When drawing up an estate plan, there is a lot of misinformation that clients bring to their lawyers. If you are stuck between a will and a trust or if you fear that you need to avoid probate court at all costs, the decision may not be as complex as you think.
You do not always need to avoid probate. Before you decide between a will and a trust, here is what you need to know about probate.
Probate Is Not Always Expensive
Some people believe that probate is too expensive. It’s true that probate costs money, but it won’t deplete your assets. The cost will depend on the size of your estate. In most cases, the costs will range anywhere from about three percent to seven percent. The court will take these fees upfront and leave the rest of the estate for your executor to spend on debts before he or she provides the money and assets to the beneficiaries. While probate can be expensive, the cost isn’t extensive for most.
Probate Will Not Take Years
There is a misconception that probate will take too much time. If you’re worried that your family will be hung up on probate for years after you pass, they probably won’t be. Probate does take longer than distributing assets from a trust. In very rare instances, probate can take years. This is when there is a complex estate involved or when there is a contest over the will. Uncomplicated estates can close in just a few months. Many people’s estates close within a few months to a year.
Probate Can Make Sense
If you have a modest estate, you might not see the point of a trust. This is the case for a lot of families. While modest estates can still benefit from a trust, there is no point in spending the money if you feel as though a will and probate can fulfil your estate planning needs. Probate works great for uncomplicated estates. If you don’t expect your family to try to contest your will or if you have a clause that prohibits a contest, then probate may be smooth sailing for your loved ones.
Your estate plan is 100 percent customizable. You do not have to judge your estate plan based on what works for other people. Contact an estate attorney, to discuss your obligations.