How Much Probate Costs With And Without A Will In Texas
Many people are afraid of drawing up a Will and doing other estate planning because of the perceived high cost. The truth is, the cost of drawing up a Will is small compared to the cost of probate of an estate if you die without a Will.
In this article, I will address the cost of probate in Texas. You could be looking at much higher costs in other states.
The Cost Of Drawing Up A Will
For a simple Mom and Pop Will, where spouses leave everything to each other, if surviving, or on the death of the survivor to their adult children, the cost is not likely to be more than $750 per person.
Even if trust provisions are added to the Will for possible minor beneficiaries, the cost is still likely around $1,000 per person.
The Cost Of Probate With A Will
If a deceased person owned real estate or other assets of significant value when he or she passed away, surviving relatives will need to go through a probate procedure. In Texas, if the deceased had a Will providing for an independent administration, which is standard for lawyers to include in a Will, the cost of probate probably would range from $750 to $1,500 in attorneys' fees.
Court costs are about $380 in Texas. A more complicated estate might run slightly more in attorneys' fees, but it would be unusual for the fees to exceed $2,500.
Depending on your attorneys' fees and circumstances, the total cost may be around $1,200 or more for a simple estate or $3,250 or more for a more complicated estate, if your loved one took the time to put together a simple Will before their passing. This may seem like a lot of money, but it is a steal compared to how much you would have to pay if the deceased person did not have a Will.
The Cost Of Probate Without A Will
If a deceased person dies without a Will and owned real estate or other assets of significant value which have not been transferred by beneficiary designations, administration of the estate or like procedure will be required at some point to transfer those assets.
There are endless possible complications for how the assets will need to be transferred if you die without a Will (intestate). Even in the simplest situation, however, your family is looking at a minimum of $2,500 to $3,000 in fees and expenses. In general, for more complicated estates, the fees and expenses will likely exceed $5,000.
These situations assume that the potential legal heirs agree with how the estate should move forward. Without a Will, your loved one's estate may be divided up in a way that is not what they would have wanted. This can lead to disagreements within families and heartache during a time that is already emotionally difficult.
If all potential legal heirs do not agree on how to settle the estate, an application to determine heirship and for the administration of the estate may be necessary, with a bottom-line cost of about $6,500 or more.
These are just general ballpark figures for Texas, and the true cost for your situation could run much higher, depending on the circumstances.
A Will Is The Smart Move For Your Estate & Your Family
Obviously, drawing up a Will is the smart way to handle your estate. Failing to do so will only end up costing many times as much as the cost of a Will, and your heirs will have to deal with the payment either out of their pockets or from the estate if there is enough money there.
Probate for each state is different. It would be best to meet with an attorney in the decedent's home state to handle the probate administration of the estate.
If you would like to talk about drawing up a Will or other estate planning documents in the state of Texas, please call Adair M. Buckner for a free initial consultation.*
*(The free consultation does not cover the actual review of documents or giving legal advice on a specific situation.)
** This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, specific tax, legal, or accounting advice. We can only give specific advice upon consulting directly with you and reviewing your exact situation.
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