Much of the population do not know that the probate process can make handling
a loved one’s estate even more stressful and time consuming, not
to mention the high cost of the process. There are risks when it comes
to probate, and they should scare you. There are other options besides
probate, and choosing to avoid it may be the best thing for you and your
loved ones. Know the facts before making a decision that will affect the
future of your family.
Sky Rocketing Fees
The probate process is expensive and court fees are on the rise. Local
courts are suffering and are seeking funding from every angle. Probate
filing fees vary by state, but in California, fees are high and continuing
to rise. Courts may also allow “extraordinary fees” in addition
to an attorney’s ordinary fees, depending on the complexity of the
case. On average, attorney fees and costs for settling living trusts are
much lower than the fees for a probate case. End of life expenses can
seem unending; by avoiding probate, you will completely remove an entire
category of expenses and avoid additional complexity in settling your
loved one’s affairs.
Keeping family information private is simply not an option when it comes
to probate. All personal information such as the identity of the executor
and beneficiaries, the decedent’s liabilities and assets, all become
open for public viewing as probate is a proceeding in state court. Anyone
could access your personal and private information by taking a trip to
the local clerk’s office, or in some states, by a quick search online.
For those who wish to keep personal information private, avoiding probate
is the answer.
Judges as a Roadblock
When it comes to handling an individual’s assets, the to-do list
is often expansive and includes stressful, time consuming decisions. Dividing
up a business, selling real estate and the deceased’s personal assets…
all of this holds the potential to cause extra stress and tension for
family and beneficiaries. In probate, all decisions regarding the deceased’s
affairs must be approved by a judge, which often takes long periods of
time, since you are at the mercy of the court’s schedule. Though
a judge can work to protect the deceased’s assets, during probate
the court can hinder the process as each asset works its way through the
court’s slow but diligent process.
Lack of Prompt Access to Cash
Probate can take months and sometimes years to fully process. In the meantime,
the bills for funerals, taxes, utilities, storage, and all other fees
tied to the loved one’s passing will not wait. When you file probate,
beneficiaries will not receive the assets until the case is closed. Family
and friends have no choice but to play the waiting game when it comes
to court dates and a judge’s approval. This time of financial and
emotional stress is taxing enough; bypassing probate allows timely access
to resources while fulfilling the deceased’s wishes so family members
can move on with their own lives.
Planning Your Estate Doesn’t Have to be Scary
Taking the time to learn the facts is the first step. You have options.
Don’t leave your estate in the hands of the court. At Mortensen
& Reinheimer, PC, we are REAL PEOPLE with REAL SOLUTIONS. We understand
that estate planning is personal and, at times, complicated, particularly
when probate is necessary. With 24 years of combined experience and a
specialty in estate planning, we are capable and qualified to understand
your unique situation and its dynamics. We guarantee the highest quality
counsel and legal representation. Call us today for an appointment to
discuss estate planning and probate needs!