The Cost of Probate and the Cost of Estate Planning

Expense is always a consideration when deciding whether to create an estate plan. Often, people are deterred from creating an estate plan because of the cost, time commitment or nature of the discussion. However, if you decide that you don’t need an estate plan or that you should wait to create one, you need to realize that you will then likely have to deal with the consequential costs of dealing with probate.

Brief Description of Probate

The probate process requires a legal process in court after your death (whether you have a Will or you don’t). The court will oversee the management and distribution of all of the estate assets, verify the validity of the Will and determine who should receive anything from the estate.

The probate process typically takes 9 months to a year and it involves a great deal of paperwork and legal proceedings. Because of the many formalities and disputations that typically arise, an attorney is required to get through the process.

The Cost of Probate

The cost of probate will depend on the size of your estate, however, even the smallest estate typically will cost several thousands of dollars in legal fees. As you can imagine, the larger the estate, the more work that is required and the higher the legal fees will be.  Additionally, if any part of your estate is contested, the case could remain open for years and cost tens of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees.

However, the expense of probate is not the only “cost” that you would encounter if you do not put an estate plan in place. Here are some other significant consequences of probate that you should consider:

  • Your estate assets will be frozen for months or years.
  • Your heirs must wait until the close of probate proceedings before they receive anything.
  • The probate process is public and inheritances are public information.
  • Probate is emotionally taxing on all involved.

There is no dollar amount that can be placed on the “costs” of probate listed above. It is possible to avoid all of these costs with a much simpler solution, an estate plan.

How an Estate Plan is Better

First of all, the cost of creating an estate plan is significantly less than what it would cost to go through probate. Depending on the size of your estate, the cost of creating an estate plan will range from $1,000 to $5,000 on average. Our firm will establish a flat fee that for an estate plan and you will know exactly what to expect to pay. These costs are a fraction of the total financial cost of having to go through probate.

However, there are many other benefits to creating an estate plan that cannot be quantified in dollars. Here are a few examples of other benefits associated with an estate plan:

  • Relatively short creating time
  • Completely private (a Trust does not get filed with anyone)
  • Virtually eliminates the possibility that there will be disputations among beneficiaries
  • You get to make the important decisions rather than relying on the probate court.

When considering whether or not to create an estate plan, you should not only consider the cost but also the attorney you will be working with. You will be dealing with very important decisions and a great attorney will spend the time with you to guide you down the path to making a great decision.

If you are interested in creating an estate plan, look no further than Parry & Pfau. Our experienced team would be happy to sit down with you one on one to discuss your desires and concerns. We offer all prospective estate planning clients a free one hour consultation with an attorney where you will get the answers you are looking for.

If you are interested in a free estate planning consultation you can all 702-879-9555 or click here to request a meeting time. We look forward to meeting you.