used by estate planning and probate attorneys; and more.
To learn more about this two-year degree opportunity — offered on our Chicago campus and as an accredited online program — contact us today. When you are ready, you can apply online quickly and easily.