If there was one thing, one single piece of information, I could shout from the rooftops so everyone would know – it would be this => Having a Last Will and Testament does not avoid probate. In other words, even if you have a Last Will, your estate will likely be tied up in court for months or even years before it gets to your family. Yep, you heard that right. And most people just don’t even know it.
In fact, I’ll bet if you asked ten people on the street, “Will your family have to probate your estate if you have a Last Will?”, nine of the ten would respond, “Heck no, that’s why I have a Last Will.” Yet, so often people die, thinking they’ve cleared things up for their family, never realizing the crazy hassles in store for their kids.
Probate is expensive, time consuming, public, and stressful. Generally, the attorneys’ fees for a probate case are around 3% of the value of the estate, not including certain matters like dealing with homestead property or resolving disputes among family members. It typically takes 9 months – 1 year to complete a probate case, sometimes longer. Probate is public, allowing any “interested” person to make claims against your estate, often delaying the process and encouraging disputes.
Good News Alert! It’s not necessary! Probate can be easily avoided with a little planning. The typical solution is a Revocable Living Trust, which works a lot like a Last Will in that you determine who receives your assets and who’s in charge of distribution, but here’s the BIG difference – when you die, your assets pass immediately to your family. No attorneys, no courts, no fees, no hassles. It’s a beautiful thing!
If you’d like to meet with us for a complimentary consultation to find out how we can help you create a plan to quickly, smoothly transfer your estate to your family, please contact us at (813) 244-7758 or Ross@RossSpanoLaw.com.