Why Avoid Probate
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Why Avoid Probate?

Avoiding probate is a wise choice. Keep reading to find out why.

A lot of us may have been told that it’s a good idea to avoid probate, but we don’t really know why. To put it plainly, there are two huge issues with probate:

It ties property up for months, occasionally up to more than a year.

It’s costly. In many states, attorney and court costs can take up to five percent of an estate’s worth.

The Probate Process

Most of what occurs throughout probate is basically clerical. In most cases there is no head butting, no challenging parties, none of the typical reasoning for court proceedings. Probate seldom calls for legal inquires, devising, or an attorney’s adversarial skills.

The probate attorney, or their secretary, completes a small pile of forms and monitors filing deadlines and other formal stipulations. In many states, the attorney makes a couple of standard court appearances; in others, the whole process is managed through mail.

Probate Costs

For their services, both an attorney and your executor are going to be entitled to costs from your estate.

Executor Costs

It’s typical for the executor to forgo the cost, particularly if they inherit a significant amount of your property.

Attorneys’ Costs

In a lot of states, probate costs are what a court considers as “reasonable.” In a couple of states, the costs are based on a percentage of the estate that is facing probate. Regardless, a probate attorney’s cost for a “standard” estate with a gross worth of $400,000 (these days, this might be little more than a house, some savings and a vehicle) can just like that amount to $20,000+.

Other Probate costs

Additionally, there are court costs, assessor’s fees, and occasionally other expenses.

Lessening Probate Costs

One way to lessen probate costs is for your executor to manage the probate case devoid of an attorney. But being a practical issue, that’s tough in a lot of places.

Use good DIY materials. In the state of California, an excellent DIY book, How to Probate an Estate in California, by Julia Nissley is available. Wisconsin and a couple of other states have established other procedures, created for individuals without lawyers. In other states, its improbable to find wide-ranging published materials or other assistance that make probate conveniently accessible to non-attorneys.

Utilize the internet or practical guides for assistance. Without assistance, finding one’s way through the web of probate laws is probably going to be challenging, but not impossible. Some counties offer advice for non-attorney executors on their websites. Or your executor can obtain documents and instructions from an attorneys’ practice manual. These periodicals are usually accessible at public law libraries, and many individuals have effectively used them.

Hire an attorney for less than the typical costs. You can also attempt to get an attorney to agree that they are going to do your probate for less than the usual costs. You are unable, nevertheless, bind an attorney legally to such an arrangement. Actually, you don’t have the power to choose the attorney at all — the law provides this control to your executor.

Avoiding Probate

Given this information, it commonly makes more sense to see when you can avoid probate entirely. At the bare minimum, consider lessening the amount of property that is going to be subjected to probate — this is going to lessen costs and guarantee that your beneficiaries get some of their inheritance quicker.


  1. Nolo. (2014, October 24). Why avoid probate? www.nolo.com. Retrieved May 4, 2022, from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/why-avoid-probate-29861.html

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