Dying without a will could cost as much as 20 times more to finalise your estate, Elder Law Attorney Robert Brumfield has revealed. —
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Taking time out from his busy schedule, the founder of the Law Offices of Robert H. Brumfield, P.C., in Bakersfield, CA, gave an informed interview on probate issues.
When someone dies, and their belongings need to be distributed, the probate process kicks in. If someone leaves a will, they name an executor to oversee assets distribution to named beneficiaries.
An executor will be the person who begins the probate process or will hire an attorney to aid them through the legal journey. The executor will be tasked with handling all financial responsibilities, such as settling debts and expenses.
But suppose you die without making a will, known as intestate. In that case, you may well find a probate court will settle how the assets are distributed and even appoint a personal representative to handle the probate proceedings.
Fees for probate attorneys and personal representatives are set by law, and can be costly, he added. “These fees can increase substantially if family members decide to contest the will and how these assets should be distributed.”
Brumfield elaborated: “By way of example, if your entire estate is worth more than $600,000, then your family could be looking at around $30,000 in probate fees, including court filing fees, before the estate can be settled.
“That’s why effective estate planning is advisable as the costs involved will be much less than a family fighting it out in court. It has been estimated probate can be as much as 20 times more expensive than having a well-thought-out estate plan with a will.”
He added that a will guarantees that your relatives will know what to do with your assets. He explained: “A family with a clearer idea of how you want your estate to be distributed will be able to act quickly.
“Otherwise, probate costs can spiral beyond your finances, and can heighten stress and discord among family members who are more focused on fighting over the assets than grieving for your loss.”
Name: Robert H Brumfield
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Organization: Law Offices of Robert H. Brumfield, P.C.
Address: 1810 Westwind Drive, Suite 100, Bakersfield, CA 93301
Phone: (661) 416-3735
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Release ID: 89033918