Every so often someone asks me how expensive it is to go through probate, and whether or not they should use a Living Trust to avoid it. The answer to that question is that Trust administration can be cheaper than Probate, but the cost of time and the hassle to your loved ones may be a better reason for wanting to avoid the probate process. Why? Well the reason is that the cost of Trust administration may be less expensive, but it is not free.
So what kinds of costs are associated with Trust administration? Every situation is different and your situation may involve more or less, but Trust administration often requires an attorney and paid fiduciary to be involved in the process. It will most likely require a separate tax return, and statutory probate fees are applied based on your gross taxable estate regardless of the fact that your assets are in a living trust at your death.
The good news is that if all goes well,
it will probably result in less time in probate court for both the attorney and the executor of your estate. The result is that much of the work can be done without putting your loved ones through the hassle and time associated with going to hearings with the attorney, and accounting to the court. A properly drafted Living Trust may also make it more difficult for disgruntled heirs to challenge your wishes, than in the case of an estate plan involving only a Will.
In any event, you and your attorney should work together to weigh the benefits and costs of Trust-based planning and administration against the benefits and costs of the alternatives before making a decision. Your unique goals and circumstances will make a big difference in your choice, and your estate planning attorney should be able to answer questions about the pros and cons of different planning methods depending on your situation. If you have any questions in the meantime about any type of planning, and would like to discuss them with a Connecticut Estate Planning Attorney, please feel free to click here for more information on how to contact us.