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How can I keep attorney fees reasonable, as low as possible, when my estate is settled?

Albany, NY |

Is naming beneficiaries to ira accounts and tod on non retirement accounts, and pod on bank accounts a good strategy? What other fees should I worry about? I want my attorney to make a reasonable fee, but I don't want the estate to overpay. Thank you.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

Have your attorney draft you a Pour Over Will and a Revocable Trust so you can avoid probate.

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Reviewing all your beneficiary designations and perhaps using a living trust with every asset properly titled is a good way to reduce risks and possible expenses. The biggest things that lead to fees are disorganization, litigation, lost documents, etc. Some costs are unavoidable. Naming non-probate beneficiaries is a good way to avoid PROBATE but typically that means the beneficiary gets the assets outright and so the donor/testator loses control - so if you want the assets to be controlled in their method of distribution you are trading avoiding probate for a lack of control. It really depends on your goals as to whether you need a trust.

This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website:


Attorney's fees are only one cost in an estate administration to worry about. However, designating a beneficiary on assets avoids having to marshall the estate asset. However, this is not always a costly point. It is very straight forward and often times are done by an experienced paralegal, or even an executor him or her self. But designating a beneficiary sometimes means that the beneficiary calls the lawyer to help him or her with paperwork. It depends on who the beneficiary is. I think choosing an executor wisely and having your documents done by an experienced lawyer is the best way. to save money guaranteed. Also, giving your lawyer all the names and address iof next of kin, legatees, and financial institutions is also key.

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