Probate: Frequently Asked Questions
What are the steps of Probate?
Generally, the probate process follows the same basic steps regardless of which US state you are domiciled in. The Probate Court, in the state of which you reside, will govern the probate process. The Probate steps include:
• Filing the Will of the decedent with the local court
• Notifying heirs, creditors, and the public of one’s death
• Identifying and inventorying the decedent’s property
• Appraising the property
• Paying off all debts and estate taxes
• Having the Court validate the Will
• Distributing the estate
What are the costs of Probate?
Typically, Probate costs anywhere from 3% to 7% of the total Estate value. There are appraisal costs, executor’s fees, court costs, the costs of a surety bond, legal fees, and accounting fees. Also, if the decedent holds property in more than one state, the Estate may have to face separate probate hearings in each applicable state.
How can I avoid Probate?
A Will is the main facilitator in the bestowment of property from a decedent to his/her beneficiaries. Still, with a valid Living Will probate results. Alternatively, the execution of many legal strategies should occur in an attempt to avoid the probate process. The most frequent probate avoidance strategies include:
• Revocable living trust
• Joint tenancy and tenancy by the entirety
• Payable-on-death designations
• Life insurance
• Gift Planning
A good Estate Plan should absolutely include the implementation of these probate avoidance strategies. It is important to understand that an Estate Plan is not a “cookie cutter” template that can be applied to everyone. What works for one person may not be right for another. By visiting an Estate attorney, you can create an Estate Plan that fits your situation, needs and wants, to assure that you and your family are protected. Such a decision will make the probate process easier on your loved ones.
For more information on how to protect your family and your assets, please contact the law firm of Wild Felice & Partners, P.A. at 954-944-2855 or via email at email@example.com.