If you are debating whether or not to make a will or an estate plan, one of the topics that you might be thinking about is the cost. You know that it will cost you money to work with an attorney to draft a will or to create a comprehensive estate plan. You also know that when you pass away, your family will be responsible for the costs associated with probating your estate, whether or not you have left a will. If you are wondering whether there is a clear answer to the question of which approach will cost everyone less money in the long run, there is. In Kansas, advance planning in the form of a will or an estate plan results in lower probate costs.
In some states, probate fees are based upon the value of the decedent’s estate. In other states, such as Kansas, probate fees are based upon the actual expenses associated with settling the estate, such as executors’ fees and attorneys’ fees. Both executors and attorneys are obligated to keep their fees reasonable, and their fees are subject to scrutiny by the Kansas probate court.
There are a few factors that can increase the cost of probating any Kansas estate. When someone dies without a will, probate costs are greater than they would have been had the decedent left a will, because the probate court will have to appoint an administrator, who will then locate and notify all of the heirs, administer the estate, and apply the laws of intestate succession to the remainder of the decedent’s property after the property has been collected and inventoried, and any debts have been paid. A will contest will increase the probate costs of an estate because of the costs of litigation. Also, if the deceased left behind property that is located in other states, there will probably be probate costs associated with moving those assets through probate in each of those states.
Since probate fees in Kansas are based upon the costs of the services that are required to administer the estate and dispose of all of the assets properly, it makes sense to say that a person could reduce the cost of probating his or her estate by making a comprehensive estate plan. A Kansas estate planning attorney can help you to decide whether there are options for passing some or all of your assets outside of probate. They can also help you to draft a will that will make the probate process as simple as possible for the executor who will be responsible for administering it. When someone dies and leaves a will or an estate plan, the executor and any attorney who assists them will not have to spend as much time administering the estate as they would if things were left in a haphazard and unorganized fashion. The fewer hours it takes an executor and/or an attorney to administer an estate, the lower the probate costs will be.
Overall, your will and estate plan will ensure that your final wishes are carried out in accordance with your wishes, and that the various assets in your estate are disposed of in the manner of your choosing. For more information about creating your own will and/or estate plan, call the Wichita law office of J. Joseph Weber, P.A. at (316) 265-7802, or contact us through our website to set up an initial consultation.