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Overview Of The Probate Process

Sunday, April 29, 2012 - 10:28 AM
I'm sure there are better overviews of the probate process, but this Money Crashers blog post covers the main issues of probate and how it can be avoided. One thing the post left out in the overview is that bank accounts can also avoid probate if beneficiaries are listed on the accounts. Also, the post didn't mention attorney fees. Our attorney charged almost $2,000 for a summary administration of my dad's estate.
Ken TuminKen Tumin5,472 posts since
Nov 29, 2009
Rep Points: 125,708
1. Sunday, April 29, 2012 - 9:10 PM
The article does a good job of summarizing the process although it does not emphasize enough the tremendous emotional and financial burden which results when someone dies intestate (ie:  without a will).  

I disagree with his advice that a safe deposit box is an excellent place to store a will.  This issue has been discussed on this board before:
Copy of a will in a safe deposit box:  yes.  Original of will in safe deposit box:  no, unless the person who needs access to the will also has access to the box.
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,491 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,486
2. Sunday, April 29, 2012 - 10:05 PM
We have beneficiaries on our stock, CD's, checking and savings accounts. We have a will and as soon as my son is married in a couple of weeks we will have a Lady Bird Deed on the house. It states who the house will go to when we die avoiding probate. We have a will and an unfunded trust with a pour over will saying anything that is not in the  trust will automatically go to it when we die. We have POA's and heathcare papers taken care of. Hope when we go next month it is all over. All cost less than $1,000.

When my mom died in 2006 the probate and lawyer costs were $600. Everything but the house had beneficiaries. So we estimated the worh of the furniture sold it as the will stated and listed the house and sold it in less that 3 months. Very simple.
Ally6770Ally6770943 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,742
3. Monday, April 30, 2012 - 10:36 AM
I would never put the original of really important documents in a safe deposit box.  A few years ago, we have a terrible hurricane hit our state and city and the bank where the safe deposit box was flooded and closed down.  It took weeks before we could have access to the contents.  Luckily we did not need what was in them at that time.  We had to move and I do not any longer keep a safe deposit box in a bank. 

Also, if one has beneficiaries on CDs etc, be sure to let them know ahead of time where their CDs are.  Many savers have CDs out of town due to low interest rates.  I have typed up information for PODs and also keep a copy for them to have if needed.  This avoids unnecessary expense and stress when they have to acquire the funds.
paoli2paoli21,406 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 6,152