People make plans and set goals in order to achieve success in life. Plans and goals can also be established in order to effect a smooth transition that will simplify matters after death for the person’s loved ones. Successful planning can reduce costs of estate administration in California, particularly if one does not have the appropriate estate plan documents in place.
A will can be an effective tool but one should make sure it is up to date and appropriately signed and witnessed. When a person passes away and leaves behind a will, the will must go through the probate process. This involves authenticating the will in probate court and securing formal appointment of the executor named in the will. During this period, creditors may make claims against the estate and potential heirs may also challenge the validity or contents of the will. While some people may be reluctant to consult a professional regarding writing a will out of concern over costs, failure to have a will could be even more costly to one’s heirs — in money and time.
Costs accrued in probating a will are typically charged to the estate of the deceased, decreasing the amount that is left to loved ones. Even an estate that is too small to incur federal estate taxes can still incur state taxes and legal fees, though California does have a simplified process in place for small estates. An estate valued at less than $166,250 qualifies as a small estate in this state.
A little bit of planning regarding one’s estate can help simplify what could be a difficult time for loved ones. Estate administration can be complex. A consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney in can go a long way to providing peace of mind to the parties involved.