The passing of a relative is always a tough life event to experience. Yet, for many people each year, this type of event comes with legal issues that must be handled right away despite all the emotions that this sensitive moment might already be generating. Indeed, if the deceased individual left an estate, then a legal procedure must be initiated to make sure that their assets are properly distributed. But leaving a will that states who gets what doesn't simplify this procedure, especially since there are probate fees. Here's how you can make things easier for your heirs.
The main issues associated with the probate process
One of the main issues that is associated with the probate process is the high fees that are incurred. In fact, depending on the estate laws that govern your jurisdiction, your beneficiaries may be required to settle those fees first before being granted access to your assets.
In addition, this legal procedure, which normally takes a couple of months to be completed, may actually stretch over years if there are delays in its processing. For example, the judge might decide to sign the ownership transfer papers only months after confirming the authenticity of your will.
How to avoid probate fees
There are two ways to avoid incurring probate fees:
- Through an affidavit
- Through a revocable living trust
It's possible to avoid probate fees if your estate is of small value. This is because the smaller the estate, the less complicated the will, and thus the simpler the probate process. In most states, an estate whose value is comprised between $5,000 and $100,000 is considered small, which also means that the transfer of ownership can be done via an affidavit.
As you might know, revocable living trusts allow you to control your assets via a trustee who is managing them on your behalf. Because they're revocable, you may add or remove beneficiaries until you're physically capable of making such changes. The main benefit of these trusts is that no judiciary authority will be able to prevent your trustee from executing your testament, which means that your beneficiaries will receive your assets in a timely fashion, and without having to pay the expensive fees associated with the probate process.
As you might see, avoiding probate fees is definitely possible. The only thing you must do now is consult with a qualified estate planning attorney like Donald B Linsky & Associate Pa who will help you lay out a long-term strategy in advance.