People sometimes go forward with some misconceptions about estate planning techniques. Everyone has heard of the last will or last will and testament. Most people are also aware of the existence of trusts. You may assume that a last will is the simplest and least expensive way to facilitate the transfer of your assets after you pass away.
This is not necessarily the case because of the existence of the legal process of probate.
What Is Probate?
You may envision a depiction that you have seen in a movie or on a television show. After a funeral, a representative calls certain family members into a study. There is a “reading of the will.” The implication is that the representative will start writing checks immediately.
In reality, things don’t work that way. The executor of the estate that is named in the last will must admit the will to probate. During probate the court will supervise the administration of the estate.
One of the drawbacks of probate is the time consumption. The heirs that are named in the last will do not receive their inheritances until after the estate has been probated and closed by the court.
A simple case may pass through probate in perhaps eight months to a year. This can be quite a long time when you are waiting for an inheritance, especially if you were depending on the decedent for support.
There are also some significant costs that can add up during the probate process. The executor that you select to administer your estate is entitled to payment for his or her time and effort. There is also a filing fee that is charged by the probate court.
Because probate is a legal process, the executor will often retain the services of a probate lawyer. Final taxes must be paid during probate, so a tax accountant can be called in as well. Clearly, these professionals charge for their services.
Property must be prepared for distribution to the heirs during probate. As a result, there can be appraisal charges and liquidation expenses.
It is impossible to provide a universal number when you are talking about probate expenses, because each case is different. Suffice to say that probate costs will typically consume a noticeable portion of the estate in question.
Free Report on the Process of Probate
Now that you have learned a little bit about probate, you may have some questions formulating in your mind. We have prepared a free special report that takes an in-depth look at the probate process.
You can download the report through this website. To access your copy of the special report, click this link and follow the simple instructions: Free Probate Report.
Parman & Easterday