What do you like about trusts and estates work?

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What do you like about trusts and estates work?

Postby ceherep » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:28 pm

A position has been posted for a trusts and estates. I'm considering applying. I have no experience doing that sort of work, but dislike the regulatory work I do now. What do you like/dislike about trusts and estates work? What's the work like? Hope to hear from a few T&E attorneys. Thanks.


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Re: What do you like about trusts and estates work?

Postby 1styearlateral » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:44 pm

Haven't really done anything myself, although my firm does have a T&E practice, but it seems easy enough. If you can get hooked up with a profitable financial planning firm, you can make bank and work some of the easiest hours known to man.

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Re: What do you like about trusts and estates work?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 07, 2016 7:07 am

At a big firm, half the work is tax (mostly transfer taxes and private foundation excise taxes), and it is the hardest work at the firm next to pure tax, but the most manageable hours (including pure tax, as those guys are too closely linked to corporate to have a total lifestyle practice, although still much better obv). Those two things are part of why people like it. If you like puzzles and being puzzled, it is for you. You also need more people skills than other practices, and you will get way more responsibility and client contact early on. Some people also like having a window into the weird lives of the rich and famous.

At some but not all firms, you will also do prenups and/or be involved in fiduciary litigation, so there can be an adversarial piece to it (which a lot of T&E lawyers hate).

Exit opps seem a little more limited, so ideally you do have to like the work (and be okay, long term, with the fact that it's still not exactly a 9-5, there are still fire drills, etc.). AFAIK you can go to a smaller firm (better hours, less money, less interesting work), a family office, or a trust company or financial institution (not even sure what they do, other than help the institution review and administer trusts as trustee I guess).

At a small firm, I dunno dude, just don't take on things that are above your head and don't fuck anything up. My guess is that a lot of small T&E shops have to be volume businesses because they charge so little, which means there is probably a lot of pressure to get through things quickly, not custom draft, not research, not understand the tax laws behind certain provisions, apparently not proofread, etc. I just don't see how you can meet most clients' needs that way. Most people have a wrinkle in their situation. But I'm sure there are some well run shops that are a good fit for most of their clients.

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