By: Cory Carlton
You’re likely thinking that this is odd. A company that does insurance, investments, estate planning, and income planning says you don’t want a will.
There are several reasons that a will may not be suitable for you but the one main reason, and this goes for everyone, is that a will guarantees one thing. That your estate will go through probate.
Probate is the term for a legal process in which a will is reviewed to determine whether it is valid and authentic. Probate also refers to the general administering of a deceased person's will or the estate of a deceased person without a will.
After an asset-holder dies, the court appoints either an executor named in the will or an administrator (if there is no will) to administer the process of probate. This involves collecting the assets of a deceased person to pay any liabilities remaining on the person's estate, and to distribute the assets of the estate to beneficiaries.
So, regardless of if you have a will or not, probate will happen. But why do you want to avoid probate?
It takes a long time and is expensive.
I’m going to share general rules of thumb with you that are of course not specific for all situations but good guidelines.
So how long does probate take? On average 24 months.
That’s just a long time to have to deal with the process of handling a loved one’s estate. On top of that, generally, the assets are frozen until the process is complete. That means that anything that needs to be paid for is coming out of someone’s pocket at that time. Sure, you can get reimbursed but that could take two years.
Probate is expensive as well. Generally, it can cost up to 7% of the estate. For small estates, that may not be a big deal. For larger ones, it is a big deal. That is 7% less to leave behind to the family. Fees could drive that cost up. You can expect several fees through the process…
Court fees, executor fees, attorney fees, accounting fees, appraisal fees, valuation fees, bond fees, and then there can be several miscellaneous fees.
Also, the longer the process takes, the more expensive it is. So, when families start fighting over their dad’s favorite fishing pole or their mother’s cookbooks, the courts and attorneys see dollar signs.
So, probate is long and expensive. Also, once an estate goes through probate everything becomes public knowledge.
That means that anyone can see what you are leaving behind and if they want, they can go and try and make a claim to it. Even if there is no logical reason for it, they can still attempt to make a claim and the court must address it, thus lengthening the process and costing more money.
So, if you want to keep things private, a will won’t do that.
Also, wills are often contested. Meaning that someone feels they were left out of a will and are not getting anything so they make a fuss and claim they should get something. Even if it is an estranged child, they can contest, and often when someone contests a will, they get their way.
Imagine if that was an issue for guardianship of children. Someone thinks they should be guardians instead of who you decided will be guardians for your kids.
Sure, wills can have the various power of attorneys that you need. Those are important.
But how do you avoid probate? You have a trust.
A trust avoids probate. Think of it like a basket that holds all your property, assets, and stuff you want to give away. When you pass away there is someone in charge of that basket that distributes everything in there to the people you want it to go to.
Everything is kept private. Your wishes are guaranteed. Your medical and financial power of attorneys is taken care of. Everyone knows what you want and how you want it and it legally has to be done that way.
So, why does everyone not a trust?
Many people want to get a trust, but they just don’t know where to start. Trusts are often more expensive than a will. Wills can be $700, and trusts can be up a lot more.
Our trust program is $2,495 with a $190 annual fee for unlimited updates. That’s important. You need to be able to easily update your trust. Have you ever tried to update any legal document? It is not a quick process and can often be expensive.
Even though a trust is more expensive, initially, it will end up being a better option in the long run.
Some people think that only millionaires and billionaires need trusts. If you own your home, a trust could be beneficial for you.
We have an affordable, efficient, and easy trust program that you can get 90% complete in 90 minutes, without having to leave your house.
Doing this type of planning is important for your family. It protects you, protects them, protects your wishes, and your privacy.
If you want to see if a trust may be a good fit, you can schedule your free consultation by clicking here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cory got into this business because he saw what happens when the proper planning is not done. He has helped families understand the importance and value of having a family estate plan and with our eStatePlan program. He helps people understand the shortcomings with their current plan, through no fault of their own, and how those shortcomings can be taken care of with our eStatePlan. For those that have not taken any steps down this path, Cory gives you the right information for your needs to help you understand how our eStatePlan may be right for you and your family.