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Can you reduce the cost of probating your estate?

Most people want to leave an inheritance for the people they love when they die. And when you’ve worked hard your entire life to make wealth, it’s only sensible that you leave as much of it as you can to your loved ones. It’s for this reason that most people plan their estates. 

However, the probate process can eat up a significant portion of your estate. If you are concerned about this, then you’re probably wondering if there is anything you can do to minimize or, better still, eliminate it altogether.  

But first, what makes up the probate cost?

Basically, the cost of probating your estate will boil down to several factors. Some of these include the size and complexity of your estate, the validity of your estate planning documents and the nature of any disputes interested parties might have over your estate. Some of the costs that make up probate fees include court charges, professional services and bonds. As you can imagine, these costs can be significant.

Here are two steps you can take to minimize the cost of probating your estate:

  1. Leave clear instructions: An ambiguous, unclear or outrightly invalid will is most likely going to be disputed. You can avoid this by ensuring that your will is valid and that the instructions are clear.
  2. Set up a joint tenancy arrangement: A joint tenancy with the right of survivorship is a legal provision that allows you to co-own certain assets with your prospective heirs. Thus, upon your demise, property that is co-owned with your heirs will automatically be passed down to them without going through probate. 

Probate can be a costly and time-consuming exercise. Understanding your options during the estate planning process can help you take proactive steps to reduce the cost of probate and preserve your legacy and loved ones’ inheritance.