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  • Sean Parent

How Can My Estate Plan Save Time and Money?

Estate planning is a crucial step in securing your family's financial future and ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your passing. A properly funded estate plan does not only bequeath assets; it also saves your loved ones time and money on probate. Let's delve into how a well-thought-out estate plan can help you save time and money.

Filing Fees:

Probate involves various fees, and in Michigan, these fees can add up quickly depending on the value of the estate. Michigan residents can expect to spend over $300 just to open an estate and publish a notice to creditors. By establishing trusts, joint ownership, and beneficiary designations, you can bypass probate for all or many of your assets, eliminating or reducing the associated filing fees. This means more of your estate goes to your heirs, rather than being consumed by administrative costs.

Inventory Fees in Michigan:

Michigan, like many states, requires an inventory of all the assets subject to probate. This process can be time-consuming and costly. Courts charge a percentage of the overall estate, which can often cost $1,000 or more. However, all assets funded to a trust or given a proper beneficiary designation are not subject to inventory.

Average Attorney Fees:

Hiring an attorney to guide you through the probate process is common practice. Attorney fees can be significant, and often cost between $2,500 - $5,000. By planning ahead, you can reduce the size of your probate estate, thus lowering or eliminating attorney fees. Additionally, having a clear estate plan in place can streamline the probate process, reducing the hours an attorney needs to spend on your case.

Time Involved in the Probate Process:

Probate can be a lengthy process, tying up your assets for months or even years. Even a simple unsupervised estate takes a minimum of 5 months to open, administer, and distribute assets. During this time, your estate may incur ongoing expenses, such as property maintenance and taxes. With a well-crafted estate plan, you can expedite the distribution of assets to your heirs. Assets placed in trusts, for example, can be distributed quickly outside of probate. This not only saves time but also prevents the ongoing costs associated with the prolonged probate process.

An estate plan is not just about ensuring your wishes are carried out; it's also a savvy financial move that can save you and your heirs money. By reducing or eliminating filing fees, inventory fees, attorney fees, and the probate process, you can maximize the value of your estate. To create an effective estate plan tailored to your specific needs and goals, consult with an experienced estate planning attorney who can guide you through the process and help you navigate the complexities of Michigan's probate laws.

Remember, estate planning is not a one-time event; it should evolve with your changing circumstances and financial situation. Regularly reviewing and updating your estate plan ensures it continues to save you money and provide for your loved ones as intended.

We understand that estate planning can be a daunting task. That is why S.L. Parent PC custom tailors every estate plan based on you and your family’s specific needs and circumstances. Contact us today to schedule a free estate planning consultation.

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