The difference between estate planning and probate is quite simple. Estate planning is done in preparation of ones passing while probate is the legal process for validating your will and distributing your property after ones passing. An estate planning attorney and a probate attorney are really one in the same, simply different sections of the same practice. Let’s dig into each separately and the role an attorney would play in each service. 

Estate Planning

Estate planning is the preparation of the transfer of property in the event one’s death. Your estate is generally made up of any and everything you own down to debts, assets and personal belongings. An estate plan allows you to give direction regarding matters that cannot be done by a will alone. 

An attorney’s role in estate planning is assisting you in getting through fundamental estate planning documents including, but not limited to wills, trusts, power of attorney, health care proxy & more. You ultimately will make all decisions, but your estate lawyer will make sure you understand all options and will provide legal guidance and proper wording to ensure no mistakes are made. 


As stated above, probate is the legal process through which the deceased’s estate is distributed to beneficiaries and debt is paid off to creditors. A probate lawyer is a licensed attorney that advises the executors and beneficiaries of the estate on how to settle the final affairs of the deceased. Probate laws differ from state to state so the steps involved will depend on the deceased’s personal situation. If they resided or owned property in more than one state, the process could be more complex and take a bit longer. 

The probate process typically takes 6-9 months but can take years depending on circumstances. If you are in need of assistance with the probate of a loved one’s estate, an Estate & Probate attorney can guide you through this process and determine what route is best for you.

If you are looking to establish an estate plan or need assistance with probate, contact Emily Latiolais today.