The cost of probate can be substantial and can reduce the amount of wealth which is available to pass on to beneficiaries and heirs. You do not want your wealth to be squandered due to high costs of probate and you should do everything possible during your estate planning process to try to reduce the costs of probate so more of your hard-earned money can be used to make a positive difference in the lives of people that you care about.
Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC can provide you with help exploring ways to reduce the cost of probate, or even to eliminate probate costs altogether. Give us a call at (631) 265-0599 to find out more about the ways in which a probate lawyer can assist you in reducing probate costs and fees.
Tips to Reduce the Cost of Probate
According to Investopedia, probate typically costs anywhere from three percent to seven percent of the total value of your estate. This can add up to a very substantial amount of money spent on the probate process. It is natural to want to avoid the waste of thousands of dollars, and there are steps you can take to try to bring down costs. Examples of some things you can do include:
- Creating a will and/or estate plan. If you do not have a will, intestacy laws will apply and the probate process will generally still have to take place unless you’ve planned ahead so that does not happen. Estate litigation can result as your loved ones fight over assets. Costs can rise very quickly when this happens.
- Including a no contest clause in your will. If your will is contested, the costs of probate can grow very high. There have been many cases, often involving the estates of wealthy people, where probate proceedings have gone on for years and endless amounts of money have been wasted. While including a no contest clause does not necessarily guarantee that your will won’t be challenged, it does reduce the chances of problems.
The best way to reduce the cost of probate, however, is to allow your family to avoid probate altogether or to significantly reduce the number of assets and the value of assets that transfer through the probate process.
Eliminating Probate to Avoid Costs
Eliminating probate can allow you to save 100 percent of the cost of probate. Although there may still be expenditures when you pass away, such as transfer taxes for property transfers, there will no longer be any of your wealth lost due to the probate process.
The process of eliminating probate can be a complicated one, and it is best to get the help of an experienced estate planning attorney. An attorney can help you to use a wide variety of different legal tools that are available under the laws of New York in order to either skip probate altogether or pass the minimal amount of money and property through probate. Some of the different ways to eliminate probate altogether include:
- Trust creation: Assets that you put into a trust are going to be passed through trust administration, not through probate.
- Pay on death accounts: Accounts can be set up to automatically transfer assets to a designated beneficiary upon your death. The assets in the pay on death accounts won’t pass through probate.
- Joint ownership. Property held in the appropriate types of joint ownership, such as joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, can pass automatically on to co-owners of the property and will not pass through the probate process.
You need to make sure you talk with a lawyer and understand exactly what is involved with estate planning to avoid probate. You also need to know the limitations of probate avoidance and of the tools you use. For example, many of the tools that you use to prevent assets from passing through probate are NOT going to reduce or eliminate estate taxes, although some people erroneously believe that they will. An attorney with experience can explain exactly what you need to do for both probate avoidance and estate tax avoidance.
Getting Help from A Long Island Probate Lawyer
Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC provides comprehensive estate planning assistance to help you reduce the costs of probate or avoid probate altogether. Give us a call at (631) 265-0599 or contact us online to speak with a member of our legal team if you need someone to represent you during probate or if you need a legal advocate to provide you with advice during the estate planning process.