How to Become an Estate Planner

Estate Planners are experienced individuals who have thorough knowledge of various financial areas such as: investments, taxes, law, savings, personal assets and property laws.

They use their wealth of information to assists individuals plan a long term strategy that focuses on the protection and transfer of their assets and wealth, sometimes planning beyond an individual’s death.

Individuals who want to become an Estate Planner will need to gain experience in the financial industry; some of these professionals also have experience in the legal industry.

These professionals may work for a large legal or financial firm or also run a private practice.

Education Requirements to Become an Estate Planner

The minimum requirement needed to become an Estate Planner is a bachelor’s degree.

However, some employers prefer to hire individuals who have a graduate degree.

In addition, individuals will need to seek a certification in order to seek job opportunities in this field.

During their undergraduate career, individuals can focus on a Finance degree or a closely related field.

Because there is growth in finance related fields, some colleges and universities have started to offer programs focusing on financial services, financial planning or estate planning.

These programs will give students the opportunity to learn detailed information in business courses, financial markets, investments and financial management.

Individuals also have the choice of attending a graduate program focusing on finance or a closely related field.

In addition to earning an undergraduate or graduate degree, individuals will also need to seek certification.

Certification is required by employers and shows proof that an individual has passed the rigorous requirements to take an exam.

The majority of individuals who want to become an Estate Planner opt to become certified as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) which is administered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

Requirements needed to take the CFP certification exam include having a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university as well as having a minimum of three years of experience in personal financial planning.

The CFP exam is a three part series that tests individuals on their knowledge of the most current tax laws.

In addition, candidates must also pass a background check and a conduct standards test.

Visit CFP Board for more information on acquiring certification.

Estate Planner Job Description

An Estate Planner is specialized in helping individuals protect their personal assets and preparing them to transfer and allocate assets upon their death.

These professionals use their knowledge in both personal finances as well law in order to help their clients draw a long term plan.

Estate planners draw upon their knowledge of finances which can include the following areas:

  • Property
  • Investments
  • Savings
  • Insurance

As well as the following legal areas:

  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Current tax laws

The thorough knowledge an Estate Planner has in these areas will be utilized to help clients protect their personal assets during a transfer or after death.

Estate Planner Salary and Career Path

Personal Finance Advisors, which is the larger branch that Estate Planners fall under, earned a median annual income of $67,520 in 2012.

This income heavily depends on a variety of circumstances including level of experience, certification and industry a professional works in.

For example, individuals working in the Financial Investment Activities can expect a median salary of approximately $83,400 per year while individuals working for Insurance carriers can expect a median salary of approximately $63,500 per year.

Exact salary will also depend on whether an individual provides their services as self-employed; there are currently no statistics or income estimations for individuals who are self-employed Estate Planners.

The job outlook for all Personal Finance Advisors, which includes Estate Planners, is expected to grow at a faster than average rate when compared to other profession.

Job opportunities for individuals who would like to become an Estate Planner or Financial Planner are expected to increase by 27 percent through the year 2022.

Individuals who would like to pursue a career as an Estate Planner can be assured that this track is one that will challenge them and provide a variety of benefits including a healthy income and a healthy job outlook.

This job is a perfect fit for those who like to work using financial topics, tax law and have a passion for working with other individuals to help them achieve their goals.

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