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How Do I Become an Estate Planner?

Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 13 March 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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To become an estate planner, you typically will need to earn a college undergraduate degree, at minimum. Though it is not mandatory for many jobs, you also may find that earning a graduate degree will help inspire client or employer confidence. In addition, there are some situations in which you may need or want professional licensing or certification, such as when you will become a lawyer or certified public accountant (CPA) as part of your estate planning career plans. Once you have earned a degree and obtained any desired licensing or certification, you can then take on estate planning clients or seek employment in this field.

As far as education is concerned, you typically will need a college degree to become an estate planner. In most cases, a degree in a finance-related major will provide good preparation as you work to become an estate planner. While having an undergraduate degree is usually considered appropriate for this career, seeking an advanced degree in one of these fields may improve your chances for success. A degree in law is usually acceptable, as well.

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You also may seek professional licensing or certification to become an estate planner, but this usually comes into play when you have decided to become an accountant or lawyer and then add estate planning to your resume. For example, you may choose to become a certified public accountant (CPA) and then go on to become an estate planner. Likewise, if you want to become an estate planner who also is a lawyer, then you will have to obtain a license to practice law in your jurisdiction.

Becoming certified as an estate planner may not be required for every available position, but certification can help you to compete against other job applicants. To become certified in this field, you typically will have to complete an accredited estate planner certification program as your first step in this process. Such programs often last for several months. Once you have completed the program, you will typically have to pass an exam or two to obtain certification.

The courses you will take when you want to obtain estate planning certification will usually depend on the organization with which you enroll. In most cases, these courses will include such topics as gifts, wills, trusts and the transfer of wealth. Study topics will likely cover taxes, advanced medical directives and asset protection. In addition, the program you choose to pursue also may cover the law as it pertains to estate planning, ethics and common concerns of estate planning clients.

With your degree and certification in hand, you can seek clients as an estate planner. This may involve preparing an office, securing a business license and finding ways to market your services. You also may choose to seek employment as an estate planner by searching for jobs in the classified section of local newspapers or perusing online job boards.

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