You have likely heard that it is wise to include probate avoidance strategies in your overall estate plan; however, you may not be motivated to do so yourself unless you truly understand why doing so is so important. Answering one simple question should give you the incentive you need to make sure your estate plan includes probate avoidance strategies. How much does probate cost? While it is impossible to know exactly how much probating your estate may cost given the unique nature of an estate; however, basic understanding of the potential costs involved in probating any estate should give you a general idea of how expensive probate can be and, therefore, why you want to avoid it.
When you die, your estate will likely be required to go through some form of probate. The primary purposes of probate are to identify, value, and eventually disburse all assets owned by you at the time of death and to ensure that all debts owed by you at the time of your death are paid, including all tax obligations. All assets owned by you at the time of death are potentially included in the probate of your estate. Some assets, however, are non-probate assets, meaning they are not required to go through the probate process. The more probate assets you have and the more valuable your estate is, the higher the likelihood that your estate will be required to go through formal probate, meaning your estate will not qualify for a simplified form of probate.
If your estate is required to go through formal probate the following expenses will likely be incurred by your estate:
- ·Executive/Personal Representative fees
- ·Legal fees
- ·Appraiser fees
- ·Accountant fees
- ·Real estate agent commissions and fees
- ·Maintenance and upkeep expenses
- ·Investigator fees
- ·Expenses related to the sale of assets if necessary
- ·Expenses related to the transfer of assets
As you can imagine, the more assets involved, and/or the more valuable or complex those assets are, the higher the fees associated with probating your estate. Keep in mind that expenses related to probate are paid out of your estate assets before any gifts can be made to beneficiaries. If your entire estate must go through probate your estate value could diminish significantly by the time probate in concluded, meaning your loved ones will not receive everything you intended them to have.
The good news is that by including probate avoidance strategies in your overall estate plan you can dramatically reduce your estate’s exposure to probate, thereby reducing the costs associated with the probate of your estate. If you have additional questions or concerns about probate avodiance, contact the experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys at Nash Bean Ford & Brown, LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.