One of the fundamental reasons people give for avoiding probate is to avoid probate fees, which can be as high as in some places. Is this the only way to deal with the problem? Aren't there other things you can do to lower the costs associated with probate? Well, as an executor, you can minimize the probate costs.
Negotiate Attorney Fees
This is something only the executor can do since he or she is the one with the authority to choose the probate lawyer. Lawyers' fees, which are charged as percentages of the estate, usually form the largest part of the probate costs. The good news is that they are not set in stone; the executor can always negotiate for reduced fees, especially if the estate is substantial.
Choose an Executor Who Can Waive the Fees
An executor's fees form part of the probate costs, and reducing it will help you reduce the overall probate expenditure. One of the best ways is for the executor to waive his or her fees. One way of increasing the likelihood of this waiver is to choose a close friend or loved one. Someone whom you have named as one of your beneficiaries is more likely to waive his or her fees than a non-beneficiary. If you can't find somebody to waive the fees, then carry out research to land an executor with the lowest rate.
Let the Executor Use the Estate's Existing Financial Professionals
The executor is likely to need the assistance of financial professionals when discharging his or her duties. For example, there may be taxes to pay and properties or businesses to appraise so a tax preparer and an appraiser will be needed. These professionals also have their requisite fees.
If there are financial professionals who have worked with the estate before, then it is prudent to use them for this purpose. For one, they may be familiar with the estates finances so may not take much time in discharging their duties. Secondly, it may be easier to negotiate for lower fees from these familiar faces.
Prevent Will Disputes
The longer the probate process takes, the higher the fees are likely to be. Therefore, preventing these disputes is one of the ways of lowering the fees. Avenues of minimizing disputes include keeping your estate documents updated, giving guidance on items of sentimental value and avoiding major surprises.
Some of these are only things that the executor can accomplish. Therefore, it is prudent for you to choose an executor with whom you have a good understand and rapport. Talk to a family law attorney for more information.Share