Probate Is Not For You — Or Anyone Who Can Avoid It
By: Cristin Gerczak, Esq.
December 8, 2020
Here is a recent example of the benefits to avoiding probate.
Alan passed away in early 2019, divorced and survived by 3 minor children. The minor children were the only beneficiaries.
Alan did not have an estate plan in place prior to passing away. His assets included a house with approximately $50,000 in equity, personal property with a value of about $20,000, two vehicles and a checking accounting containing $10,000.
Since Alan did not have a proper trust, his assets had to go through the probate process in order to pass to his children. The probate administration of Alan’s estate lasted longer than 15 months, which is fairly normal, unfortunately.
At the end of the probate process, the final accounting reflected that after personal representative fees, house maintenance fees, depreciation of assets, realtor fees, regular attorney fees, extraordinary attorney fees and probate administration costs, there was no money left in the estate to distribute to the children.
Alan’s children waited in anticipation for 15 months… only to discover there would be no inheritance from their father.
What Could Have Happened If Probate Had Been Avoided
If a proper trust had been prepared and funded, then the fees and costs associated with the estate administration would have been avoided. The successor trustee would have had immediate access to trust assets thereby reducing some of the house maintenance costs during the lengthy probate matter and possibly avoiding the depreciation in value of assets.
In short, there is a better chance the children would have some inheritance from their father if probate had been avoided by setting up a trust.
Specific Reasons to Set Up Your Estate Plan So You Can Skip Probate
Here are the top reasons to avoid probate:
- Probate Court costs and fees
- Regular attorney fees
- Sometimes extraordinary attorney fees
- Other estate administration costs
- On average, the probate process takes 12-18 months before assets are distributed to the beneficiaries
- Probate is very time consuming for the personal representative
- Court approval is needed for each step in the process
- Court hearings and documents become public record
When you set up an estate plan designed to allow your assets to skip past probate, you avoid all of these frustrations and expenses for the loved ones you leave behind. Reach out to learn how Haimo Law can help you do just that.
Cristin Gerczak, Esq.
Strategic Planning With Purpose®
YOU ARE NOT OUR CLIENT UNLESS WE EXECUTE A WRITTEN AGREEMENT TO THAT EFFECT. MOREOVER, THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. EACH SITUATION IS HIGHLY FACT SPECIFIC AND EXCEPTIONS OFTEN EXIST TO GENERAL RULES. DO NOT RELY ON THIS INFORMATION, AS A CONSULTATION TO UNDERSTAND THE FACTS AND THE CLIENT’S NEEDS AND GOALS IS NECESSARY. ULTIMATELY WE MUST BE RETAINED TO PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE AND REPRESENTATION. THIS INFORMATION IS PROVIDED AS A COURTESY AND, ACCORDINGLY, DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE.