Estate Planning is the area of the law which deals with putting property to the best possible use for your benefit during your lifetime, and for the benefit of your “beneficiaries” after your death. If the estate has been well planned, your asses should be distributed according to your wishes at a minimum of time and expense. Poor planning may lead to lengthy probate, probate fees and taxes. Unfortunately, most people do not take the time to become aware of the difference between good estate planning and poor estate planning. Many people believe that if they have a valid will, their estate will not have to go through probate. This is simply not true. Wills, by their very nature must go through probate. The fastest and best way to avoid probate is the Revocable Living Trust the very cornerstone of our practice at Bezaire, Ledwitz, and Associates.

The advantages of living trusts are significant. Under a will, an estate must be settled in probate court. Lawyer’s fees and court costs can be significant (see chart below). Additionally there may be exasperating delays, and the proceedings are a matter of public record. In sharp contrast, a living trust is settled without court proceedings. A successor trustee simply distributes assets according to the trust’s instructions, under the guidance of an accountant, notary public or lawyer to ensure titles are transferred properly. The process is cheaper, faster, and can save on estate taxes.

Gross Estate ValueAttorney and Executor Fees
$100,000$4,000
$200,000$7,000
$300,000$9,000
$400,000$11,000
$500,000$13,000
$600,000$15,000
$700,000$17,000
$800,000$19,000
$900,000$21,000
$1,000,000$23,000
$1,500,000$28,000
$2,000,000$33,000
$3,000,000$43,000
$4,000,000$53,000
$5,000,000$63,000
$6,000,000$73,000
$7,000,000$83,000
$8,000,000$93,000
$9,000,000$103,000
$10,000,000$113,000
$15,000,000$138,000
$20,000,000$163,000

source: California Probate Code 10810