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Save Money With Estate Planning Now Instead of Intestate Probate

How much does estate planning cost versus Intestate Probate? When weighing the cost of estate planning versus the costs associated with intestate probate, it’s critical to consider both the monetary and emotional costs involved. Estate planning, while it might seem like an upfront expense, typically becomes a more cost-effective and less stressful approach for you and your family in the long run, especially when compared to the potential complexities and uncertainties of intestate probate. Intestate probate is the process of probating an estate without a Last Will and Testament.

Estate Planning Costs

Estate planning entails the preparation of legal documents to control and direct the distribution of your assets in accordance with your final wishes. The basic elements of estate planning services are a Last Will and Testament, a durable power of attorney, a health care proxy, a HIPAA release, a living will indicating your wishes if permanent bad health, burial instructions, and guardianship instructions for minor children. The cost of identifying and drafting these basic documents can range from $800 to $1,500 for basic estate planning. For more advanced estate planning, which might involve setting up a revocable trust, costs can increase up to $3,000–$3,500. While these figures might seem significant, they offer a clear pathway for asset distribution and help avoid much higher costs and complications down the line.

Intestate Probate Costs

Intestate probate occurs when a person dies without a valid and properly executed will or estate plan in place. This legal process can be far more arduous and expensive than many realize. Common costs include court filing fees and notice publication fees, which alone can range from $250 to $1,000. Obtaining approvals from potential heirs, some of whom may be difficult to reach or may not agree to the intestate distribution, will incur significant additional expenditures. In addition to these direct costs, indirect costs can arise from assets not reaching intended recipients, potential disagreements among beneficiaries, and diminished asset value due to delays in the probate process – we have seen this cause real estate to be damaged and wasted, or for a stock portfolio to generate significant unwanted taxes because the delays in the probate process and/or disputes from potential beneficiaries stopped the estate representatives from having the court appointment to give them control to actively protect the assets. These scenarios can further inflate costs, not to mention the emotional toll on all parties involved.

Financial Comparison

Directly comparing the costs, basic estate planning services at $800 to $1,500 or even advanced planning at up to $3,500 are substantially more cost-effective when aligned against the myriad fees and indirect costs associated with intestate probate. Legal disputes or mismanaged assets during the prolonged probate process can quickly escalate the costs of probate beyond the initial court and publication fees into many thousands of dollars in legal fees, not mention the disruption that can be caused withing the family.

The Bigger Picture

Focusing solely on financial costs might miss the broader importance of estate planning. Beyond financial savings, estate planning offers peace of mind, guaranteeing the honoring of your wishes, the care of your loved ones, and the minimization of potential conflicts. Conversely, the lack of a well-defined estate plan can result in family conflicts, legal difficulties, and the possibility of asset distributions that do not align with your intentions.

In conclusion, while both estate planning and intestate probate involve expenses, estate planning is generally the more cost-effective route, offering both financial savings and invaluable peace of mind.

Feel free to reach out to the estate planning lawyers at McGinn Law PC to discuss the process and your options.

Saving Money with Estate Planning Now