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  • Writer's pictureTim Riswold

Money, Finality, Control, and Privacy

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

Saving Money

This is the most concrete benefit one can receive from having a proper estate plan in place. It costs money when you die. It’s just an inconvenient reality. But you can do yourself, your estate, and your loved ones a favor by creating a living trust that avoids probate. What is the average cost of probate in Placer County? About $35,000. Read more here. The cost of a living trust at our office? Under two thousand dollars. Once you die, there are costs to administer your trust (distributing your home, money, and other assets to the proper people). But they are very small compared to probate. Many law offices charge 1/3 to 1/2 of the cost of probate, meaning it will cost $10,000-15,000 to administer the trust. We attempt to keep costs down and have costs amount to only 1/5 the cost of probate ($6,000-7,000 total). It’s possible for some clients that the total cost will be 1/10th the cost of probate ($3,500). Regardless of the law firm you use to create an estate plan, living trusts save money.


Another clear benefit from having an estate plan is the short time frame of closing the estate. This aspect cannot be overemphasized. During the best of times, Probate takes a year to a year and a half. The current time frame is longer, closer to a year and half to two years, largely to the impact Covid-19 has had on public services. Trust administration can be done in 6 months, sometimes shorter, sometimes a bit longer. Your children will thank you, knowing that wrapping up your affairs is not drawn out. Providing finality can mean the difference between good memories, and being emotionally drained.


If you didn’t know, you already have an estate plan made for you. The State of California has drawn it up for you, directing where your property will go. Learn more about California’s plan here. You have the power to change this, however. Creating an estate plan allows you to bypass California’s rules. You get to determine who administers your trust, and you determine who gets your property.


One of the least known aspects, and, for some, the most important aspect of estate planning, is that it gives you privacy. Probate is public, sometimes very public. We have witnessed many courtroom scenes where private information has become public. It’s not exactly flattering to have the list of debts you owe read out loud, or have your estranged relationship with your child broadcast to the crowd. A living trust is a private affair.

In sum, estate planning provides several very important benefits. Some are obvious, others are not. Our office creates estate plans that are affordable, understandable, and convenient to make. Whether you are single, married, have children or not, we can help you gain peace of mind.


The information in this blog is intended only as general information, and under no circumstances constitutes legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. The information should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific legal advice concerning your particular situation.

For advice specific to your situation, contact us to schedule an appointment.

About the Koons & Riswold Law Office

Koons & Riswold maintains an office in Davis, CA and Auburn, CA to provide clients with legal services in Auburn, Davis, and the surrounding areas. Our Auburn and Davis lawyers provide legal services, which include: Living Trust and Estate Planning services, Probate, Elder Planning, and Trust and Estate Administration. Our lawyers have deep roots in Northern California, having strong familial, community, and professional ties to the region.

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