Our Probate Attorney Explains The Perils of Probate
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.” If you don’t have a trust and your estate is larger than $150,000, then your heirs can count on the certainty of Probate too. This is where a probate attorney comes into play.
Probate is a court supervised process necessary to transfer assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries when a person dies without a trust. Because probate can be a lengthy and laborious process that can take anywhere from nine months to over a year to complete, it should be avoided. The only way to avoid probate, without giving away rights to your property while you are still living, is by creating a trust. Even the existence of a will cannot circumvent Probate.
During the Probate administration, beneficiaries have limited access to the assets, which poses problems when beneficiaries cannot afford to pay the decedent’s mortgage or other expenses, but have no authority to sell the assets either. A probate court must review all assets and cannot distribute them until the conclusion of the matter. Trusts offer an easy solution since a decedent’s assets held in a trust can be immediately sold or conveyed upon the testator’s death without court approval.
Sparing the expense of preparing a trust will only result in a higher cost to the estate in the future. Generally, the cost of a probate will exceed the cost of managing and distributing comparable assets held in a trust. Additionally, probate lawyer fees are fixed by statute, unlike the cost of an attorney to prepare a trust, which can be negotiated
Dana M. Heyde is a contributing blogger for NAWBO-OC. Please read the rest of her blog here.