If you have a good accountant, you may wonder why you might need an estate planning lawyer too. While your accountant can handle many of your financial and tax planning questions, an estate planning lawyer would focus on management and distribution of your assets for the future. Having a lawyer who can coordinate efforts with your accountant could save you money, time, and stress.
What Is the Difference Between a Lawyer and an Accountant?
An estate planning lawyer prepares documents that manage and distribute your assets, both during your life and after your death. For example, you might have an estate planning lawyer write your will, create a trust, or type up a power of attorney. Also, an estate planning lawyer can offer you advice on minimizing estate and gift taxes, effectively passing on assets to heirs and beneficiaries, and choosing different estate planning structures to meet your goals.
In contrast, an accountant focuses on financial and tax matters, such as preparing your yearly tax returns. Some accountants offer financial advice or help with gift tax matters too. But accountants are not trained to help prepare wills or trusts, and some do not have experience with gift and estate taxes.
Can You Retain Both an Estate Planning Lawyer and an Accountant?
Yes, you absolutely can have both an estate planning lawyer and an accountant, and many people choose this path. You even might get a recommendation for an accountant from your lawyer or vice versa. These professionals can work together to maximize your tax breaks and minimize your potential future liability for estate and gift taxes, as well as other less common taxes such as the generation skipping transfer tax.
If you retain both a lawyer and an accountant, you should give each the other professional’s contact information. Also, be sure to communicate any changes in your tax or estate planning to both professionals. If you, for example, create a trust with your estate planning attorney, your accountant needs to know that he or she may have to file a tax return for the trust next year.
Want to start planning your estate? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430