Complete Estate Planning Vs. Probate
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By Estate Planning Attorney Gary DeWitt. Gary is founder of the law firm at DeWitt Law Firm, PLLC. Estate, Probate, and Elder Law Attorney serving Benton and Washington Counties including Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale, and Fayetteville in Arkansas.
Many people won’t do complete estate planning because they don’t realize how difficult Probate can be. Most people don’t know just how much time and trouble going through this formal process is.
Probate is emotionally draining, not to mention expensive and time consuming.
Probate is well worth avoiding all together.
What is Probate?
Probate is the process of either
- Admitting the Last Will and Testament then following the instructions in it
- Using the State’s Plan (no Will) and following the State’s strict instructions
Either way is a very formal court driven process requiring several trips to the courthouse to see a judge. The judge gets the final say in all of the decisions.
How Much Does Probate Cost?
Probate starts at about $4,000 for a full probate. For a more complex probate, costs can run $8,000 or more. If the people involved are fighting with each other, you can expect $10,000 or more.
How Long Does Probate Take?
A small estate, with no house and no debts can get done in about 60 days… If a home is involved, it will take about 6 months.
A full probate with a Will requires about one full year, if plain simple instructions were left. If the Will is bare bones, you can add many more months.
A full probate without a Will can take 18 months to 2 years because of the waits for court dates and other legal requirements of administering an estate without a Will.
What is Complete Estate Planning?
Complete estate planning is
- Probate avoidance
- Asset protection
- Protecting your fundamental rights
- To make financial decisions
- To make personal decisions
- To make healthcare decisions
- To make legal decisions
- Eliminating risk
- Eliminating jeopardy
- Eliminating doubt
- Eliminating uncertainty
- Medicaid/long term care planning well ahead of time
How Much Is Complete Estate Planning?
Probate avoidance starts around $1,500 for simpler estates and up to $3,500 for average to moderately difficult estates.