When it comes to estate planning, many people aren’t really sure where to begin. With this process seeming overwhelming, some people continue to put off their estate planning until it’s too late. Because of this, about 55% of Americans die without an estate plan in place. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for remaining family members to manage assets and property. Additionally, this can lead to a very expensive probate process. However, when an estate plan is done correctly, probate fees can be minimized. We’re going to give you a few tips to help you make your estate plan simple and hopefully reduce probate fees.
One of the easiest ways to save on probate fees is by choosing a personal representative who won’t charge a fee. When you’re making your will or estate plan, choose a family member or friend who agrees to be your executor. In doing this, you’ll be able to avoid having to pay an executor for their services. If you don’t have a family member or friend who you want to be your executor, make sure you compare rates and ask about negotiating prices.
Additionally, it’s important to choose your attorney wisely. While an attorney is always a good idea when it comes to estate planning, this can also be one of the most expensive fees of the process. Attorney fees aren’t always set in stone, so don’t be afraid to ask about cost reductions. And again, it’s important to compare costs before making a decision.
If you own real estate, consider making it a joint ownership. If a property is shared equally between you and another person, the other will own the real estate outright after you’re gone. This eliminates the need for the real estate to pass through the state and immensely reduces costs. You can easily set up your real estate to be immediately passed onto another person upon your death, but there are important factors to consider. Your mortgage, any business ownership, and bankruptcy declaration could all impact the fees associated with joint ownership. Because of this, it’s important to choose joint ownership carefully.
Overall, there are many steps you can take during your estate planning to try to reduce probate fees. It’s important to consult with your attorney before making any decisions or changes to avoid making things more complicated. But with a well-planned estate or will, your family members should be able to manage your assets and finances with ease.