17 Estate Planning Attorney Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from an estate planning attorney, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Estate planning is one of the most important legal services an attorney can provide. When done correctly, estate planning can ensure that your loved ones are taken care of after you die and that your assets are distributed in the way you want.

If you’re looking for an estate planning attorney job, you’ll likely need to go through a job interview. During the interview, you’ll likely be asked questions about your experience, legal knowledge, and how you would approach different estate planning scenarios.

To help you prepare for your interview, we’ve put together a list of common estate planning attorney interview questions and answers.

Are you comfortable working with clients who are grieving or upset?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your ability to empathize with clients who are going through a difficult time. They want to know that you can help them navigate the legal process while also being compassionate and understanding of their emotions. In your answer, try to show that you have experience working with grieving or upset people and that you’re able to provide support and guidance during these times.

Example: “I’ve worked with many families who were grieving or upset about losing a loved one. I understand that it’s important for me to be empathetic and supportive when they’re going through this challenging time. I always make sure to listen carefully to what they have to say and offer advice on how we can move forward with the estate planning process. I find that by listening to their concerns and offering solutions, I can help them feel more at ease.”

What are some of the most important qualities for an estate planning attorney to have?

Interviewers may ask this question to see if you possess the necessary skills and abilities for the role. They want to know that you have a passion for estate planning law, but they also want to make sure you are organized, detail-oriented and able to work well with others. In your answer, try to highlight some of these important qualities while also showing how you possess them yourself.

Example: “I think one of the most important qualities an estate planning attorney can have is patience. Estate planning often involves working with clients who are going through difficult times in their lives. I am empathetic and compassionate, so I understand that my clients need someone who will listen to them and help them navigate the legal process as best they can. Another quality I feel is essential is organization. As an estate planner, I would be responsible for managing many different documents and files. I pride myself on being highly organized.”

How do you help clients who are resistant to the idea of planning for the future?

Estate planning is often a sensitive topic for clients, and some may be hesitant to plan ahead. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the skills necessary to help your clients overcome their fears and encourage them to take action. In your answer, share how you would approach these types of situations with your client. Explain that you would use empathy and active listening to understand why they are resistant to estate planning. Then, you can explain the benefits of estate planning in a way that makes it more appealing to your client.

Example: “I find that many people resist the idea of estate planning because they don’t want to think about death or dying. I try to put myself in my clients’ shoes when they tell me this. I listen carefully to what they say and show them that I understand where they’re coming from. Then, I explain that estate planning isn’t just about preparing for death. It’s also about protecting their loved ones after they pass away.”

What is your process for helping a new client create a will?

Interviewers may ask this question to learn about your process for working with clients and how you help them achieve their goals. Use your answer to explain the steps you take when helping a client create a will, including what information you gather from them and how you use that information to develop an effective plan.

Example: “When meeting with a new client for the first time, I always start by asking them questions about their family history and current situation. This helps me understand who they want to leave their assets to and whether there are any special circumstances or considerations they need to make. From there, I provide them with several different options for creating a will, depending on their preferences. I then work with them to draft the document and ensure it is legally valid.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to help a client make a difficult decision about their assets.

This question can help the interviewer understand how you handle difficult situations and make decisions for your clients. Use examples from previous work experience to highlight your problem-solving skills, communication abilities and empathy.

Example: “In my last role as an estate planning attorney, I had a client who was in his late 80s with no children or other family members. He wanted to leave all of his assets to charity when he passed away, but he also wanted to ensure that his wife would be taken care of financially after his death. We discussed several options, including setting up a trust fund for her, and eventually decided on leaving half of his assets to charity and the other half to his wife.”

If a client came to you with a question about their will, what would your first steps be?

Interviewers may ask this question to see how you would handle a common situation in your field. They want to know that you can provide quality service and support to clients, so they might be looking for an answer that shows you are empathetic and knowledgeable about the process of creating wills.

Example: “I would first make sure I understood exactly what the client was asking me. Then, I would explain the basics of estate planning and why it’s important to have a will. If the client still had questions after my explanation, I would refer them to resources or other professionals who could help them understand more about wills.”

What would you do if you discovered that a client’s will did not match their intentions?

This question is designed to test your knowledge of wills and other estate planning documents. It also tests your ability to communicate with clients about their wishes and how you can help them achieve those wishes. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to ensure that the client’s intentions are met.

Example: “If I discovered a discrepancy between a client’s will and their stated desires, I would first try to contact my client to discuss the situation. If they were no longer available, I would speak with family members or friends who knew the client well. I would ask them if there was any reason why the client might have changed their mind. If it became clear that the client had indeed changed their mind, I would draft a new will in accordance with their updated wishes.

How well do you understand the laws related to estate planning in your state?

Interviewers may ask this question to see how familiar you are with the laws in your state. They want to know that you can apply these laws when helping clients and ensure they receive the best legal advice possible. In your answer, try to show that you have a strong understanding of estate planning laws in your state. You can also mention any other states where you’ve worked as an estate planning attorney if applicable.

