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Wes Winsor Law Presents: Estate Planning, Pay for it Now in Cash or Pay for it later with your children’s cash, time, and frustration.
Let’s say that you get your estate plan in place and it costs you $2,000. You are thorough and you follow through to make sure the Trust is properly funded.
When you die, the successor trustee could be able to issue deeds, retrieve money from the bank, pay off creditors, and transfer all the remaining assets to the living within a day or two. If your heirs have a problem with the distribution, they are unable to blame anyone but the deceased and relationships with their co-heirs are more easily maintained.
Without a plan you will need to go through the Probate Court. In Utah the filing fee for a probate is $360. If you are a do-it-yourselfer it will probably take you at least 10-20 hours of research and a few trips to the clerk’s office to get it started. Even then, you will probably wonder if you are doing it correctly.
Often the person doing this will have to front the initial fees until the Court gives them authority to reimburse themselves for not only the court costs, but also the costs to maintain the property which could take a couple of months.
If you hire an attorney to help you through the process, then you will probably end up paying $1,500-$2,000. Not only will this outlay be accompanied by a loss of time till distribution, but it will also be compounded by the frustration of piecing together all of your property, assets, and holdings.
In addition relationships among the heirs can suffer because of the inability to unequally distribute the non-cash items. Backbiting, feuding, lawsuits, and animosity is not uncommon when an heir has to make the decisions of how to distribute property among the co-heirs.
In the end it is your choice. Be proactive and plan and pay for your Estate plan now, or put that burden on your heirs and children.