Nobody wants to be involved in an estate settlement. It causes pain on a number of levels. Any person involved has to deal with the passing of a loved one and the legal hurdles in moving on with his or her life. The process has caused many families a lot of stress. But it’s a necessity of the legal system, and it needs to be handled.
Estate settlements are also called probate proceedings, meaning that the court is trying to establish the validity of succession – which means that they want to make sure that the right person is getting the right stuff. Probate proceedings can be long, drawn out events that get expensive quickly.
Here’s how to save money on the process.
1. Have the Paperwork Ready
This can be a rough time for families. Typically probate cases happen after the death of a family member or friend, and no one wants to deal with extra paperwork or hassle in these difficult times. But in order to make the estate settlement process as painless as possible, it’s important to have all of the paperwork ready to go. The process happens pretty quickly, so it’s important to have the will (if there is one), any bills still owed by the estate, and other important documents.
The estate will also need an Executor. This person will help steer the process and divvy up the estate. Having an executor can speed up estate settlement in Texas, but only if all beneficiaries can agree to let that person take control of the entire situation.
2. Lower Lawyer Involvement
Lawyers are expensive. Probate lawyers, especially, tend to charge over $200 per hour on the cheaper side. And lawyers can charge by the quarter hour. That means that every time someone from the estate emails the lawyer, the lawyer will charge $50. Want the lawyer to respond? That’s another $50. Want a phone conversation? That’ll be $100. Want an in-home visit?
Break out the check book.
Lawyers fees can skyrocket. So make sure that all of the beneficiaries are on the same page. If those benefiting from the estate can’t get along, then get help. Group therapy is a cheaper option than lawyer fees.
3. Minimize Maintenance
Ultimately, all costs incurred during the estate settlement process get charged to the estate. That means that if the estate is worth $200,000, then the fees will get deducted from that. So if the family spends $5,000 on a lawyer, $1,000 on repairs, and $2,000 on utilities in the empty house, then the estate would pay those bills. Then, if the decedent owed any major bills, those bills would come out of the estate as well. A $10,000 credit card bill, $5,000 remaining on a car loan, and $50,000 left on the mortgage would also come out of these estate. So instead of splitting $200,000 between beneficiaries, the beneficiaries would be splitting $127,000.
In order to save money during this process, the executor needs to be able to move quickly and avoid those growing fees.
4. Sell the Home Quickly
This can be the biggest time and money saver. Inheritance laws can get muddy if someone wants to keep the house. It’s a lot easier to divide money than it is to divide things. Sell the house, and sell it quickly. If the house sells quickly, then it collects fewer maintenance costs. And to really save money, cut out the realtors. Sell the home quickly to maximize profits.
Can I Sell a House in Probate?
Selling a Texas home that is already going through the probate process is complicated, but it can be done. We invite you to review our Ultimate Guide to Texas Probate to better understand how probate works, and what your options are if you decide to sell.
Estate settlements can be painful processes that drive families apart. Don’t let that happen to your family. Settle the process quickly and amicably, and allow your family and yourself to move on. If you need help selling your home quickly, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us or fill out the form on our website. We are happy to help you move on quickly from this terrible time.