If you live in North Carolina, here are four things you need to know about probate:
1. It is court-supervised. If you have a will, property you own without rights of survivorship or a valid beneficiary designation will have to go through a court-supervised probate process. (Not having a will is even worse; if you don't have a will, any property you own without rights of survivorship or a valid beneficiary designation will go through a court-supervised intestate administration.)
2. It is public. is a public process and your will is a public document.
3. It costs money. Probate can be expensive. Here's what probate costs in North Carolina. Unless you have a very small estate, your estate will pay: court fees, executor compensation, attorney fees, and other miscellaneous costs. Court fees are currently $120.00 for the application plus $4.00 per very $1,000.00 of probate property. This means if you have probate property equal to $1,000,000, your estate will pay $4,0120.00 just for court fees alone. But it doesn't end there. Your estate may also be required to pay executor compensation, and attorney fees. Attorney fees are usually based on your attorney's hourly rate which, depending on the attorney, can range anywhere from $200.00 to $500.00 per hour or more. There can also be miscellaneous costs such as filing fees, copying costs, and recording fees. Your estate will also have to file tax returns and may need to hire a CPA to prepare the returns. If your estate is challenged, the costs can skyrocket and your probate may take much longer than the usual year of probate.
4. A trust may be cheaper. Revocable living trusts can be less expensive than probate. Trusts are also private. These days, many people are ditching the court-supervised, will-based estate plan and using revocable living trusts to avoid probate and save time and money.
If you would like to schedule a strategy session to learn more about using a trust to save time and money, contact Nancy Roberts by using the contact form, emailing us at [email protected], or calling 980.247.3011.