Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
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A $2,000 fee for a revocable trust is not considered exorbitant by any means; often times, a trust that is being set up for a larger estate can cost several thousand dollars. The additional work she may be referring to is transferring the property into the name of the trust - if you have more property than she anticipated, this could result in additional fees.
Many people do prefer trusts over wills - as this keeps their information private (a will that requires probate becomes part of public record). Also, any property that passes via the terms of the trust does not need probated, thus saving money in the long run.
Probate fees in NC are around 40 cents per $100 of property, with a maximum probate fee of $6,000. This is in addition to filing fees and attorney fees. So generally a trust is considerably less expensive than utilizing the probate process.
No, then if there are no complicated issues, and everything was discussed I cannot think of a reason as to why the rate would increase - unless maybe her fees went up but generally an attorney will honor a price quoted.
Irrevocable trusts are generally used to protect assets from government subsidy programs (i.e. MedicAid) and creditors. Revocable trusts are generally used for both privacy, and also to save on probate fees. Also, probate typically takes 6-8 months, whereas a trust can be distributed pretty much immediately upon the decedent's passing.
Did you have any questions on the above?
No, it does not require an attorney. The trustee would be responsible for distributing the assets in accordance with the trust. However, often times the trustee will hire an attorney to oversee the process- simply because the trustee is liable for any mistakes they make in the distribution. (generally, the trust will state that the trustee may hire an attorney at the trust's expense).
Alot of the cash i.e. bank accounts, can be handled with a Pay on Death designation - so it passes to the listed beneficiary as a matter of law upon passing.
A thought - you may want to check www.avvo.com to see what other clients have posted regarding your attorney. Also, you can check with the bar association to make sure she is in good standing (no disciplinary action).
That would be accomplished by holding the title as joint tenants with right of survivorship. Then the property passes automatically to the joint tenant upon death.
Yes. The executor would be responsible for distributing the assets according to the will/trust. The executor does have a fiduciary duty to all beneficiaries, so they are required to act in the beneficiaries' best interests.
You mentioned your family member is a senior - please see this guide. It should come in handy: http://www.ncbar.org/media/299787/seniorcitizenshandbookenglish.pdf
That is part of estate planning, so typically it would be discussed. Even if there is no mortgage, there still needs to be a deed on file at the county office - all property requires a deed. Generally, when meeting with an estate planning attorney, they will explain all probate avoidance techniques. Joint tenancy can be created by a grant deed - an attorney, or even a title company, can assist with this.
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