Size Matters, or does it?

People always ask “how much does someone need to be worth in order to make an Estate Plan worthwhile?”

I generally tell them the amount does not matter as the purpose of Estate Planning in general is to give the person peace of mind knowing that their affairs are in order and that their assets will transfer to their beneficiaries without Probate court and in the most efficient manner.

After all, without proper Powers of Attorney a person could become a “ward of the state” through a conservatorship should they become incapacitated. Also, without a trust in place, most estates will go through Probate. Probate in general takes about 12 to 18 months to finalize and costs between 5% and 10% of the gross estate. So a $100,000 estate could cost as much as $10,00 to probate.

Now the answer that “size does not matter” usually is hard for some to comprehend, so I guess the real answer for those that are concerned about size or numbers is: In California, an estate with over $20,000 in real property, or over $100,000 if it does not own real property, would need to go through Probate if they did not have a trust that controls the assets. The estate would the incur the Probate costs and the time delay.

Having a properly drafted and funded trust would avoid Probate, thereby saving the Probate costs and time.


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