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Containing probate costs by avoiding estate planning errors

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2020 | Estate planning |

Creating a comprehensive and effective estate plan can seem complicated. For Georgia residents who are dealing with concerns about estate planning and how to allocate their property after death, it is important to be cognizant of common mistakes that can negatively impact loved ones. Probate is a frequent consideration. Unfortunately, many ignore it. Understanding how to keep costs reasonable in the probate process can be a key part of an effective estate plan.

Probate will be needed to legitimize the will after the testator’s death. During probate, certain steps are taken including an inventory of the estate, confirming the administrator of the proceeds and more. The executor will handle this. The will is not considered legal until probate has been completed. The person’s assets will be counted. To prevent mistakes from sabotaging the process, there are common errors that people make.

Some people do not have a will. This might sound unusual, but it is troublingly frequent. Research indicates that as many as 60 percent of people have failed to create a will or crafted an estate plan. People are advised to have at least a basic will. It is also useful to ensure that the will is updated to address life changes. Those who have created a will many years ago will inevitably need to alter it in certain ways. Dying without a will means the case is “intestate”. This means there will likely be a dispute about the person’s property and the process can be delayed significantly.

Another issue is a failure to know the difference between probate and estate taxes. For people who did not have a certain amount of assets that fall below $11.58 million, there is no federal estate tax. Still, there might be a state estate tax and this can be addressed with an estate plan. Certain assets can be left out of probate. For smaller estates, the probate case can be expedited.

Probate is a key part of the estate planning process. There are many other aspects that should be considered during the testator’s life and after he or she has passed on. When formulating an estate plan, it may be beneficial to have legal advice to be fully prepared. A law firm experienced in all areas of estate planning might be able to help.