Woe's of Probate
Gimmie the gun collection. No, dad and I hunted together, not you, and he wanted me to have the guns when he died. Gimmie the coin collection. No, mom and I started that coin collection together when I was a little girl and she said it would be mine when she died. Gimmie the car. No! Gimmie the house. No! Gimmie this and gimmie that. No..No..No! It turns into the Gimmie Wars and ends up in the hands of attorneys to settle in probate court.
Upon their deaths, parents one and all believe that their children forever and always will maintain close and loving relationships with each other. That may be true of parents that have nothing to leave their children to fight over. On the other hand, for those with assets at the time of their death, regardless of how much or how little, the challenge of who gets what often escalates into conflict among siblings or other beneficiaries. Estate conflicts most often are stimulated by unadulterated greed and piggishness among the siblings ending up in an outright war over their parents' assets.
Unfortunately, parents too often believe that should any of their assets survive them, such assets will automatically go to their children or other heirs. Not true nor guaranteed unless the parent has either prepared a last will, trust or some other form of estate planning that transfers their assets into their children's names.
The cost for estate planning is the primary excuse parents make for doing nothing to settle their estate once they have died. They just can't justify paying an attorney in exchange for pieces of paper that state at their death someone else shall receive what took them a lifetime to acquire. What is thecost of these pieces of paper versus the cost to their children toprobate their estate?
To have a simple estate plan prepared for assets including a car, home, bank accounts, investments and insurance policies may cost less than a thousand to several thousand dollars depending on the experience of the attorney and the complexity of the plan. Whereas the cost of probate may be between 3% to 6% or more of the total assets to hire attorneys and pay for court costs, publication fees, administrative fees, litigation or other expenses. In other words, it could cost thousands more for a probate proceeding than the cost to implement an estate plan. Also, be aware that the probate process can take up to a year or longer before beneficiaries ever see a dime of their parents' estate. In Florida, beneficiaries must hire an attorney to probate an estate.
Eliminate the Woes of Probate and an all out Gimmie War over who will pay probate attorneys, who will get the gimmies, and resolving why mom and dad left such a chaotic state of affairs requiring attorneys and courts to resolve disputes over what should rightfully belong to the children or beneficiaries already?