How Can an Executor Reduce Probate Costs?
People who create a Will usually appoint someone to ensure the Will is executed. They appoint someone to carry out their last wishes when they die. This person is called an executor. If you were selected as the executor of a loved one’s Will, you should know that as an executor, your primary duty is acting in the best interest of the decedent’s estate. This entails, among other things, doing your best to reduce probate costs. Probate is the process of administering a decedent’s estate. Some of the steps involved in the probate process include finding and gathering the estate assets, determining the value of the assets, informing beneficiaries and creditors about probate, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries. If you are the executor of a loved one’s Will, you may be wondering, “How can I reduce probate costs?” There are several steps you can take to reduce probate costs. Below, we discuss some of the steps you can take as the executor of a loved one’s Will to reduce probate costs.
#1: Work With an Experienced Probate Attorney
California law does not require executors to have legal representation during probate. However, it is advisable to hire a probate attorney. And not just any probate attorney, but one with experience handling probate cases. The probate process can be complex. If you handle the probate process alone and fail to navigate it properly, it could lead to costs adding up quickly. An experienced probate lawyer will know how to avoid mistakes and traps that can increase probate costs.
#2: Avoid Litigation
One of the best ways to reduce probate costs is to avoid litigation. Litigation is when you go to court to resolve a dispute. Resolving a conflict in court can be expensive. As the executor, you should strive to prevent conflicts. And when disputes arise, you may want to consider alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods. Examples of ADR methods that can help resolve probate disputes include mediation and arbitration. Mediation involves working with a mediator to reach a mutually agreeable solution. On the other hand, arbitration entails letting an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators listen to both sides of the story and make a binding decision. ADR can be less expensive than litigation.
#3: File Paperwork on Time
One of the ways to increase probate costs is to incur penalties because of late filings. You should ensure that you always file paperwork on time. Apart from helping reduce probate costs, timely paperwork filing can prevent delays. A qualified probate attorney can ensure you always file forms and documents on time.
#4: Waive Your Fees
If you are the executor and also a beneficiary of your loved one’s Will, an option you may consider that can help reduce probate costs is waiving your fees. Executor fees are always paid out of the probate estate, so if you waive your payment, the money you were to get will remain in the estate. However, waiving your fees should be entirely voluntary. No one should force you to waive your fees.
Contact The Probate Guy
Are you the executor of a loved one’s Will? Do you need help navigating the probate process? Contact the skilled and dedicated California probate lawyer, Robert L. Cohen – the probate Guy – today to schedule a telephonic consultation.
Southern California Probate Lawyer Serving Orange, Riverside, Anaheim, Whittier & Beyond.