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“What is Probate? Can I do it myself? Isn’t a will sufficient to avoid probate?”
Probate is the process by which a court supervises the transfer of property from a decedent's estate to the decedent's heirs. Without a trust, probate is required where the decedent's assets are valued at more than $150,000.
The probate process is multifaceted, time consuming, and can be a source of great stress for those unfamiliar with it. Thus, an attorney is often needed to represent the executor of the estate of the decedent. The probate process usually involves, among other things:
Petitioning and appearing in court
Marshaling assets of the estate
Contacting and tracking creditors of the estate
Opening the proper accounts to hold any cash of the estate
Preparing accountings of the estate
Managing the sale of the decedent's assets
Filing the decedent’s tax returns and assuring all taxes are paid, if any
“How much does probate cost?”
The cost of probate is often more expensive than creating even the priciest of living trusts, let alone a basic living trust. If an attorney is involved in the probate process, probate fees are based on the gross value of the estate. For this purpose, debts will not reduce the value of the estate. Mandatory probate fees are calculated as follows:
4% of the first $100,000
3% of the next $100,000
2% of the next $800,000
1% of the next $9,000,000
So, if your gross estate is worth $1,000,000, independent of any debts, the estate would owe $23,000 in attorney's fees. Additionally, there may be associated court related fees and costs.
Contact Richard to have an experienced attorney guide you along the exhaustive probate process.