It is a common misconception that if one has a will, there is no court process after they die. This is only true if he/she died not owning any real estate, and having personal property less than $150,000 in value, or with named beneficiaries. When this is not the case, a willhas to undergo a long and expensive probate court process, before the heirs can receive their inheritance. How long you may ask? On average, due to the high volume of cases on the docket in Los Angeles Superior Court, probate continues for 12 to 16 months. How expensive? The California Legislator has provided for a specific Formula which calculates the Fees of Administration as a percentage of the GROSS value of the Estate.
As an example, a $1 million dollar estate will be levied with $46,000 in Statutory Fees, which are payable half to the estate representative, and a half to the estate attorney.
The Statutory Fees on a $2 million dollar estate are $66,000; on a $5 million dollar estate – $126,000!
Compare and contrast these numbers to the cost to set up a Living Trust – the only sure way to avoid Probate – on average a Simple single person Probate avoidance trust would cost between $1,800 at a smaller firm, to $4,000 or more at an upscale law firm.
The numbers speak for themselves, and the choice is clear: setting up a living trust saves not only a lot of money for your heirs, but it also takes a small fraction of time to administer the assets, compared to probate.
This is why setting up a living trust to avoid probate is the financially and the morally-responsible thing to do for your family.