by Thomas D. Richards, Lawyer Referral Service Panelist
A trust solves a common problem that stems from the goal to avoid Probate Court. If you pass away testate, this means that you at least signed a will and made an attempt at some sort of planning for your estate. The problem with just having a last will is that it will take your assets into probate. I like to call the last will a “one way ticket to probate.” A will is better than no will at all, but you still have to deal with Probate Court if you just have a will. You can avoid the entire Probate Court process if you take time to consult an attorney and discuss preparing a simple Living Trust.
The trust as a tool to avoid probate is relatively inexpensive compared to the fees and costs your family will pay to take your estate through probate. The costs of probate with executor fees and attorney fees can run between 5 percent to 10 percent or more of the value of your estate. On a $100,000 estate(add up your home value, cars, bank accounts), the probate could be anywhere from $5,000 up to $10,000 or more for just the attorney and executor fees, not counting the court costs, filing fees, and expenses. This is money that your family will not receive out of your estate assets. You want your family to have all of your estate, so don’t waste your assets on Probate Court attorney fees, executor fees, and court costs and expenses.