Example: “I am very familiar with the laws related to estate planning in my state. I have been working as an estate planning attorney for five years now, and I have helped many clients create wills, trusts and other documents based on their unique situations. I also understand the laws regarding estate taxes in my state, which is important since it’s one of the most common reasons people hire an estate planning attorney.”

Do you have experience working with clients who have complex financial or real estate holdings?

Estate planning attorneys often work with clients who have complex financial or real estate holdings. These clients may include business owners, entrepreneurs and individuals with large estates. An interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your experience working with these types of clients. In your answer, try to share a specific example of how you helped one of these clients.

Example: “I’ve worked with many high-net-worth individuals in my previous role as an estate planning attorney. One client I had was a successful entrepreneur who owned several businesses. He wanted to ensure that his children would inherit all of his assets after he passed away. We met for several hours each month to discuss the best ways to protect his assets while ensuring his children could access them when they needed to.”

When would you recommend that a client set up a trust?

An estate planning attorney may recommend that a client set up a trust at different times in their life. This question allows you to explain your reasoning and demonstrate your knowledge of trusts.

Example: “I would recommend setting up a trust when someone has assets they want to protect from creditors or if they have minor children who need financial support after their parents pass away. I also recommend establishing a trust when the client is about to receive an inheritance, as this can help them avoid paying taxes on it. Finally, I suggest creating a trust when someone wants to ensure that their assets go to specific people after they die.”

We want to attract clients who want to plan for the long term. How would you market our firm to this type of client?

Estate planning attorneys need to be able to market their services effectively. This question helps employers understand how you would approach this task and whether your ideas align with the company’s goals. In your answer, explain what type of client you would target and why. Show that you have a plan for attracting these clients and convincing them to work with your employer.

Example: “I would focus on marketing our firm to people who are at least 50 years old. I believe that once someone reaches this age, they start thinking about long-term care planning. I would create an ad campaign that targets older adults by using images of senior citizens enjoying life. I think this will help us attract clients who want to enjoy their golden years.”

Describe your process for keeping up with changes in the law.

Interviewers may ask this question to see how you stay up-to-date on the law and whether you can apply new laws to your clients’ cases. Your answer should show that you are committed to staying informed about changes in estate planning law and have a process for doing so.

Example: “I subscribe to several newsletters and blogs that provide updates on estate planning law, which I find very helpful. In addition, I attend continuing education courses every year to learn about recent developments in the field. I also make it a point to read any relevant case decisions or legislation when they come out.”

What makes you an ideal candidate for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you feel you would be a good fit for the role. Before your interview, make sure to read through the job description so that you can refer to specific requirements or skills they are looking for in an applicant. In your answer, try to highlight any of these skills that you possess.

Example: “I am passionate about helping people plan their futures. I have always been interested in estate planning law because it allows me to help clients create a legacy for themselves while also protecting their loved ones. I think my communication skills and attention to detail make me an ideal candidate for this position.”

Which estate planning software programs are you most comfortable using?

The interviewer may ask this question to determine your comfort level with the software they use in their office. If you have experience using a specific program, share that information and explain why it’s easy for you to use. If you haven’t used any estate planning software before, mention which programs you’re familiar with and how you would learn to use them if hired.

Example: “I’ve worked with several different estate planning software programs over my career, but I’m most comfortable working with Estate Plan Pro because of its user-friendly interface. The program is very intuitive, so I can easily create wills, trusts and other documents without needing much training or assistance from others.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of estate planning?

This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you understand what estate planning entails. Your answer should include a brief description of each aspect of estate planning and how it relates to the client’s overall well-being.

Example: “I believe the most important part of estate planning is ensuring that clients have an up-to-date will, durable power of attorney and healthcare proxy. These documents ensure that their wishes are known in case they become incapacitated or pass away. I also think it’s important to educate my clients about the different types of wills available so they can make an informed decision.”

How often should a will be updated?

Estate planning attorneys must be aware of the changing laws and regulations that affect their clients. An interviewer may ask this question to see if you understand how often wills need to be updated. In your answer, explain that it depends on the client’s situation but generally every five years or so.

Example: “It really depends on the client’s situation, but I recommend updating a will every five years or so. For example, if someone has children when they make their will, then I would suggest updating it once those children are older. If there is a divorce, remarriage or other major life change, then I would also suggest updating the will.”

There is a new law that impacts your client’s will. What is your process for informing them about the change?

This question is an opportunity to show your communication skills and how you would handle a situation that could arise in the workplace. Your answer should include specific steps you would take to inform your client about the change, as well as what you would do if they were unhappy with the new law.

Example: “I would first explain why the law changed and then I would tell them exactly what it says. If there are any changes to their will based on the new law, I would make sure they understand those changes and ask if they have any questions or concerns.”


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