On August 28, 2016

Hidden Costs of Administering a Will

Hidden Costs of Administering a Will

When it’s time to settle an estate and administer a will, there may be some obvious costs – like court filing fees and estate taxes – that will need to be covered as you proceed. Those, however, may not be the only costs, as there are common other, less obvious costs that can arise in the process.

Being aware of what these costs tend to be can help you plan appropriately as you move forward to settle an estate. And that, in turn, can be the key to administering a will as efficiently (and cost-effectively) as possible.

How (& When) Hidden Costs Can Arise When Administering a Will

Some of the circumstances that can make it more expensive to administer a will include when (and are by no means limited to):

  1. A decedent owns property in other states – This can end up meaning that probate will have to be opened up in these other states (if the value of the property is over a certain amount and/or certain plans haven’t been put in place to help avoid probate). Two (or more) probate cases for a given estate can exponentially increase the costs of administering a will, likely taking away from the assets available for the designated beneficiaries.
  2. A decedent failed to keep the will up-to-date – Outdated wills can be challenging to administer because they may not include (or set forth plans for) all of the assets that comprise an estate. That can mean that its takes longer to probate an estate – and the longer probate cases take to resolve, the more they tend to cost.
  3. A decedent didn’t keep organized or upto-date records – If a decedent’s financial documents (including those for both assets and debts) are disorganized, it can take far more time to settle up with creditors, inventory the estate, file life insurance claims, etc. Again, the more time that is spent preparing for or getting through probate, the more money it tends to cost to resolve the process.
  4. One or more beneficiaries living in another state (or country) – This can end up increasing the costs of notifying beneficiaries and/or getting them the assets bequeathed to them. For instance, while it may be necessary to pay higher shipping costs (to send assets to a beneficiary), it may also be necessary to hire translators (or other professionals) to notify the beneficiary of the death, the probate case, etc.
  5. One or more beneficiaries is contesting the willWill contests can increase probate costs by thousands of dollars, as these disputes will require additional investigations, hearings, etc. to verify whether the will is, in fact, valid and/or the most current version.
  6. Certain assets need to be maintained during probate – For assets like homes and real estate, it may be necessary to pay for cleaning and security while the probate case ensues to ensure these assets are properly maintained during the process. Additionally, if some assets need to be liquated during probate (to satisfy creditors), there may be costs associated with preparing these assets to be sold (like auctioneers’ costs, for instance).

Contact a Denver Estate Planning Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

When you are ready to develop, update or administer an estate plan, you can turn to the JR Phillips & Associates, PC. We provide a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to our clients’ estate planning needs using a variety of traditional and innovative approaches to develop the best possible solutions.

Schedule an initial consultation with one of our lawyers today to discuss your estate planning options. To set up this meeting, call us at (303) 741-2400 or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Creditors and Probate, Estate Administration, Probate, Probate Litigation, Trustees, Executors & Fiduciaries, Will Contests